how-to-store-cauliflower

How to Store Cauliflower

Learning to properly store and preserve your garden harvest is half of the adventure in gardening. If you improperly store vegetables, they will rot before you get the chance to reap the benefits of having them fresh from the earth. Cauliflower is best preserved using long-term methods like canning and freezing, but there are ways of keeping it fresh for longer.

From the Garden

One old traditional way to store cauliflower right out of the garden is to hang it in a dry location. Pull the plants up whole, roots included, and shake off the soil. Turn them upside down and hang them from a barn rafter, in a garage, or anywhere that is cool and not too light. Mist the plants each day for hydration. Cauliflower will store this way for up to a month, and it works excellent for large harvests.

Alternative methods of storage include:

  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Pickling

Refridgerator

Whole heads can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks depending on the quality and age of the vegetable and the temperature of the fridge. Keep some green leaves attached to the head, these provide it with extra water and nutrients and keep it fresh for longer.

Put whole heads into a plastic bag that is lightly sealed with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Do the same bag and paper towel method for cauliflower that has been cut. Be aware that florets will not have as long of a shelf life as a whole head.

Freezer

Freezing is an excellent way to store vegetables for longer. It does take electricity to do, but proper freezing retains most of the nutrients in the vegetables and maintains flavor and texture when thawed. Whole cauliflowers don’t freeze well. Instead, it is recommended to cut up the heads and blanch them.

Boil the florets for 3 minutes in water with 4 teaspoons of salt. Remove them from the heat and immediately run them under cold water. Put the blanched florets into freezer bags and remove as much of the air as possible. These should store for about a year.

Pickling

Pickling is an excellent way to store harvest. It retains a lot of the nutrient content in the vegetables, it does not require electricity and it lasts longer than freezing. It is important to note that plain cauliflower cannot be canned, it is a low acid food that poses a bacterial risk if canned at home without the use of a pressure cooker.

The pressure cooker wreaks havoc on the texture of vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and isn’t recommended. So, the alternative to canning is pickling. Cauliflower can be pickled using either a vinegar method or a salt brine method. There are many recipes out there with various flavors and spices.