Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable mainly used in salads and cooked dishes. Your methods of storage will contribute so much to its flavor as it needs to be fresh to bring out its greatness.
You will never go wrong with cauliflower if you store it chilled. However, its shelflife will depend on how fresh it was when you purchased it. Below are methods on how best you can store cauliflower and keep it fresh for long.
Storing cauliflower in the refrigerator wrapped in a plastic bag is the best way to retain its freshness for up to 7-14 days. If you intend to store it longer than that, you can blanch for better quality in terms of flavor and color and freeze for up to 12 months.
Best ways to keep cauliflower fresh
- Blanch cauliflower before freezing. This helps to maintain its quality for long during storage by stopping the enzymatic action that causes loss of flavor, texture, and color over time.
- When refrigerating cauliflower, do so when it is still whole as cutting encourages browning hence shortening its shelflife.
- Wash cauliflower only when you are ready to use it. Exposing it to excess moisture encourages mold growth.
- Try to minimize exposure to air by using airtight containers or plastic bags during storage to prevent dehydration and browning.
Storing cauliflower in the fridge prolongs its shelflife as it requires cold and moisture to retain its freshness better. However, it is advisable that you use a plastic bag to keep the florets well moisturized as explained below due to the dry air in the fridge.
Wrap cauliflower in a plastic bag and put it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Ensure to store it with its stem down to allow air circulation and prevent moisture from collecting on the florets hence causing browning.
If properly stored in the fridge, cauliflower can remain fresh for up to 7-14 days.
You can also store cut cauliflower in the fridge but, you should plan to use it in two days time as it deteriorates really fast. Simply put the cut florets in an airtight container and pop it in the fridge.
Cauliflower at its peak will give you quality flavor and texture when thawed. That way, you will also be able to use them for long as they keep fresh better as opposed to after its peak.
Use the following steps to freeze your cauliflower:
- Rinse cauliflower in cold running water.
- Cut off the green leaves.
- Cut or simply use your hands to split the floret into bite-size pieces.
- Soak the florets in salty water for 30 minutes to remove any insects between the florets.
- Rinse them with plain water.
- Blanch the florets; Simply put water in a pot and bring it to boil, add the cauliflower and let them boil for 3 minutes. Transfer them in ice-cold water for 3 minutes to stop the cooking process then drain.
- Portion them in freezer bags depending on how you plan to use them in the future.
- Seal ensuring to remove all air inside for better quality.
- Put them in the freezer.
Properly frozen cauliflower will stay fresh all year long.
How to choose fresh cauliflower
The freshness of the cauliflower will determine quite a number of things from its quality in terms of flavor and texture to its shelflife. Therefore it is important to take your time while shopping for it to get the best from the grocery store.
Here’s what to look out for when shopping for fresh cauliflower:
- It should feel heavy for its size.
- It should have compact cream-white florets with no brown patches.
- It should have a uniform color if you decide to go for a purple or green cauliflower.
- The leaves attached to the stem should be green with no signs of yellowing.
How to know when cauliflower is going bad
Now that you already know how to keep your cauliflower fresh from the methods above. It is important to look out for the following traits for spoilage to prevent food poisoning and minimize food wastage.
- Brown and soft spots. If the spots are small all you need to do is cut them off and consume the rest of the cauliflower as it is still safe to eat. But if you cut the cauliflower and find that the spots are deep, you have no option but to let go of the whole head.
- Mold growth. This mostly occurs in cooked cauliflower an indication that it’s no longer safe to eat.
- Mushy and slimy. Get rid of it right away.
- Off smell. This is definitely a sign of rotting and therefore you should discard it immediately.