Whether it’s steamed, roasted, riced, or mashed, there’s bound to be a way that everyone in your family can enjoy cauliflower. We’ll show you how to select, store and freeze cauliflower so you can enjoy this nutritious and versatile vegetable anytime.

graphic for post - how to pick, store and freeze cauliflower. Images are in a grid showing a cauliflower, a cutting board with cut cauliflower, frozen cauliflower and a pink plate with cut florets.

Medically reviewed and co-written by Jamie Johnson, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), and Lauren Braaten, Pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT).

How to Pick, Store & Freeze Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable with numerous health benefits. It’s a great source of B vitamins, vitamin C, choline, and antioxidants. In addition, cauliflower’s high in fiber and water content make it a helpful veggie for supporting a healthy digestive system and fighting constipation.

Equally as impressive as cauliflower’s health benefits is its versatile nature. It can easily be enjoyed on its own, whether steamed, roasted, grated into rice, or mashed. Use it to add nutrition and bulk to cooked dishes like casseroles and soups. It can even be used in pureed form as a substitute for cream sauces, blended into smoothies, or as a base for a delicious pizza crust.

A head of cauliflower against a white background.

Cauliflower Benefits

Typically, white foods don’t have much to offer in the way of vitamins and minerals, but this is not the case with cauliflower. Much like its cousin broccoli, cauliflower has tons of nutrients.

  • It provides tons of vitamin C, which is needed for iron absorption and immune support
  • Contains choline, which is essential for brain development.
  • A good source of fiber to help keep you regular.
  • High in antioxidants for cancer prevention.
Two hands holding ahead of cauliflower against way back drop.

How to Pick Ripe Cauliflower

Here’s how to select a head of cauliflower that’s perfectly ripe and ready to enjoy:

  • Color:  Look for a creamy white color in cauliflower. Avoid those with a dull yellow color or brown spots. The leaves should look fresh and green.
  • Texture:  You’ll want the heads to be firm to the touch and tightly closed. Avoid heads that are loose or have crumbly florets.
  • Weight: Choose a head of cauliflower that feels heavy for its size.

Types of Cauliflower: Cauliflower comes in different colors, including white, green, purple, and orange. White cauliflower is the most common and readily available. Green cauliflower, known as “broccoflower,” looks similar to broccoli. Purple cauliflower owes its hue to its high level of antioxidants. And orange or “cheddar” cauliflower has a mild, creamy flavor, with a color resembling cheese.

How to Store Cauliflower

  • Wait to wash your cauliflower until you are ready to use it.
  • Store fresh cauliflower in a loosely wrapped or perforated plastic bag in the fridge. Cauliflower needs airflow, so don’t seal or knot the bag. If your cauliflower was plastic wrapped from the grocery store, loosen up the knot.
  • A fresh cauliflower head will keep up to 5 days in the fridge.
  • Frozen cauliflower can last 10-12 months in the freezer.

How to Store Cut Cauliflower

If you need to prep cauliflower ahead of time and cut it into florets, they will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. The same is true for cooked cauliflower.

How to Cut Cauliflower

To cut cauliflower, pull the leaves off the base of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower in half, downward from the top of the crown through the stem. Lay the cauliflower halves cut side down on the cutting board and cut them again. Then lay the cauliflower quarters on the cutting board and angle your knife so that it cuts out the cores. Use your hands to break apart the cauliflower into florets. You can also use a knife to chop into smaller pieces as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cauliflower keep better in the fridge?

Yes, cauliflower will keep better, for longer in the fridge. Although you can store uncooked, whole cauliflower at room temperature for 2-3 days, cauliflower will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How do you store cauliflower so it doesn’t turn brown?

Store cauliflower with the head side up to prevent moisture from collecting on it, which will prevent it from turning brown.

Can you freeze fresh cauliflower without blanching?

You can, but many experts still recommend blanching cauliflower first to keep its nutritional content and preserve its texture.

How To Freeze Cauliflower

  1. Bring a medium saucepan filled 3/4 the way up with water to a boil.
  2. Add cauliflower florets to the boiling water. Let cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, place the cooked cauliflower pieces into an ice bath (a bowl filled with water and ice). Let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the cauliflower to a paper towel or towel and let dry.
  5. Place the cauliflower into a zip-lock baggie or stasher bag in a single layer.
  6. With the baggie on the counter, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top of the bag by the seam, press out as much extra air as possible.
  7. Close the zip-lock and label.
  8. Transfer the blanched cauliflower to the freezer and freeze it flat.
  9. The cauliflower will break apart easily once frozen, so you can use the entire bag or just a portion.

How to Thaw Frozen Cauliflower

Defrost frozen cauliflower in a large pot of cold water. You can use thawed cauliflower in a variety of recipes.

How to Use Frozen Cauliflower

There are so many ways to use frozen cauliflower. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Roasted as a side dish for lunch or dinner
  • Blended into creamy cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’
  • Pureed and mixed into soups for added nutrients and texture
  • Mixed into casseroles
  • Blended in a food processor to make cauliflower ‘rice’ for stir fry dishes
  • Processed into ‘rice’ and used as a base for cauliflower pizza crusts

Favorite Recipes

Teal blue plate for kids with color flower tots and a small bowl of guacamole dip.

Favorite Cauliflower Tots

5 stars (2 ratings)
These easy cauliflower tots are a delicious and fun spin on a childhood favorite. Plus, they're perfect for baby-led weaning, toddlers, kids, and even adults!
Get the recipe
A teal plate showing how to feed cauliflower to your baby, as a purée or for baby led weaning.

Cauliflower for Baby: Puree & Baby-Led Weaning

5 stars (1 rating)
Get the recipe
Small white bowl filled with a peach and cauliflower baby food puree.

Peach + Cauliflower Baby Food Puree with Ginger

4.60 stars (15 ratings)
Filled with 3 whole food ingredients, this puree not only tastes great but it is also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to help baby grow big and strong.
Get the recipe
Glass bowl filled with homemade puree with spoon resting on top.

Cauliflower, Apple + Tandoori Baby Food Puree

No ratings yet
This Cauliflower, Apple + Tandoori Baby Food Puree finds the perfect balance of sweet, tangy with a slight kick from the tandoori. Great way to introduce baby to the bold and exotic flavor profile of tandoori.
Get the recipe
spread of meal for baby - purees or finger foods for baby-led weaning.

Chicken, Squash + Cauliflower Baby Food Meal

5 stars (6 ratings)
This sheet pan meal is so easy, and it makes a smooth, easy to eat puree or is ideal for baby-led weaning. Chicken, squash and cauliflower baby food is ideal for make ahead meals for your little ones and full of healthy and natural ingredients.
Get the recipe
graphic for post - how to pick, store and freeze cauliflower. Images are in a grid showing a cauliflower, a cutting board with cut cauliflower, frozen cauliflower and a pink plate with cut florets.

Get the recipe: How to Freeze Cauliflower

No ratings yet
Freezing cauliflower is a great way to make use of the extra vegetable for future recipes.

Ingredients 

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

Instructions 

  • Bring a medium saucepan filled 3/4 the way up with water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets to the boiling water. Let cook for 3-4 minutes.
    Hey silver sauce pan blanching cauliflower.
  • Place the cooked cauliflower pieces into an ice bath (a bowl filled with water and ice). Let cool for 5 minutes.
    Bluish color flower being moved with a slotted spoon into an ice bath.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to a paper towel or towel and let dry.
    Blanche cauliflower on a paper towel drain.
  • Place the cauliflower into a zip-lock baggie or stasher bag in a single layer. With the baggie on the counter, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top of the bag by the seam, press out as much extra air as possible. Close the zip-lock.
    Two hands squeezing all the air out of his it bug bag full of cauliflower.
  • Transfer the blanched cauliflower to the freezer and freeze flat.
    Plastic freezer bag filled with frozen cauliflower against a white backdrop.
  • The cauliflower will break apart easily once frozen, so you can use the entire bag or just a portion.
    Plastic freezer bag filled with frozen cauliflower against a white backdrop.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @babyfoode on Instagram and hashtag it #babyfoode!