Want to freeze fresh cauliflower? It’s easy! I’ll show you how to freeze cauliflower so that you can instantly use the florets in cooking (and save time).
Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable and is a staple ingredient in healthy (and low-carb) recipes. Plus, it’s a superfood loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, antioxidants, and fiber. I personally love how the flavor and texture transforms when cooked in different ways, from simply roasting cauliflower with spices or blending it into cauliflower rice.
But if you have a head of cauliflower, either fresh from your garden or sitting in your fridge, you can easily freeze it for future use. I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.
How to Freeze Cauliflower
Want to see how I freeze zucchini? Watch the video below!
Here’s the step-by-step process for freezing it:
- Prep the cauliflower by washing the head and removing and dirt or debris.
- Cut the head of cauliflower in half, then into quarters. Remove the florets from the core and break them apart by hand or cut into smaller pieces with your knife.
- Begin the blanching process by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and then adding the cauliflower. Blanch for just 1-2 minutes.
- Create an ice bath by adding water and ice into a large bowl. Scoop the cauliflower from the pot with a skimmer and transfer it into the ice bath. Let it chill for about 2 minutes.
- Drain the cauliflower and pat the florets dry to remove any extra moisture.
- Pre-freeze the florets by spreading the cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1-2 hours.
- Toss the frozen cauliflower into freezer bags and store it for several months! I like to use these reusable silicone bags for storage.
Is Blanching Necessary?
It’s not necessary, but it’s recommended. Blanching not only ensure you’ve killed any lurking bacteria, but it also preserves the quality and flavor. This is particularly important if you plan to freeze longer than a month or two.
How to Use Frozen Cauliflower
Frozen cauliflower makes recipes a breeze, because it doesn’t need to cook for very long. The blanching process makes the frozen cauliflower softer than raw cauliflower (once it’s thawed), but remember that it’s still not cooked through. Just quickly saute, boil or steam it and you’re good to go!
Even better – toss it into a smoothie! Frozen cauliflower is perfect for smoothies. It’s a sneaky vegetable that’s virtually undetectable and adds a bit of creaminess to your favorite smoothie.
More Cauliflower Recipes and Ideas
And if you’ve got heaps of zucchini, remember that you can freeze zucchini too!
Are you searching for a perfect way to freeze fresh cauliflower while maintaining the texture, flavor, and nutrition? Here we have some fantastic time-saving methods to freeze cauliflower perfectly.
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Freezing cauliflower lets, you use the florets instantly in cooking. What’s more beneficial than learning how to freeze cauliflower and how to use freshly stored cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a great low-carb vegetable loaded with Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. Its flavor and texture change when cooked differently, from BBQ Cauliflower Wings to Cauliflower Rice.
But if you picked a cauliflower head because you simply love it, frozen cauliflower can save your time while cooking. You can walk through a simple process step-by-step to restore original flavor and texture.
Step-By-Step Guide For Freezing Cauliflower:
Freezing is a great way to store cauliflower if you buy in bulk or keep growing it in your garden. However, you can’t put it into the reusable silicone bags to store in the freezer; otherwise, you’ll have soggy and flavorless cauliflower.
We’ve answered your query of how to freeze cauliflower comprises different steps: washing, cutting, blanching, soaking, removing moisture, chilling, and then storing in the freezer. Everything in your pantry would be needed, such as a knife, pot, colander, bowl, ice, salt, baking sheet, and freezer containers or bags. Also, Read How To Freeze Broccoli.
Step 1: Get A Fresh Cauliflower And Cut It.
Most importantly, you’ll need fresh cauliflower. Otherwise, you’ll get saggy-tasting frozen cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower head in half and separate the stem. Then cut the crown of the cauliflower into florets on your cutting board or apart from them by hand about an inch.
Step 2: Wash Properly To Remove Insects.
Wash the florets under the faucet to remove the dirt or garden bugs. The stem is also edible so that you can cut them into small pieces.
Step 3: Soak Cauliflower Florets In Saltwater.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt added to it. Add washed cauliflower and cook for about 3 minutes (or steam for 5 minutes) until tender, called the cauliflower blanching process.
Enzymes and bacteria destroy nutrition levels also change the texture, flavor, and color of frozen fruits and veggies. The blanching process stops enzymes and bacteria from destroying the freshness of the fruits and vegetables.
After that, dip the blanched cauliflower into ice-cold water to prevent it from overcooking.
Step 4: Remove Moisture Altogether.
To remove extra moisture, drain cauliflower florets and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Step 5: Leave The Florets For Chilling.
Transfer the baking sheet with florets to the freezer for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Step 6: Freezing Cauliflower Florets
Place frozen cauliflower in a freezer-safe container or reusable silicon bags to prevent from freezer-burn or drying. Label your bags and put them in a quick freezer-shelf or simply freeze them.
You just need to reheat the frozen cauliflower only for 90 seconds or steam it to get an instant ingredient in different cauliflower recipes such as Cauliflower Soup, Cauliflower Casserole, and Cauliflower Curry. You can use it for about 5-6months with original restored flavors or even more than that.
Here Are Two Other Methods How To Store Cauliflower.
Method 1: hold the open cauliflower bag underwater, and air will be out due to water pressure. Seal it without taking it out from the water.
Method 2: use a straw by putting it in the freezer bag to suck the air out. When it becomes air-tightened, remove the straw by pressing at the place where inserted.
Other Vegan Cauliflower Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Have Any Idea Why Frozen Cauliflower Seems So Saggy And Limp?
Generally, when you overcook the cauliflower, you end up with saggy cauliflower. You just need 3 minutes to cook the cauliflower after taking it from the freezer.
Can we freeze cauliflower for a more extended period?
Firstly, pick young and fresh cauliflower with tight-white florets at its peak. Storing a cauliflower after its peak can’t impress you with the flavor and texture. For storing longer, your freezer must be icy and pack appropriately. Using a vacuum food sealer helps to better store for longer. Also, use thicker bags to prevent freezer burn.
In general, a Ziploc bag is extra smart to store cauliflower for up to 9 months in a regular freezer, and a vacuum-packed bag can store for 14 months in a deep freezer. Avoid freezing heads previously stored at room temperature for a moment. What’s more, do you want to?
Is Blanching Necessary For Freezing Cauliflower?
It’s a recommended process to preserve the quality and flavor and killing harmful bacteria. Also, it helps to freeze cauliflower for a more extended period.
What Is The Best Way To Use Frozen Cauliflower?
You can boil, steam, or saute the frozen cauliflower because softer than raw once it’s thawed! Even better – Frozen cauliflower goes perfect with smoothies, soups, and curries. This sly vegetable adds minute creaminess to your enjoyable smoothies and delicious flavor to other food courses.
Your Turn To Freezing Cauliflower!
Frozen cauliflower helps instantly in stews, soups, or even casseroles the whole year. Storing young and fresh cauliflower can lessen your headaches if you want to preserve its flavor and nutrients at its peak and use it as an on-hand ingredient.
It’s a great versatile low-carb vegetable, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Have you thoroughly understood how to freeze cauliflower properly? If yes, let us know what do you think about it?
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Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable and, therefore, worth growing in your garden or buying in larger quantities. But you may find yourself with more fresh cauliflower than you can use at one time. Luckily, freezing is an easy way to keep it from going to waste.
Freezing is the best way to preserve cauliflower. (It doesn’t dehydrate well, and it will lose nutrients and get mushy if you pressure can it.) However, you don’t want to just pop it into a zip-close bag and toss it into the freezer; you will end up with clumps of frozen cauliflower that will be soggy and flavorless. The proper steps for how to freeze cauliflower include prepping, blanching, chilling, flash freezing, and storing in the freezer. You will need a knife, colander, pot, bowl, ice, baking sheet, and freezer bags or containers.
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Clean and Cut Into Florets
The first step to freezing cauliflower is to clean and prep the vegetable. Soak the whole cauliflower for a few minutes in water to get rid of any dirt or garden bugs. Then, remove the green parts and chop the whole cauliflower head in half. Cut out the solid stem section and divide the head into florets. You can break the florets apart by hand, but use a knife to cut big florets into smaller ones no more than 1 1/2 inches thick.
While you are preparing the cauliflower, have a pot of water coming to a boil on the stove. Also, get a big bowl of ice water ready.
Giving the cauliflower florets a quick blanching in boiling water before freezing ensures that they will retain a good texture when you get around to cooking with them. Once the cauliflower is separated into florets, drop the florets into the pot of rapidly boiling water. Let them cook for 5 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander.
As an alternative, you can steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes rather than boiling it.
Chill in an Ice Bath
Immediately transfer the blanched cauliflower to the bowl of ice water. This stops the residual heat in the florets from continuing to cook them. Leave the cauliflower in the ice water for 3 minutes, then drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
To prevent the cauliflower florets from clumping together, a single layer flash freeze is recommended. This way the florets will stay loose, so it will be easy when you have a large container of frozen cauliflower but only need to take out a small amount for a recipe.
Spread the blanched and chilled cauliflower florets in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours. Transfer the frozen cauliflower to freezer bags or containers and label them with the date. Frozen cauliflower will keep for one year. It is still safe to eat after that, but its quality will decline.
Use Frozen Cauliflower
It is not necessary to thaw frozen cauliflower before cooking it. You can take the cauliflower directly from the freezer to make roasted cauliflower, cauliflower rice, or mashed cauliflower. When using the frozen cauliflower in a recipe that calls for fresh cauliflower, subtract the 5 minutes of blanching time from the cooking time.
Cauliflower, how we love thee. If only we could have access to a fresh source of our go-to cruciferous vegetable whenever we pleased. Wait a second: We can, and it’s as easy as blanching fresh cauli and stashing it in our freezer? Yep. Here’s how to freeze cauliflower so you’ll never run out.
What is blanching?
Blanching is the process of very quickly and briefly cooking a food in salted boiling water, then rapidly cooling it down to halt the cooking process before it gets mushy. It helps your veggies maintain their flavor, texture and, most importantly, nutrients. And while it sounds fancy and cheffy, it’s as easy as cooking pasta.
How to freeze cauliflower in 4 easy steps:
1. Set up a blanching station and an ice bath. Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil and season it generously with kosher salt. How much salt, you ask? Treat it like pasta water, adding a few tablespoons per quart of water. Set up a large bowl of ice water nearby and have a wire strainer or colander at the ready.
2. Prepare the fresh cauliflower. While you wait for the water to come to a boil, get your cauliflower ready. Treat it as you would if you were getting ready to cook with it: Wash the cauliflower in cool water to get rid of any dirt or sneaky insects. Trim the florets from the stems, then cut them into bite-size pieces, and either discard the stems entirely, or use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer and trim away the ends, chopping them into small pieces as well. The most important thing is to make sure everything is even in size, so your cauliflower will cook at the same rate.
3. Blanch the cauliflower. Immerse the cauliflower in the boiling water. (Depending on how much cauliflower you’re working with, you may need to blanch in batches.) Blanch the cauliflower until it’s barely tender, about two minutes. Immediately drain the cauliflower using the wire strainer or colander.
4. Chill and freeze the cauliflower. Immediately transfer the strained cauliflower to the ice bath and swish it around. Once the cauliflower is cool, drain it thoroughly. To freeze the blanched cauliflower, you can pack it in containers right away (we’re fans of eco-friendly silicone storage bags) and transfer to the freezer, but we prefer to follow the single-layer method so it doesn’t freeze in large clumps (and for easier portioning down the road). Spread the cauliflower into a single layer on a baking sheet, freeze it for about an hour and then transfer to storage containers before freezing again.
Can you freeze cauliflower without blanching?
Sure, you can, but we don’t advise it. Blanching locks in a vegetable’s nutritional content and ensures a pleasant texture when you go to cook with it. Freezing fresh cauliflower might result in a mushy texture, but if you must, we recommend ricing the cauliflower first to avoid any weird textural changes.
1. Wash and trim the cauliflower as instructed above, but don’t worry too much about the size of the pieces.
2. Make cauliflower rice. Transfer the cauliflower pieces to the bowl of a food processor, filling it only halfway. Pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.
3. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a food storage container and straight into the freezer. It’s helpful to portion out the cauliflower rice before freezing—that way, you can grab only as much as you need at a time. (It will keep for up to 3 months, since it’s not blanched.) To cook the cauliflower rice, thaw it in the fridge overnight before sautéing in olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
How long can you keep cauliflower in the freezer?
When properly prepared and stored (that is, blanched before freezing), cauliflower can keep in the freezer for up to 12 months without a change in taste or texture. When you’re ready to cook with it, skip the thawing and toss it right into your recipe.
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Frozen cauliflower is great to have on hand to use in casseroles and soups throughout the year. Just blanch fresh cauliflower while it’s at its peak to preserve its flavor and nutrients, then place the florets in freezer bags and store them. See Step 1 to learn how to freeze cauliflower.
- You can pick your own cauliflower or buy it from a farmer’s market for optimum freshness.
- Avoid freezing very large heads or heads that have already been stored at room temperature for awhile.
- If you prefer, you can cut the cauliflower into larger or smaller pieces.
- Think ahead about what you might make with the cauliflower when you’re deciding how to cut it. If you anticipate using it to make cauliflower soup, it doesn’t matter whether the pieces are uniform, since they’ll be pureed. If you’re going to use it to make a roasted cauliflower side dish, you might want to make the pieces more uniform for a prettier presentation.
- Neglecting to blanch the cauliflower before freezing it will probably result in mushy, discolored cauliflower when you thaw it later. It’s worth the effort to blanch it first.
- If you use freezer bags, try to squeeze out most of the air before sealing them. This will help preserve the cauliflower for a longer amount of time. You can also use a straw to suck out the excess air, then press the bag closed when you remove the straw.
- A foodsaver device or vacuum sealer work well for freezing large amounts of food.
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About This Article
To freeze cauliflower, start by cutting it into small 1 inch florets. Then, boil the florets for 3 minutes to kill the enzymes in the cauliflower so it maintains its flavor and texture longer. After 3 minutes, immediately put the florets in a large bowl of ice water. Once the florets have cooled off, put them in a sealable freezer bag or container and store them in the freezer, where they’ll stay good for several months. For tips on how to reheat your cauliflower once you’re ready to eat it, read on!
Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables going, making quite the revival as a way of creating rice and pizza crusts with added health benefits.
But the question is can you freeze cauliflower and how do you going about it?
Cauliflower can be frozen for up to 6 months. To freeze cauliflower, blanch florets before drying and then freezing on a baking tray. Once frozen solid, you can tip the frozen cauliflower florets into a bag.
Can You Refreeze Cauliflower? No
Does Cauliflower Freeze Well? Yes
How to Freeze Cauliflower
If you’re just looking to freeze basic cauliflower so you’ve got a supply in the freezer ready to use then this is the approach to take:
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Tip your cauliflower florets into the boiling water for 3 minutes then drain immediately running it under cold water or dunking it in an ice bath to instantly stop the cooking process.
Allow the cauliflower to cool completely.
- Place Onto a Baking Tray
Place the florets on a baking tray spread out trying to make sure none of the pieces are touching.
Place the tray into the freezer for a few hours to flash freeze.
- Bag Up and Freeze
Remove the tray and tip the frozen pieces of cauliflower into a freezer bag and return to the freezer.
By freezing in this way, you’ll easily be able to grab as many florets as you need for dinner. If you don’t flash freeze then there’s a risk your cauliflower will freeze in one large clump making it hard to grab a portion at a time.
How to Freeze Cauliflower Dishes
Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can come in a range of forms and dishes. We’ve covered a few popular dishes below:
How to Freeze Cauliflower Cheese
First, make your cauliflower cheese. That means you can cook it completely. If you’re not sure which recipe to use then this one from Nigella is delicious. Now you’ve got it made, move on:
Allow your cauliflower cheese to completely cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, wrap it in a layer of foil followed by a layer of clingfilm to keep it protected. You want to freeze it in the container you will reheat it in.
Place it in the freezer.
That’s all you need to do to get your cauliflower cheese frozen.
How to Freeze Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower rice has certainly become trendy with its added health benefits. But is it easy to prepare and then freeze? Can you freeze cauliflower rice? And how do you go about it?
- Blitz Florets
So you’ve got your cleaned cauliflower florets. Simply place them into a food processor (in batches if you’re doing a lot). Use the pulse function because if you over-process the cauliflower it will become mush instead of rice.
- Portion Into Bags
Scoop your cauliflower rice into portions in ziplock bags and then seal, squeezing out as much of the air as possible.
Place the bags in the freezer and store them for up to 3 months.
3 Tips for Freezing Cauliflower
Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing cauliflower to have the best results:
Blanching cauliflower has a range of benefits. It will lock in flavour, texture and colour. We would always urge you to blanch vegetables even if it does take a little more effort.
Think about how much cauliflower you’ll use in one sitting and freeze it in portions of this size.
There’s nothing to stop you from mixing cauliflower with other vegetables so it’s ready to go with other veggies. The obvious choice here would be broccoli florets as they cook at a similar time.
How Long Can You Freeze Cauliflower?
Cauliflower florets will keep for around 6 months in the freezer before there’s a risk they’ll be affected by freezer burn. For cauliflower cheese and cauliflower rice, we would recommend using them up within 3 months.
You Can Freeze Cauliflower for up to 6 Months
As always, make sure you label up your frozen products with the date they need to be consumed to avoid wasting them in a few months time.
How Do You Defrost Cauliflower?
If you are looking to defrost cauliflower florets then place them in the fridge to thaw overnight. This will ensure they don’t become mushy when you cook them.
You can bring them to a boil in a pan straight from the freezer but sometimes this will lead to overcooking the outside.
If you’re using cauliflower rice then this can be cooked straight from the freezer. Heat some oil or butter in a pan and tip in your frozen rice. Give it a good toss to coat then cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat.
With cauliflower cheese, you need to place it straight into a hot oven and cook for 30-40minutes until it is piping hot through.
Can You Refreeze Cauliflower?
Unfortunately, refreezing cauliflower can leave to mushy florets which have a drastic textural change that will be easy to spot.
Instead, use the method above to freeze cauliflower into suitable portions to avoid any waste in future.
Does Cauliflower Freeze Well?
Cauliflower florets freeze particularly well and any aficionado would actually struggle to tell the difference between freeze and fresh cauliflower provided that you cook it well after thawing.
Cauliflower rice is the same. Provided that you cook it carefully then it will be no different.
The exception is cauliflower cheese. After freezing, the sauce of your cauliflower cheese can, unfortunately, become a little thin and watery.
When serving, use a slotted spoon to ensure you drain off some of this excess water as you don’t want to serve it up in a puddle of cheesy water.
If you’ve still got questions about freezing cauliflower or cauliflower in general, then these may help:
Do You Need to Blanch Cauliflower Before Freezing?
It’s not essential and you’ll still have perfectly frozen raw cauliflower. However, blanching acts as an extra layer of safety to kill off any bacterial enzymes in your cauliflower.
If you freeze cauliflower and there is bacteria present then freezing it won’t kill it, instead, it will just put it to sleep until you thaw it out.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Soup?
Of course, you can! We’ve actually written a complete guide to freezing a huge variety of soups which you can check out here.
Do you want to know more about freezing cauliflower? You are not the only one! We regularly receive questions like: “Can you freeze raw cauliflower?“, “Can you freeze cooked cauliflower?” Or, “How do you defrost and heat up frozen cauliflower?” On this page we’ll answer all your questions and provide you tips and tricks on storing cauliflower in the freezer!
Cauliflower is a vegetable one can eat raw or cooked. For the ideal texture, cauliflower is cooked for 8 to 10 minutes or baked for 20 to 25 minutes. Do you have leftovers? Then you can store cauliflower in the freezer.
Go through the step-by-step plan down below:
- Make sure you rinse, clean and disinfect the cauliflower
- Blanch it in boiling salt water for approximately 1 minute
- Grab a knife and cut the cauliflower into florets
- Divide and put the florets in ziplock bags or Tupperware
- Place it in the back of the freezer at -0.4°F (-18°C) or lower
Frequently asked questions
Can you freeze prepared cauliflower?
After boiling cauliflower, the vegetable will spoil quickly. Therefore, you should (shortly) blanch and then freeze cauliflower.
Can you freeze cauliflower without blanching?
You don’t necessarily have to blanch cauliflower. However, it is advised because it kills bacteria and preserves its original taste.
Do you have to remove the leaves before freezing?
It is best to leave the foliage. The leaves are there for a reason: they provide protection against dehydration and vermin. This keeps the cauliflower fresh for a longer period of time.
How long can you store cauliflower?
You can choose to store cauliflower in the fridge or in the freezer. It will last for 3 to 7 days in the refrigerator and for around 7 months in the freezer. Note: When you freeze pre-packed cauliflower, you must carefully check the best-before date. If the cauliflower has been outside the freezer for a few days, it is likely that it can be stored for only a few months.
How can you extend the storage life of cauliflower?
It requires an airtight package (Tupperware, ziplock) if you want to freeze cauliflower. In the fridge you can keep the cauliflower in an open plastic bag in the vegetable drawer.
How should you defrost cauliflower?
You can immediately defrost and heat up frozen cauliflower in a hot pan or oven.
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With people looking to lower carb intake, the lowly cauliflower has seen a rise in popularity. From pizza crusts and rice to a stand-in for chicken wings, there are endless ways to use this cruciferous vegetable.
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Blanching is the best method for freezing cauliflower, but it's not the only way.
Freezing Cauliflower Without Blanching
Blanching is the most common and recommended way to prepare vegetables for freezing. Submerging fresh vegetables in boiling water, then quickly cooling them in an ice bath halts the action of enzymes in the food that can degrade freshness, preserving the color and texture of frozen veggies.
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Blanching also helps to clean and destroy microorganisms on the produce before cold storage, and it can protect against the loss of certain vitamins during freezing, according to the University of Wisconsin.
Inarguably, blanching is the best method for freezing cauliflower, but it's not the only method. If you don't want to, or can't, blanch your cauliflower, you can still freeze it, but the finished result won't be quite as good.
First things first: Make sure you have proper storage containers. Plastic containers made for freezing or heavy duty freezer bags will protect delicate cauliflower against freezer burn.
Remove the leaves and stem from the cauliflower head, and chop into florets. Rinse the florets well under running water, then place in a colander to drain thoroughly. Next, lay them on a kitchen towel and allow them to dry. Removing as much moisture as possible will improve the quality of the frozen florets.
Put the florets in a plastic container or freezer bag in a single layer. Lay the bag flat in the freezer. You can also arrange the florets in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, put it in the freezer until the florets are completely frozen, then pack them into containers. Freezing them this way means they won't freeze together, so you can take out only the amount you need and put the rest back in the freezer.
You can also freeze cauliflower rice. Just place the rice in the bag or container, remove as much air as you can and pop it in the freezer.
There are so many ways to use frozen cauliflower, from spicy roasted cauliflower to cauliflower bread. Try freezing fresh broccoli and cauliflower together, along with carrots and edamame, then add the mix to an easy weeknight stir-fry.
Give Blanching a Try
Maybe you're just fine with how your cauliflower turns out when you freeze it without blanching. But if you're left with a mushy, soggy mess when cooked, you might want to try blanching it first. It's quicker and easier than you might think.
Fill a pot with water and set it on the stove to boil. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends using at least one gallon of water per pound of vegetables.
Remove the leaves and stems from the cauliflower, and cut into florets. It's important to cut the florets into roughly the same size when you're blanching — about 1 inch across is a good size.
When the water is boiling, add the cauliflower and cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, set a timer for three minutes, which is the appropriate blanching time for cauliflower according to the University of Georgia.
Prepare your cold bath in a large bowl. Fill it half with ice and half with water. When the three minutes is up, transfer the cauliflower to the cold bath and allow it to cool completely. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says this should take about as long as it took to blanch the florets.
Transfer the cooled cauliflower to a colander and allow to drain. Then place the florets on a kitchen towel to dry.