What to Look for When Buying Cauliflower
Cauliflower is often sold in whole heads at the grocery store or farmers' market. Look for a clean, compact head with tightly closed bud clusters. Avoid heads with loose or crumbly florets, brown spots or dull color. The leaves should look fresh and green. When buying pre-cut cauliflower, choose firm pieces with no discoloration.
How to Store Cauliflower in the Fridge
Store fresh cauliflower heads in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Cauliflower needs air circulation, so don't seal or knot the bag closed. (If you bought a plastic-wrapped head of cauliflower from the grocery store, just loosen up the knot.) Be sure to keep the cauliflower stem-end up to prevent condensation from forming on the head. Moisture can lead to discoloration or decay of the cauliflower. You should also skip washing your cauliflower before storing it, but you should wash it once you're ready to use it. When properly stored, cauliflower can last up to three to five days in the fridge.
How to Store Cauliflower in the Freezer
Cauliflower can be stored in the freezer, but requires a few additional steps. First, prep and cut the cauliflower into florets (see step-by-step photos in our how to cook cauliflower guide). Next, blanch the cauliflower for three minutes in boiling water, then plunge it into an ice-water bath. Blanching the cauliflower kills bacteria, preserves the vegetable's nutrients and helps maintain the vegetable's flavor and texture. Drain the cauliflower well, then place the florets on a sheet pan and freeze until solid before transferring to a freezer-safe bag (like this Stasher bag; buy it: Target, $22). Frozen cauliflower florets can last 10 to 12 months (and if you're looking to freeze other vegetables, check out our how-to guide for freezing produce).
Once you're ready to enjoy your cauliflower, recipes like Loaded Cauliflower Casserole and Parmesan-Crusted Cauliflower with White Beans & Tomatoes are just some of the delicious possibilities that await.