Freezing cauliflower is a great way to avoid waste. It will also make the cooking time quicker when you come to cook it from frozen.
Like most vegetables, if frozen raw, the texture, taste, colour and nutritional value deteriorates, so make sure you blanch it to preserve these elements. Always use cauliflower that's fresh, too.
If you don’t want to blanch it ahead of freezing, dice or chop the florets finely, freeze on a tray until solid, then transfer to a labelled resealable freezer bag, expelling any excess air. There will be deterioration, as described above, and it's best used in cooked dishes within a couple weeks.
For delicious dishes that use this versatile veg, check out our top cauliflower recipes.
Basic methods for freezing cauliflower
Prep your cauliflower by washing it thoroughly and cutting into equal-sized florets.
How to freeze cauliflower florets
- To blanch the cauliflower, bring a pan of water to the boil. Prepare a bowl of iced water and a tray lined with kitchen paper.
- Put the cauliflower in boiling water and blanch for about 2 minutes, depending on the size.
- Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and plunge into the bowl of iced water. Leave for the same time that the cauliflower was blanched, then drain and arrange on your lined tray.
- Once drained and patted dry, lay the cauliflower on a tray and freeze until solid. You can then transfer into a labelled resealable freezer bag, ensuring you remove any excess air before sealing. Blanched cauliflower is best used within 6 months.
How to freeze cauliflower rice
- Cut into quarters and remove the thick core.
- Put the chunks of cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it looks a little like couscous. Transfer into labelled resealable freezer bags, ensuring you remove any excess air before sealing, then freeze flat. Frozen cauliflower rice is best used within 2 months.
How to cook cauliflower from frozen
There's no need to defrost frozen cauliflower before cooking. In fact, it's best to cooking it from frozen. They can be added straight into dishes being cooked, like stews, casseroles and oven bakes, or throw in for the last few minutes with pasta being cooked in boiling water.
Boil in salted water for about 5-8 minutes, remembering that the cooking time will be reduced because of the blanching process.
You can roast the cauliflower from frozen. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil, season and roast at 210C/200C fan/gas 7 for about 20 minutes, depending on size, until tender and cooked all the way through.
Put a small amount of frozen cauliflower into a pan with butter on a low heat, stirring often until tender through.
Put the frozen cauliflower into a microwave-safe dish with a splash fo water (about 50ml). Cover with a microwave-safe cover, then blast for about 3 minutes on high, until the cauliflower is tender and cooked through.
How to reheat cauliflower rice
You can defrost in the fridge before using, but frozen cauliflower rice can be microwaved straight from the freezer for about 4 minutes on the highest power in a bowl covered with cling film, mixing half way through.
Cauliflower recipe inspiration
Roasting brings out delicious nutty flavours in cauliflower, try it in this satisfying roasted aloo gobi. This hearty curry is great for feeding the whole family and will do you good, too.
Evoke flavours of the Middle East with our veggie harissa cauliflower pilaf, with a heady combination of fruit, nuts and spice. Cook it in the oven for lovely fluffy rice.
There’s no need to make a tomato sauce for this Italian-style vegetarian one-pot – the oven will do the work for you. This colourful midweek meal saves on washing up and takes just 15 minutes to prepare.
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