How to Store Cauliflower the Right Way

Updated: Apr. 27, 2024

If you want to make roasted cauliflower or cauliflower rice, it helps to know to store cauliflower to keep it fresh.

A crisp, fresh head of cauliflower is much more than a simple side dish. With a little prep work, cauliflower can be a substitute for plant-based chicken wings, grated for rice or served whole as an entree. Here’s how to store cauliflower until it’s time to cook!

To help you find the best alternative pizza crusts, we sampled all the frozen pizzas we could find. Don’t miss our top picks for cauliflower pizza crusts.

Why Is Cauliflower Wrapped in Plastic?

The produce section at your local grocery store is filled all kinds of fresh eats, but while you’re perusing, make a mental note on how the heads of cauliflower are stored. While many fresh vegetables—like broccoli—can be found misting out in the open, you’ll find the heads of cauliflower tightly wrapped in plastic. Reddit and Quora users have some ideas as to why.

First, plastic wrap acts as a barrier between producer and customer. Depending on where and when the product was harvested, when it arrives at the grocery store and how long its shelf life is, some producers keep their vegetables in plastic to avoid contamination. Second, cauliflower isn’t thought to be as hardy in its raw form as broccoli. The florets crumble easily and are known to brown and discolor. That layer or two of plastic wrap keeps the cauliflower in one piece—and keeps moisture out.

How to Store Cauliflower

The key to keeping your cauliflower fresh for the entirety of its shelf life starts at the store, says EatingWell. Look for heads of cauliflower that are white and bright; avoid any with breaking leaves, florets or any browning or discoloration on the heads. The leaves should be crisp and green, and the head of the vegetable as a whole should be firm and tightly packed together.

Then, once you bring your groceries home, choose between storing your cauliflower in the refrigerator or freezer.

In the Refrigerator

Start by loosening up the knot holding the plastic wrap around the veggie. You still want to keep it covered, but you’ll want to give the cauliflower some room to breathe. After giving it some space for air circulation, store the veggie stem-up in the fridge. If you can, try to avoid washing your cauliflower before storage to prevent moisture retention. This can lead to browning and decrease the usual shelf life of three to five days.

In the Freezer

If you want to freeze cauliflower, start by washing and cutting off the florets—similar to how you’d prep to freeze broccoli. Add them to a pot of boiling water and let them cook for three minutes before blanching them, or dousing them in a bowl of freezing ice water. Drain well, pat dry and place the florets out on a baking sheet to store in the freezer until each piece is individually frozen. Then, transfer them to a storage bag and keep in your freezer anywhere from 10 to 12 months.

If all of this cauliflower talk is making you hungry, check out this recipe for homemade cauliflower soup. It’s cheesy, warm and filling!

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