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Aug 6, 2014 01:53 PM

Freezing cauliflower

I have an abundance of cauliflower which I cannot immediately use. I know that if I parboil the florets that they will freeze just fine. Question: Can I successfully freeze uncooked cauliflower florets for later use?

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  1. I've always understood the brief blanching of vegetables was about killing bacteria, thereby aiding long term freezing. I have absolutely no idea if this is actually true and, if so, why it's important. I really can't see why freezing uncooked won't work, at least if you're perhaps only storing for a few weeks/months.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      I'm not certain, but I tend to question the bacterial theory for two reasons: 1) I don't believe that bacteria can replicate at freezing temperature, and 2) many uncooked meats, poultry and fish freeze very well for pretty extended periods, and they are certainly at least as bacterially contaminated as most vegetables.

      Still wondering about freezing unblanched cauliflower florets?

    2. there is a reason birdseye blanches their veggies before freezing them. :)

      the cell structure is totally different than animal protein so, no, they cannot be frozen raw and be decent when thawed.

      blanch, spread on a sheet tray to freeze so they don't clump together, then portion and freeze.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Thanks! I thought it had something to do with the cell structure, but wasn't sure.

      2. I have roasted cauliflower and then frozen it. No loss of quality--texture or flavor.

        3 Replies
        1. re: alwayshungrygal

          I've done the same. I'm suspecting that cooking must in some way affect the cell walls and in so doing make the vegetable (or fruit) less likely to be damaged/changed by the expanding ice crystals which form during freezing. I was hoping that perhaps another CH has had a different experience with freezing raw cauliflower, but I guess it was just wishful thinking.

          1. re: josephnl

            the only time i freeze raw veggies is if they are going for stock.

          2. My understanding is that it has to do with deactivating certain enzymes, not bacterial growth.

            1 Reply
            1. re: acgold7

              That's my understanding too - enzymes, not bacteria. If the enzymes are still active, the vegetables may continue to ripen in the freezer.

            2. Thanks everyone. I broke down the cauliflowers into florets and blanched them for about 4 minutes and shocked them in ice water. They remained very crunchy. I let them dry out first in colanders, then on paper towels. I've just bagged them and put them in the freezer. I'm sure they'll be fine. On my menus during the next few weeks will be caulifower vichyssoise, Sicilian pasta with cauliflower, yellow raisins, and saffron, and roasted curried cauliflower as a side. If there is any left over, mashed potatoes with cauliflower mixed in is delicious. I think I'll use up the surfeit of cauliflower without too much difficulty. Thanks!