Cauliflower has come a long way from just sitting on a veggie tray. Several years ago, it was popular in low-carbohydrate diets. When cooked and mashed with milk or cream, it has the texture and nearly the taste of mashed potatoes.
Some may wonder whether you should blanch broccoli or cauliflower before freezing, and then, how to cook it.
These cruciferous vegetables contain properties that may help ward off certain cancers. They also are excellent sources of vitamin C and fiber.
Before freezing broccoli or cauliflower, it’s best to blanch or steam it first. For broccoli, trim off the stalks and cut them into pieces; separate the crown into florets. For cauliflower, cut away the stem end and cut the florets from the core, cutting as close to the core as possible.
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To blanch, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and have ready a large bowl of ice water. Place broccoli or cauliflower in the boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking. (The icy bath also helps retain the broccoli’s color.)
To steam, cut as directed above and steam for 5 minutes. Chill as above.
Once chilled, pack the vegetables in containers or freezer bags. Keep 10 to 12 months in the freezer.
Boiling can make cauliflower watery because it already contains a lot of water. Sauteing works well, but perhaps the best choice is roasting, which brings out cauliflower’s sweet flavor.
Choose cauliflower heads that are heavy and creamy white with no dark spots or signs of decay. The cabbage-like leaves should be bright green with no yellowing.
Cauliflower, well-wrapped, keeps a good week in the refrigerator.
To use, remove the leaves and trim the stem end from the core. Cut away the florets from the core, cutting as close to the core as possible. You also can cut the core into small pieces.
To roast, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place florets on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher or sea salt; toss to coat. Roast about 20 to 25 minutes or until the florets are slightly golden.
Another roasting option is to cut the cauliflower into steaks. Trim the stem end away and steady the whole head, core side down. Slice into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick pieces. Place on a sided roasting pan that’s been drizzled with olive oil. Give the cauliflower another drizzle of oil and season as desired. Roast until nicely browned on both sides, about 10 minutes per side.