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Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Cauliflower (HNI20)


July 11, 2023 - <>,


Food Safety and Storage

  • Pick or purchase cauliflower heads that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Wash cauliflower under cool running Do not use soap.
  • Keep cauliflower away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.
  • For best quality and to preserve nutritional quality, preserve only what your family can consume in one year. 


1⅓ pounds


1 pint frozen

Two medium heads


3 pints frozen

12 cups flowerets


9 half-pints pickled

1 bushel (12 pounds)


8–12 pints frozen

How to preserve


Cauliflower usually discolors and grows stronger in flavor when canned. For this reason, canning is not recommended.


"Choose compact heads. Trim off leaves and cut each head into pieces about 1 inch across.If necessary to remove insects, soak for 30 minutes in a solution of water (4 teaspoons saltper 1 gallon of water). Drain.

Water blanch for 3 minutes in water containing 4 teaspoons salt per 1 gallon water.

Water blanching: Use 1 gallon of water per pound of cauliflower. Put cauliflower in blanching basket or strainer, and lower into boiling water. Place lid on pan or blancher. Return water to boil. Start counting blanching time as soon as water returns to a boil. If it takes longer than a minute to come back to a boil, too much cauliflower has been put in the boiling water.

Cool in ice water for 3 minutes, drain and pack into airtight freezer containers, leaving no headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze. Use frozen cauliflower within 8 to 12 months for best quality.

Alternatively, freeze individual flowerets on cookie sheets or trays, transfer frozen flowerets to freezer bags, remove air, seal, label and freeze.


Pickled cauliflower

  • 12 cups of 1- to 2-inch cauliflower flowerets
  • 4 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup diced sweet red peppers
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tbsp. celery seed
  • 1 turmeric
  • 1 hot red pepper flakes

Yield: About 9 half-pints

Wash cauliflower flowerets (after removing stems and blemished outer leaves) and boil in salt water (4 teaspoons of canning salt per 1 gallon of water) for 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Combine vinegar, sugar, onion, diced red pepper and spices in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Distribute onion and diced pepper among jars. Fill hot jars with pieces of cauliflower and pickling solution, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.

Wipe jar rims with clean paper towel, adjust lids, and process according to the following recommendations:

Recommended processing time for pickled cauliflower in a boiling-water canner.


Processing time at altitudes of

Style of pack

Jar size

0 -

1,000 ft

1,001 -

6,000 ft

Above 6,000 ft


Half-pints or pints

10 min

15 min

20 min

Let jars stand undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours, check lids to be sure they’ve sealed, remove rings, wash jars, label, date and store.


  • Andress, E., & Harrison, J. A. (2014). So easy to preserve (Bulletin 989). (6th ed.). University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

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