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


December 8, 2014 - Author:

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Recommended varieties

Early Snowball, Snow Crown, Self-Blanche and Snow King hybrid are excellent for fresh use or freezing. Recommended purple cauliflower varieties for fresh use and freezing are Purple Head, Early Purple Head and Royal Purple. Early White hybrid is a good choice for pickling.

Storage and food safety

  • Wash cauliflower in cool running water. 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. 


1 1/3 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 salt and water (4 teaspoons salt per 1 gallon water). Drain. Water blanch for 3 minutes in water containing 4 teaspoons salt per 1 gallon water. Cool promptly, drain and pack into airtight freezer containers, leaving no head space. 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 percent acidity)
2 cups sugar
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup diced sweet red peppers
2 tbsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes 

Yield: About 9 half-pints

Wash cauliflower flowerets or (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 jars with pieces of cauliflower and pickling solution, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. 

Wipe jar rims, adjust lids, and process according to the following recommendations: 

Recommended processing time for pickled cauliflower in a boiling-water canner (processing time out of altitudes).

Processing time at altitues of
Style of pack Jar size 0-1,000 ft. 1,001-6,000 ft. Above 6,000 ft.
Hot Half-pints or pints 10 min. 15 min. 20 min.

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


Information in this bulletin is based on Food Preservation Series — Cauliflower (Michigan State University Extension, June 1990).

Andress, Elizabeth and Juda A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th Edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.

More information

Prepared by: Laurie Messing, MSU Extension educator


Tags: michigan fresh, vegetables


Laurie Messing

Laurie Messing

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