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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Freezing Cauliflower

Edited Aug. 5, 2008 - My sincere apologies. It would appear this entry somehow was published partially without the remainder of the entry or pictures. I don't know if this was because of Blogger's recent problems that took this blog and my garden blog down or what caused it. I have corrected the errors for the entry. Enjoy!

I am in the what some would say enviable position of having both chest freezers and the freezer component of the side-by-side almost totally stuffed. There is very little room for anything which is not a desirable position to be in this time of year. There are some good deals on produce and local produce is becoming increasingly available. Some vegetables do not can nicely so freezing or drying are the other options. What I am going to be forced into doing is pulling out every bag of bones and that isn't going to be a lot and can up stocks not a good thing to be doing when the temperatures are soaring!

I stock up on cauliflower when it comes into season. The going price per head for local cauliflower ranges from 69¢ to 99¢ compared with off season prices as high as $2 or more. One large head of cauliflower will yield a bit over a quart of flowerettes. Cauliflower freezes nicely and is very easy to freeze with minimal prep work. It can later be used for cream of cauliflower soup, cheesy cream of cauliflower soup, as a side or as an ingredient. I recommend preparing no more than 5 or 6 large heads of cauliflower at a time because more than that will cause your freezer to work harder until the cauliflower is frozen.

Method: [note: the lemon juice keeps the cauliflower nice and creamy white; it does not affect the flavour of the cauliflower] Choose firm heads of cauliflower (1). Fill the sink with cold water about half way and add 2 tbsp salt. Soak the heads upside down in the salt water for 20 minutes. Remove from water and let drain. Cut the green leaves away from the stem. Break or cut the cauliflower in to flowerettes (2) and place them in a very large bowl. Bring a large stockpot with collander insert filled about half full of water and splash of lemon juice to a boil. At the same time fill the sink with cold water, generous splash of lemon juice and ice about a quart of the way full. Working in batches, place enough cauliflower in the boiling water ensuring all is covered with the water. Blanch 3 minutes (3). Immediately raise the collander out of the pot allowing the cauliflower to briefly drain. Pour into the ice water (4). By the time the next batch is almost blanched the prior batch will be cooled. Spoon it into a collander to drain. When the next batch is in the ice water pour the first batch into a large bowl.

Bagged

Once all of the cauliflower has been blanched, iced and drained I package it into quart vacuum sealer bags. If you look closely you will see my bags differ from the brand name bags in that there is only a channel panel on the back of the bag. This ensures a good vacuum each and every time. I discovered these bags while looking for a cheaper solution to the brand name vacuum bags that cost about 54¢ per bag. I buy these bags online from The Sweet Attack for as low as 28¢ per bag depending on the quantity and size including shipping costs.

When filling the bags it is essential to leave a 4 - inch headspace so they will fit in the vacuum sealer properly. When the bags are filled, fold the tops over and place the bags in the freezer. When the cauliflower is frozen remove from freezer and vacuum seal. Label.

Vacuum Sealed

If you have been following this blog you will know that my preferred and most recommended method for storing foods in the freezer is vacuum sealing. This method is the most cost effective way of ensuring your food dollar investment is protected. The normal storage time in the freezer at 0ºF for vegetables with the exception of onions is 12 months or roughly from one harvest season to the next. After that period of time the vegetables will lose both flavour and nutrition. Vacuum sealing will extend the freezer life by 3 to 4 months which is handy when you froze a bit more than your family could use within a year. Freezer burn may occur at any time during freezer storage. Not only do foods store longer when vacuum sealed that nasty freezer burn is eliminated.


6 food lovers commented:

Mizé said...

Hi. I´m also a cauli flower fan. It´s an ingredient very common in Portugal but it´s only available by seasons. I think they´re not expensive where you live, here the normal price is 2 euros for a medium/big size cauli flower.
It´s a good advice to freeze using vacuo, food last much longer and the investment is worth, although vegetables should be frozen for a maximum 2 months.
Best regards.
Mizé.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi :) I think they are expensive out of season but not as much as your prices. The current USDA recommendation is the length of freezer storage of any vegetable properly blanched and frozen except being onions is 12 when stored at 0ºF but you can extend that with vacuum sealing. HTH

Mizé said...

Hi.
I had read the two months time in my freezer instructions and a couple Portuguese food books, maybe they aren´t accurate as I thought.
Anyway, I only freeze some vegetables because I´m one of those lucky that has a market very near home, but I do like you, I freeze the season vegs and fruits for later. By the way, do you freeze strawberries, and could you guive advise on that?
Thanks.

Garden Gnome said...

A large portion of the vegetables I put up are home canned but some like broccoli and cauliflower don't can well. I only can a few jars of corn too because we prefer the taste of frozen. Anyway, properly packaged you can figure on your vegetables being fine in the freezer for 12 months or season to season. The same goes for fruit.

Yes, I freeze strawberries :) Strawberries are quite easy to prepare for freezing. Wash and hull the berries. Pat dry. Place on a single layer on a sided baking sheet. Freeze until solid. This stops the berries from clumping together. Once froze package into desired freezer bags preferably vacuum sealer bags. Seal.

You can cut the berries in half and add sugar, about 1/2 c per quart of berries. Mix well then pour the mixture into desired bags and seal. If vacuum sealing freeze first before sealing then seal to prevent liquid interfering with sealing.

You can also freeze as a puree with or without sugar to use as an ice cream topping.

Mizé said...

Hi. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I will try to freeze some because here their season is almost ending and we don´t have them in wintertime, only in spring and summer.
I wash many vegetables with water and vinegar, like lettuce, spinach and I use it in strawberries too, I think it´s a good way to properly clean vegetables. Do you use it?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Is there a vacuum food sealer that you recommend? The product reviews are mixed and each seems to come with its negatives.

Thanks.