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Updated: Jan 11

Are you planting cauliflower this year in your garden?

Do you have a plan for your harvest?


Then you are in the right spot!

Today in this blog post I am going to share with you the 5 steps I follow to plan beyond the harvest with cauliflower! Don’t worry it is very easy but beware it might make you a little hungry looking at all of the scrumptious recipes.

One of our greatest mistakes as gardeners is not to plan for the harvest. You know how many Cauliflower plants you are going to plant and you might know your estimated date to when you will need to harvest. But do you know exactly what you are going to do with all of that Cauliflower? Eat It? Freeze It? Cook It? Or do you know exactly when to pick that Cauliflower at its peak?

The Five Steps to Planning Beyond the Harvest

  1. Schedule Your Harvest Dates

  2. Learn to pick at peak and how to harvest

  3. Research ways to Preserve your harvest

  4. Find Recipes to get your harvest from your garden to your table

  5. Add Recipes to Your Meal Planner

To learn more about why each of these steps in my 5 step process of Planning Beyond the Harvest be sure to check out this post.*

Let’s get to it!

Benefits of Growing Cauliflower

The benefits of eating cauliflower are endless. But a few would be that it can help fight cancer, reduce inflammation, help with digestion, and aid heart health! Its levels of B9 or folate can help with pregnancy health and increase a woman's fertility when trying to conceive. It can help with weight loss as it is very low in calories but is packed with nutrition.

It is best grown in rich soil and started in late winter indoors and grown until mid-spring when it can be transplanted into your garden as the cool weather gives it a sweeter taste.

When Do I Harvest Your Cauliflower

Cauliflower flowers are ready to harvest when they reach 6 to 9 inches in diameter and the blooms are still compact and firm. Size is less of a determining factor because you should harvest quickly if the bloom begins to loosen no matter the head size. If the head has a coarse texture the plant is over mature. If this happens be sure to just consume fresh as the head may not preserve well.

Another factor in harvesting or preparing your cauliflower for harvesting is blanching. This is when you fold the leaves of the cauliflower plant back over the flower head so that it is blocked from the sun. This helps keep the head that beautiful white color. This is done two to three weeks before harvesting or when the head is about 3 inches in diameter.

Another part of knowing when you should harvest is knowing your estimated harvest dates. You can easily find the days to harvest days on the back of your seed packet and add that number to the date that your cauliflower germinated to get the estimated harvest date.

For example, if I start my cauliflower on March 20th, 2021 I should be watching for signs of harvest around 80 days later on June 8th, 2021. To learn more about making a garden plan that can help you plan beyond the harvest you can grab the “Planning Beyond the Harvest Handbook”

How To Harvest Your Cauliflower

To harvest your cauliflower you will need a bowl or basket and a sharp knife. Using a knife, cut the stem of the head about 2 inches from the base of the head. This will cut the head free from the plant. Most cauliflowers will not regrow. But I have found that leaves can be pruned at the stock and used in recipes that call for cabbage leaves or collard greens.

How To Preserve and Store Your Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be preserved and eaten in quite a few different ways. I will show them all below along with a few favorite recipes we like to use here at Red Ridge Farm.

I do have a disclaimer when it comes to preserving food. You should follow your canning books guidelines to the letter as these methods have been used for hundreds of years and they know what they are doing. I in fact will be sharing the instructions I follow out of my Ball Canning Book. And I suggest you do the same or find another reputable source.

How to Store and Cook Fresh Cauliflower

Properly stored cauliflower will last between 2 to 5 days as a head but cauliflower that has been cut up may only last a day. You may think that cauliflower would do best in a plastic bag but that is the farthest from the truth. Here are two proper ways to store fresh cauliflower in your fridge:

  • Paper Towel Method- wrap your cauliflower heads in a damp paper towel. This provides a moist but not too moist environment. Do avoid washing your cauliflower until you intend to use it. Because too much moisture locked in among the florets will cause mold to grow.

  • Bouquet Method- this is where you treat your cauliflower like a fresh bouquet of flowers. Place the stem ends of the cauliflower heads in a cup or bowl of water until the tips are fully submerged. Be sure to change the water daily.

  • Before cooking you will need to wash cauliflower very thoroughly. To help remove any insects it is best to soak cauliflower heads in a saltwater brine for 30 minutes. The brine should have a ratio of 1 cup of salt to a gallon of water. Drain and rinse with water to finish the job.

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is great roasted. As it can be flavored in many different ways I am just going to share the basic recipe for roasting cauliflower below. And you use what herbs and seasonings you enjoy. I have made both Italian and Mexican roasted cauliflower, it just depends on your seasonings!

One head of Cauliflower

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Cut the head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Be sure to cut leaving lots of flat edges as this will help the florets make contact with the pan to get a more even cook! Next spread your cut-up cauliflower florets onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Be sure to give the florets lots of space to give them room to release steam without overcooking their neighbor. Sprinkle with olive oil over the florets coating them. Place the pans in a 425-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Be sure to flip the florets over at 15 minutes and watch closely at the end to be sure that you don’t overcook the tips. The cauliflower is done when they are a golden color and fork-tender.

How To Store and Cook Frozen Cauliflower

Now if you would like to store cauliflower for a little longer, there are two ways. The first being freezing. To freeze cauliflower you must:

  • Select tender firm cauliflower stalks with firm heads that are washed and any woody portions removed.

  • Wash by using the method above and cut into manageable sizes. Think about how you plan to use this cauliflower in your favorite recipes and cut accordingly.

  • Blanch medium portions for 3 minutes and large portions for 4 minutes.

  • Drain and let Cool

  • Pack into freezer jars or plastic bags. Be sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.

  • Label and freeze

  • They will last if sealed correctly up to 12 months in your freezer

Cast Iron Ham and Veggie Bake

1 16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower

1 16 oz bag of frozen broccoli

2 tsp of butter for toasting bread crumbs

¼ cup bread crumbs

¼ tsp parley

¼ tsp oregano

2 Tbsp butter for the roux

2 Tbsp flour

1 ½ cup milk

¾ cup shredded cheese

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 slice of cook ham steak, cut into bite-size pieces

Follow the above recipe for roasting cauliflower and roast the thawed cauliflower and broccoli until done. Meanwhile, warm a large cast-iron pan on medium heat. Melt the butter for toasting the bread crumbs. When melted at the bread crumbs, parsley, and oregano to the pan. Stir and fry until the bread crumbs are slightly toasted. Remove breadcrumbs from the pan into a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stove and on medium heat melt the butter for the roux. Once melted add flour. Stir until warmed through and creamy. Slowly and the milk as you stir. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, cook, and stir until thickened into a roux. Remove from heat, add both cheeses, stir until melted. Add the ham, cauliflower, and broccoli to the pan and stir all ingredients together. Sprinkle with the toasted bread crumb and bake in the 425-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bake is heated through.

How To Cook Canned Cauliflower

The second long-term storage for cauliflower is pressure canning. I want to say again it is important to follow your canning books instructions because they know what they are talking about. The below instructions are from my Ball Blue Book! To pressure can cauliflower you must:

  • Remove any large stems or leaves. Wash as instructed above in a brine. Rinse thoroughly

  • Cut into pieces that will fit in your jar and blanch for 4 minutes

  • Pack into your clean jars and top with 1 teaspoon salt for quart jars and ½ tsp salt for pint jars

  • Fill the jar with blanching water to within ½ inch of the top of the jar

  • Seal with the lid and band

  • Process in a pressure canner: Quarts 40 minutes and Pints 25 in 10 lbs of pressure or follow the instruction that came with your pressure canner.

Cauliflower Crust for Pizza

1 quart of cauliflower, drained

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 egg

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the drained cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until grated. Remove grated cauliflower from the food processor and place it in a medium bowl. Stir in the egg and cheese to form the pizza dough. Next, drizzle some olive oil on a baking dish and coat the pan. Place the dough in the center of your greased pan and spread it out with your fingers into a circular pizza shape. Pinch up the edges to form a lip to your crust. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. The crust is now ready for your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and toppings. Once topped, place back in the oven until the cheese is melted or for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Now the last step is to add these recipes and more like them to your menu plan. I got you started, have fun planning!

Have a blessed day,


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