If you’re meal planning and wondering “how long does cauliflower last?” or doing meal prep at the beginning of the week and want to know “how long does cooked cauliflower last?”, you’re in the right place!
Or maybe when you go grocery shopping you want to know the right amount of cauliflower to get.
Or, while cooking dinner last night, you realized that you aren’t exactly sure how long your cauliflower will last if you don’t cook it right away, or how long you can keep the leftovers until they go bad.
Keep reading if you’ve wasted cauliflower because you didn’t know how long it would last and want to learn more about keeping it good as long as possible!
No one wants to waste food or accidentally eat something that has gone bad, right!?
But did you know that every year approximately 108 billion pounds of food is wasted according to Feeding America?
That is more than $161 billion worth of food and 30-40 percent of the entire food supply! A lot of this waste occurs right with the consumer because their food unknowingly went bad.
How long does cauliflower last?
Depending on where and how you choose to store your cauliflower and whether it is raw or cooked, cauliflower can last anywhere between a few days to 3 weeks!
It all starts with when you buy it. When you go to pick out your cauliflower, make sure you grab a head that is as fresh as possible. Check to see that it is firm, free of blemishes, and is a creamy white color.
After buying it, decide whether you plan to store it in the fridge and whether you’re storing it before or after it has been cooked. After deciding that, then you’ll have a more sure idea of how long your cauliflower will be good for!
We’re going to go into the specifics about how long cauliflower lasts in the fridge, how to tell when cauliflower is bad, how long cauliflower lasts in the freezer, and ways to store your cauliflower.
You’ll never have to wonder how to know if cauliflower is bad or how you should store it after reading this info!
How long does cauliflower last in the fridge?
Cauliflower will last up to 3 weeks in the fridge, depending on how you store it.
Cauliflower can still go bad in the fridge, but refrigerating it vs leaving it at room temperature makes a huge difference! At room temperature, cauliflower will go bad within a few days. So all in all, the fridge is a great place to keep your cauliflower lasting long!
See this handy list of other long storage vegetables and fruits.
How long does uncooked cauliflower last in the fridge?
Uncooked cauliflower can stay fresh up to 3 weeks until it starts to go bad. This is quite a bit longer than how long cooked cauliflower lasts.
The best option to store cauliflower is to place a whole head of raw cauliflower florets in a resealable bag and wrap it with a damp paper towel. That should help it last 2-3 weeks.
Make sure it’s just damp and not soaking wet, or else this won’t really benefit the cauliflower! Cauliflowers prefer cool, damp conditions, just like inside of a fridge.
Wash the uncooked cauliflower just before you use it to keep it fresh for longer than if you wash it then store it.
How long does cooked cauliflower last?
Cooked cauliflower tends to last about 3-5 days in the fridge. This is the same amount of time as any other cooked vegetable.
Make sure you are storing the cauliflower in the fridge in an airtight bag or container to prevent moisture loss and cross contamination.
Cooked cauliflower will have about 2 hours at room temperature before bacteria starts to grow on it so it’s best to refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible.
Can fresh cauliflower go bad?
Yes, fresh cauliflower can go bad! Just like every other vegetable, fresh cauliflower does have a time limit on it. However, when you refrigerate fresh cauliflower in a plastic bag it can stay good for up to 3 weeks.
Although it may be second nature for you to wash vegetables once you get them home from the grocery store, cauliflower will stay fresh longer if you wash it right before you are ready to use it.
How to tell if cauliflower is bad
Sadly, cauliflower is bound to go bad at some point, even if you do everything to preserve it as long as possible. But how can you really know when it has gone bad?
There are a few pathogens that grow on vegetables that are called ‘opportunistic pathogens’ which can contaminate produce at any point between production to consumption. If you wound up eating these pathogens, you could get food poisoning or diarrhea.
So how to know if cauliflower is bad?
If the cauliflower is firm but has a little bit of yellow, brown, or grey spots of discoloration or mold, , it is safe to cut the bad spots off of and eat the remaining good parts.
In this case, be sure to use a knife and cut at least an inch around where the mold is. It is important to keep the knife completely out of where the mold actually is so that the knife does not cross contaminate with other parts of the cauliflower.
If the bad spots take up the majority of it, you should just discard the whole thing.
If the cauliflower is slightly soft but has no mold or mushy spots, it is still ok to eat. It’s simply dehydrated! You can partially rehydrate the cauliflower by soaking it in cold water, or simply cook the cauliflower as is.
If the cauliflower is very soft and has mold spots, you should discard the entire thing completely. In this case, it is likely contaminated below the surface and isn’t salvageable.
If the cauliflower is mushy, slimy, or smells off it’s completely no good!
Use this information and your own judgement to determine if your cauliflower has gone bad or not. And of course, don’t try to taste it first if it seems questionable!
If you’re still not sure, see this USDA information about when it’s ok to use moldy food or not.
How long does cauliflower rice last?
Cauliflower rice is simply grated cauliflower. Cauliflower rice lasts from 1-4 days, depending on whether it is cooked or raw.
Raw cauliflower rice will last 1-2 days in the fridge. After that, it will start to develop an unpleasant smell and not be good to eat anymore. To prevent this, you should either cook or freeze the riced cauliflower before that happens.
Cooked cauliflower rice should last up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
How long does cauliflower last in the freezer?
Cauliflower can last up to 10-12 months in the freezer and still remain at its best quality. The trick is to keep it in an airtight bag or container.
If you buy in bulk and want to use your food at a much later time, that’s where using a freezer comes in handy.
Even beyond the 10-12 months, cauliflower will still be safe to eat, but may lose quality due to freezer burn.
To preserve your own cauliflower in the freezer, simply trim off the leaves, cut the head into a few pieces, then soak it in salt and water for 30 minutes. After draining it, pack it into an air tight bag and freeze it. This article has more details about how to freeze your own cauliflower.
Now you know all about how long is cauliflower good for, how to tell if cauliflower is bad, how long does cooked cauliflower last, and even how long does cauliflower rice last.
Remember to store it properly to optimize how long it will stay good for!
Author Bio: Emily Cafarella is a 4th year undergraduate student at Stony Brook University studying Health Science in pursuit of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She’s passionate about fueling your body with nutrients and movement to create a sustainable and balanced lifestyle. She hopes to open up a private practice in the future and further promote and spread awareness about health and wellness to others.
Connect with Emily on LinkedIn or on her website
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