Learn how to easily trim, core, and cut whole heads of cauliflower in this easy to follow cooking guide! We'll cover everything you need to know about trimming and cutting cauliflower a couple different ways depending on what your recipe calls for!
We'll also give you a few recipe suggestions at the end.
How to trim & core cauliflower
Just like most other vegetables, cauliflower first needs to be trimmed and cleaned a little before being ready to use in the kitchen.
If you purchased your cauliflower at the grocery store, it most likely has been trimmed to some extent and most of the leaves and stem have probably already been removed for you.
You'll still want to remove any remaining leaves though and cut out the tough core, depending on what your recipe requires.
Start by pulling the cauliflower leaves downward away from the head of cauliflower, until they snap and break off the stem.
After removing the leaves, the easiest way to remove the core is to cut the cauliflower head in half, and then cut the large clumps or florets of cauliflower away from the stem.
Pro tip: After removing the leaves and core, I do a quick visual check to see if there are any pests hiding in amongst the florets. This is especially important with homegrown cauliflower or produce purchased at small farm stands.
Using the cauliflower leaves and the core
Did you know that while the cauliflower leaves and core are often thrown out, they are perfectly edible and even nutritious!?
If grown at home, save the large cauliflower leaves that have wrapped around the head! They are often used in Asian cuisine, are delicious and nutritious as well!
Cauliflower leaves are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, they contain folate, as well as calcium, potassium and selenium! It's an easy way to make the most of your groceries and reduce food waste!
They are quite similar to cabbage leaves and can be eaten raw or cooked. A fellow Canadian food blogger, Sean, has a delicious recipe for Japanese simmered cauliflower leaves you can try here!
You can save the core for vegetable stock, cut it into chunks and roast it, or use it as filler when making puree soups.
How to cut cauliflower florets
Once the cauliflower leaves and core have been removed you can easily cut the large cauliflower chunks into small florets.
You can also break these florets apart with your hands instead of using a knife, which can be helpful if you are cooking with children!
Small cauliflower florets are delicious pan fried or roasted and served as a side dish! They can be used in preserves such as these PEI mustard pickles, or eaten raw as a healthy snack along with some hummus!
How to cut cauliflower steaks
If you want to cut your cauliflower into thick, steak like slices,(which are perfect for roasting!) do not remove the core after trimming off all the leaves.
Simply set the whole head of cauliflower flat on your cutting board and trim off about 1-1 ½ inches on the sides. This leaves the core intact to hold the cauliflower steaks together.
Next cut the remaining cauliflower into two or three thick, steak like slices, making sure not to break apart any of the florets. Use the
The cauliflower that was trimmed from the sides can be used how ever you like, or even frozen and used in future recipes.
How to store cut cauliflower
Now that you know how to cut a cauliflower several different ways, what do you do if you have leftover cauliflower you don't need right away?
Easy! Simple store the raw, cut cauliflower in an air tight, food safe container or bag in the fridge. The raw, cut cauliflower should last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before beginning to dry out and potentially grow mold.
Note: You may notice little black dots start to appear on the cauliflower after a few days. This happens due to oxidation, and does not mean your cauliflower has gone bad, (unless it is fuzzy mold of course!)
If there are very few black dots, simply trim them away before using the cauliflower.
You can also freeze your cut cauliflower for 3 to 4 months! To use, simply thaw and cook as directed in your recipe. Note that frozen and thawed cauliflower will not stay crunchy after thawing and will release water as most frozen vegetables do when frozen and thawed.
Now that you know how to easily trim, core, and cut cauliflower a couple different ways, here are a few recipes that use cauliflower for you to try out!
How To Cut Cauliflower
- 1 large head cauliflower
- Begin by removing any leaves that may be attached to the cauliflower stem. This is easily done by bending the leaf backwards at the stem base until it snaps off.
- Remove the core (or stem) by cutting the cauliflower head in half. Then cut the individual florets away from the stem.
- Cut or break the cauliflower chunks into large or bite sized florets.
- If you'd like to cut the cauliflower into steak like slices, skip steps 2 and 3 above. Instead trim the sides of the cauliflower, then cut the head into thick slices, leaving the core intact to hold the slice together.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
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