Don’t like cauliflower? Try riced cauliflower. Also known as “cauliflower rice” or “cauliflower couscous”, presumably it was invented in California (or is it “Caulifornia”?) circa 1998 by renowned chef Ben Ford, and it has become a part of internet culture since the early part of the last decade. The number of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals present in cauliflower rice is paired with enormous health benefits related to immunity, cancer prevention, and improved blood pressure, among many others, making it a great substitute for regular rice. If you have kids, it’s a nice way for them to overcome their fear of vegetables. If you know adults who suffer from lachanophobia (yes, there is a genuine fear of vegetables), this dish might make for a nice therapy! People usually make large batches of cauliflower rice, owing to the dexterity it requires to cook it. If you are in this situation, you may be thinking about these questions. Can you freeze riced cauliflower? How long does cauliflower rice last in the fridge? How to cook frozen cauliflower rice?
You can freeze riced cauliflower, and it freezes very well. It’s also a pretty easy process. Just follow the steps I’ll be outlining below to prevent some of the annoying damages that freezers may inflict on food, such as “freezer burn”.
If possible, think about freezing cauliflower rice raw, as it freezes better than when cooked.
First, make sure that the rice is as dry as possible (the amount of water it retains may vary depending on how you shred the cauliflower). Then, divide the rice you prepared into various portions (preferably in single-serving sizes), grab airtight freezer bags or containers and fill them, squeeze any excess air and seal them. You can flatten the rice inside the containers as you fill them to make room for more. Finally, stack them all in the freezer and close the door.
One thing you need to avoid is adding any garnish or spices to the rice before freezing, as they can decrease the quality of the whole rice.
If you freeze riced cauliflower cooked, make sure that the rice cools down before transferring it into the containers or bags, as the vapor it releases can affect the texture of the rice and potentially cause freezer burn. The heat will also temporarily affect the freezer temperature and accidentally thaw the other items inside.
The taste can be slightly affected. Ironically, if you freeze riced cauliflower raw, it can actually become fluffier and more tasteful. Cooked rice cauliflower, for some reason, doesn’t have that same effect, but it’s still enjoyable.
Vegetables don’t tend to react too well to refreezing due to the moisture released during the thawing process and the subsequent formation of ice crystals. It’s not recommended to refreeze cauliflower rice unless you cooked it beforehand.
In the fridge, properly stored, cauliflower rice can last up to 4 days at a temperature of 0º F or lower. After that period, it might not be safe to eat and you should scrap it.
In the freezer, this is when the honeymoon ends, as it only endures 2 months in good quality (much less than your average vegetable). After that time, it will not spoil but it might get a bit distasteful.
Provided that, for some reason, you might want to thaw cauliflower rice, the best way to do it is by pulling the portions from the freezer and let them sit in the fridge overnight, as they won’t be exposed to aggressive bacterial growth at those temperatures.
An alternative to the fridge is cold water. Introduce the containers or bags in cold water, making sure that the water doesn’t leak inside. It should thaw in less time but it requires a bit more effort, as you should change the water every now and then or add ice.
Finally, you can use the famous “defrost” feature included in your microwave. Just make sure to cook it right after, as cauliflower is very attractive to bacteria.
The good thing about riced cauliflower is that you don’t need to wait for it to thaw, making it very practical for emergency meals. Grab and heat a saucepan or skillet, adding some drops of oil and whatever ingredient or seasoning you use to flavor your rice. Next, pull the container out of the freezer and cook frozen cauliflower rice right away. It should thaw in an instant as the moisture evaporates.