Cauliflower is a great tasting vegetable, and a staple of many households. It’s an extremely healthy food too! Cauliflower comes in many different colors, but most people will at least be familiar with white cauliflower heads.
It can be a tricky plant to grow, but once you’ve got yours going, you’ll likely be looking forward to the day that you can harvest it!
It’s a descendent of wild cabbage, and grows somewhat similarly – in tight bunches, surrounded by leaves. Some cauliflower can be really beautiful, with extremely bright colors, and sometimes even fractal patterns!
Well, this guide will teach you how to tell when your cauliflower is ready to harvest, when to pick it, and many other useful things about this wonderful plant! Read on to find out more!
When To Pick
Cauliflower can be picked at any time of the year. The right time to pick cauliflower really depends on when it’s been planted. Of course, your cauliflower may grow more quickly or slowly depending on what type of cauliflower you’re growing, and the exact growing conditions.
Therefore, you should learn how to see when your cauliflower is ready! Don’t worry – this guide will help you!
Usually, you can expect your cauliflower plants to be ready for harvesting from anytime between 50 to 100 days. As you know, that’s quite a long difference – nearly 2 months! This is why it’s important to be able to tell visually whether your cauliflower is ready.
When Is My Cauliflower Ready?
You can tell when your cauliflower is ready by its appearance quite easily! Simply look at the cauliflower head. When it’s a nice tight, firm head of a decent size – it’s a good sign that it’s ready.
Take care not to leave your cauliflower too long before harvesting. While the head is nice and tight, it’s fine to harvest and will taste great to eat – but when it starts to separate, it’s a sign that it’s likely to taste bitter. If you’ve got a white cauliflower, you should definitely make sure to harvest before the head turns yellow.
Your cauliflower should usually be at least 8 inches in diameter before you pick it. When your cauliflower is about the size of a tennis ball, you can blanch it – read on for more details about that!
The head of a white cauliflower can turn yellow, and become bitter tasting due to overexposure to sunlight. Blanching a cauliflower is a way to stop this from happening, but shielding the cauliflower head from the sun. This usually
Blanched cauliflowers have usually had three or four leaves of the plant wrapped around the head, and tied loosely. You can of course use other things to cover them, but leaves are a quick, simple, and traditional way of blanching cauliflower.
Once the cauliflower has been blanched, the sun won’t be able to yellow the head. The cauliflower will continue to grow – and they can grow pretty quickly! Under the best conditions, they can be ready to harvest within just a week or two of blanching.
Make sure to pay attention to how the cauliflower is developing – you don’t want to wait too long to pick it! Make sure to harvest the cauliflower before it begins to separate. This will ensure the best tasting cauliflower!
How To Pick Cauliflower
First of all – of course – make sure that the cauliflower you’re harvesting is ready! Leave any that aren’t until they’ve fully matured.
You’ll need a sharp knife to cut the heads away from the rest of the plant. Take your knife and cut the head off at the base of the plant. Cut the head away at around a 45 degree angle. To make it easier to prepare your cauliflower, you can leave about 6 inches of stalk with the head.
After this, you can remove any remaining leaves from the plant. These can be used for compost, and can also be cooked with. They can be used as a great side! Removing the leaves also helps the cauliflower to produce new growth – which you can continue to harvest after removing the head.
After you’ve picked your cauliflower, trim the stalk and then remove any leaves from the head. Wash the head with cold water to remove any soil or dirt.
Then, you can soak the head in salt water for about half an hour – making sure that any cabbageworms are evicted! Then, leave the cauliflower on a towel or cloth to air dry. This shouldn’t take long! Don’t store your cauliflower when still wet, as this can let bacteria and mold grow very easily.
Once your cauliflower is dry, it’s ready for whatever you want to do, whether cooking or storing!
After your cauliflower head has been cut and harvested, the plant isn’t quite done yet! It will actually continue to grow leaves and smaller florets that you can harvest. You should harvest these when they grow – just cut the florets a few inches from the top!
You should be able to expect florets for a few weeks after harvesting the head.
After you’ve harvested, washed, and dried your cauliflower, you can cook it, of course – or store it for later use.
If you want to keep it ready to use for up to a week after harvesting, place it inside a clean plastic bag and put it in your refrigerator. Your cauliflower will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week, but will probably be at its best for up to 4 days.
If you need to store your cauliflower for longer, then you can freeze it easily! Again, put the cauliflower head inside a plastic bag, and simply place it in the freezer!
This is a great way to save cauliflower for a long time. You can easily cut your cauliflower up into smaller pieces for storage too – making the cauliflower easier to store!
To thaw your cauliflower out after freezing, simply remove it from the freezer and leave it at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Cauliflower is a wonderful vegetable! It’s easy to harvest, easy to cook, and easy to store both short and long term!