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How to Cut a Cauliflower into Florets and Steaks

Are you tired of making a big, crumbly mess each time with a cauliflower? The big, thick head full of florets bound by its core seems almost impossible to cut into without making a clutter of white crumbles all over the counter top.

However, rest assured that it’s quite possible. Read on and learn how to cut a cauliflower including coring as well as cutting into steaks and florets. Moreover, make delicious recipes from this versatile, low carb veggie and savour its rich, nutty and crunchy flavours this winter season.

To cut a cauliflower, start by removing the leaves from its base using a sharp knife. Then, cut the cauliflower into quarters and remove the stem from each quarter. You can then easily remove the florets by hand. If you want to make cauliflower steaks, cut the cauliflower in half and then slice each half into ¾ inch slices.

Don’t worry if it still sounds confusing, this 10 minute read will definitely help you become a pro in how to cut a cauliflower and all things related!

How to pick a cauliflower?

Here are some of the things to look out for when picking cauliflowers at the supermarket:

  • Look for cauliflowers with bright, white heads. Make sure there are no brown spots which are an indicator of sunburn or that the vegetable is old. When cooked, these brown bits impart a bitter flavour.
  • Also, make sure that the head of the cauliflower feels heavy for its size and contains florets and leaves that are tightly packed.
  • Do not pick soft cauliflowers as they are a sign that the vegetable has started to spoil.


Washing the cauliflower

You need to wash vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli carefully. They have a lot of crevices that are ideal hiding places for bacteria, dirt and germs. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Fill in your sink with cold water.
  2. Soak the cauliflower completely in the cold water for a few minutes.
  3. As an additional step, add one part vinegar to three parts of the cold water before you submerge the vegetable to let germs and debris come out.
  4. After soaking, lift the vegetable out and put in a colander.
  5. Rinse under cold water once more.

How to cut the cauliflower in florets

Step 1. Remove leaves and excess stem

The first step in cutting a cauliflower into florets requires removing the leaves from the base of the vegetable. You may use your hands for this task. However, if they are really tough, you may also use a knife to chop them off.

After you are done removing the cauliflower leaves, you may notice that the stem is sticking out. Remove this excess stem. To do this, simply slice it close to the base of the cauliflower.

Remember, the leaves are an edible part of the cauliflower. Instead of throwing them away, you may want to use them in salads or soups, roast them, stir fry or even steam them for eating.

Step 2. Cut into quarters

Cut cauliflower into quarters

The next step involves placing the cauliflower head onto the cutting board stem side up or down, whichever provides more stability. Use your non-dominant hand to firmly grasp the vegetable. Next, use a sharp chef knife with the dominant hand to cut the cauliflower into halves, all the way from the crown to the stem or vice versa.

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True cutting power in the palm of your hand

Step 3.  Core the stem

Core the cauliflower stem

Now that you have four pieces of cauliflower head, you must begin to core the stem from each quarter. Position each quarter, stem side down, on the cutting board. Use a paring knife and hold it at an angle of 45 degrees as you begin to cut off the stems from the quarters.

Step 4. Separate the cauliflower florets

Separate the cauliflower florets

This is the last step of how to cut a cauliflower into florets. In this step, all you have to do is use your bare hands to separate the cauliflower florets from its bunch.

If you feel that the florets are larger than they should be, cut those florets into 2 or 3 pieces to attain uniform sizes. The picture below is what you’ll get for a bowl of cauliflower florets.

Cauliflower florets in a bowl

How to cut cauliflower into steaks

Step 1. Remove the leaves

The first step for creating cauliflower steaks is to remove the leaves either by hand or using a knife to chop them off. For creating steaks, the core must be left intact so do not mess with the core. This is because it holds the cauliflower steaks together.

Step 2. Create a flat edge

Create a flat edge for cauliflower steaks

For cutting a cauliflower into steaks, begin by placing the cauliflower onto the cutting board. Next, use your sharp knife to cut off excess stem to create a flat edge.

Step 3. Create cauliflower slices

Create cauliflower slices

Now that you have a flat edge to begin with, start slicing your cauliflower. Slices should approximately range from ¾ to 1 inches in thickness in order to avoid them crumbling or breaking during cooking.

As a rule of thumb, small cauliflowers yield 2 steaks of the recommended thickness while those that are medium to large yield 3 or 4.

You may notice that the end pieces of your steaks are prone to breakage. This is because there is hardly any core to keep them together. You may push some of them together so that they replicate another steak.

Cauliflower steaks oiled and seasoned

Health benefits of cauliflower

There are a number of health benefits of cauliflower which makes it a delicious, yet healthy vegetable to devour. We have outlined a few health benefits for you:

  • The vegetable is rich in fiber, which in turn helps in promoting digestive health and lowers the risk of several chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases. Since the vegetable keeps you full, it helps in calorie intake reduction and prevents obesity as well.
  • Cauliflower is also found to be rich in antioxidants. These help in reducing body inflammation as well as help protect against chronic diseases as well.

How to store cauliflower

Storing a cauliflower is not a hassle. Just make sure you store it right in order to keep it from spoiling. The first thing you have to do is ensure that you don’t wash the vegetable prior to storing it. This is because moisture leads to discoloration and even spoilage.

In the fridge

Moreover, it is important to note here that these vegetables need air circulation. For this reason, when you store it in the fridge, make sure that the plastic bag is either perforated or loosely closed such that air can circulate.

Once done, store your cauliflower in the crisper drawer of your fridge. The stem-end of the cauliflower should be kept up so that condensation can be prevented from forming on the head.

When you store it this way, your cauliflower will last about 3 to five days.

In the freezer

If you’ve cut your cauliflower, you must store it in the freezer. Storing in the freezer calls for a few additional steps:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets or steaks.
  2. Blanch the vegetable for two to three minutes in hot boiling water.
  3. Immerse in a cold ice water bath.
  4. Drain properly.
  5. Place the cut pieces on to a sheet pan and store it in the freezer.
  6. Once frozen, transfer them to a sealed frozen bag.

When you store your cauliflower like this, it will last you about a year at most.

Cauliflower recipe

Finally, we have rounded up some of the best cauliflower recipes for you to try:

Cauliflower fried rice

cauliflower fried rice

Who knew cauliflowers could be such versatile veggies? The great thing about this dish is that it replaces half of the amount of rice with minced cauliflower, but tastes just as great! Sautéed with sesame oil, eggs and vegetables, this hearty recipe is a must try this winter season!

Cheesy cauliflower pizza crust

cauliflower pizza crust vegetable pizza

Did you know that you could also use these wonder veggies as a substitute for pizza crust? Well, now you do. A little experimenting never hurt anyone and this recipe is a must try for those who crave pizza but don’t want to pack on the pounds.


How do you know when cauliflower is about to spoil?

You probably need to toss your cauliflower away if it starts to smell bad, has dark brown to black spots, or if the curds have turned moist and mushy.

Can I cut and eat cauliflowers that have pale brown spots?

You may still eat a cauliflower that has brown spots. Use a sharp knife to simply trim the brown or yellow spotting and use the rest.

How to cut a cauliflower without making a mess?

Some parts of the cauliflower are bound to fall off when cutting it. The trick is to use a larger chopping board and a sharp chef knife. Moreover, you can use the leftover pieces and roast them.

Alas, you have mastered the art of cutting a cauliflower. Now that you have the right tools, guidance, as well as recipes to try on hand, get on with some cauliflower chopping right away!

From the shop

HDMD™ - Serbian Chef Knife

HDMD™ - Utility Chef Knife

HDMD™ - Hand Forged Chef Knife

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