If you have never tried dehydrating broccoli and cauliflower, you are missing out on a healthy snack and a great way to prolong the lifespan of these vegetables.
But how to dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower? There are a few dehydrating methods you can use. You can dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower in a food dehydrator, in the oven, and in the sun. Aside from dehydrating broccoli and cauliflower florets, you can also dehydrate the stems of these vegetables.
Continue reading to learn why you should dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower and how to do it right. You will also learn how to store the dehydrated florets and how to use them.
The Benefits Of Eating Broccoli And Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are two of the most popular cruciferous vegetables. They are often compared to each other because of the similarities in appearance. Both have bunched florets though the florets on broccoli are spread out.
Broccoli and cauliflower belong to the same Brassica family. And while they belong to different cultivar groups, these cruciferous vegetables have similar health benefits.
- Both are high in fiber. Low in calories, broccoli and cauliflower are great sources of fiber. Incorporating them in your diet helps control blood sugar levels as well as supports heart health.
- Broccoli and cauliflower contain vitamins C, K, B1, B2, B6, and B9. Though broccoli is higher in all these vitamins than cauliflower, especially when it comes to vitamin C and K, both are rich sources of these healthy organic compounds.
- These cruciferous vegetables are packed with a variety of minerals. These include magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
- Broccoli and cauliflower are rich in antioxidants. The high antioxidant content of these vegetables makes them beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body, protecting cells, as well as protecting against certain types of cancer.
Why Should You Dehydrate Broccoli and Cauliflower?
There is a misconception that dehydrated fruits and vegetables are not as healthy as their fresh counterparts.
The truth is, it’s only water that the fruits and vegetables lose during the dehydration process. Dehydrated food contains the same amount of nutrients as the fresh variety.
And what’s good, it retains them much longer as opposed to fresh produce that undergoes deterioration and nutrient content reduction within a few days of refrigeration.
Broccoli and cauliflower don’t have a long shelf. Fresh broccoli lasts 3-5 days and cauliflower up to a week in the fridge.
You can make them last longer if you store the florets in the freezer. But you don’t always have space in the cold storage.
This is why dehydrating broccoli and cauliflower is a great idea. You get the best of both worlds—a longer shelf life and the same amounts of nutrients as with fresh produce.
How To Dehydrate Broccoli And Cauliflower
There are a few methods you can use to dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower. Choose the dehydrating method that works best for you depending on how much time you have and how much effort you are ready to spend on the process.
In The Dehydrator
Dehydrating broccoli and cauliflower in a dehydrator is easy. While it takes multiple hours, the process doesn’t require attendance. You only need to spend time on prepping the vegetables. The dehydrator will do the rest for you.
- Start with washing the broccoli and the cauliflower. Wash them under running water. You may need to scrub the cauliflower with a vegetable brush if it’s too dirty
- Trim the florets. Make sure you are getting uniform bunches of both vegetables. This will ensure even dehydration.
- As an extra preparation step, you can soak the florets in salt water for 5-10 minutes. Doing this removes any eggs and unwanted sources of protein that may be hidden in the florets. Rinse the florets when you remove them from the saltwater.
- The next step is blanching the vegetable. You may skip blanching the broccoli. But we recommend you do as it makes the green florets brighter and more brittle when dehydrated. Blanch the broccoli and cauliflower florets in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the florets from boiling water and submerge them immediately into cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Let the florets dry on paper towels.
- Once dry, arrange the broccoli florets on one dehydrator tray and the cauliflower florets on another. Don’t mix them up as these two vegetables may require a slightly different dehydration time. Make sure the florets are not overlapping.
- Set your dehydrator to 140°F. Let the broccoli and cauliflower florets sit in the dehydrator for 8-12 hours. Check on the florets every four hours. Make sure to check one broccoli and one cauliflower floret each time.
- Remove the florets from the dehydrator when they are dry and crispy like a potato chip.
In The Oven
You don’t need a dehydrator to dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower. A regular oven is just as good at doing it. Here’s how to dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower in the oven.
- Wash the broccoli and cauliflower as described above and cut them into uniform florets.
- Blanch the broccoli and cauliflower florets in boiling water for 5 minutes and cool them instantly in a bowl filled with ice water.
- Let the florets dry on paper towels.
- Arrange the florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Set your oven to 140-150°F or the Warm setting if it has one.
- Leave the oven door open halfway to provide air circulation.
- Let the florets dry for around 12 hours or until the florets completely dry out. If the pieces are on the bigger side, flip them halfway through the dehydration time.
- Check on the broccoli and cauliflower florets every 4 hours or more often and take them out when there is no moisture left in the florets.
In The Sun
If you don’t have a dehydrator and don’t want to keep your oven busy for so many hours, there is another great option for dehydrating these healthy vegetables. You can sun-dry them! And here’s how.
- Wash the broccoli and cauliflower heads and cut out uniform florets.
- Blanch the florets for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, transfer them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Let the florets dry on paper towels.
- Once dry, arrange the broccoli and cauliflower florets on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You can also use a drying tray lined with a clean dry cloth. Make sure the florets are not crowded and there is space between them.
- Put the tray outside under direct sunlight. It may take the broccoli and cauliflower florets up to 5 days to dry out completely. Bring the trays inside at night or when it’s raining.
- Flip the florets from time to time to make sure they dehydrate evenly.
- Collect and store the dehydrated florets in airtight containers when they are fully dry and there is no moisture left in them.
How To Dehydrate Broccoli And Cauliflower Stems
So, now you know how to dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower florets using a few different methods. But what should you do with the stems? Dehydrate them too!
Both broccoli and cauliflower stems are just as healthy and nutritious as the florets. But as they are thicker and plumper, they don’t dehydrate well alongside the delicate florets.
To dehydrate broccoli and cauliflower florets first wash and blanch them. Then cut into bite-size pieces and arrange on the dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at 125°F for 8-12 hours or until the stems are fully dry and crispy.
Once fully dry, let the dehydrated stems cool before your store them away.
How Long Do Dehydrated Broccoli And Cauliflower Last?
As we have mentioned earlier in this article, the shelf life of fresh broccoli and cauliflower is only a few days.
Once dehydrated, these vegetables can last 12-24 months. But this is if you store them properly.
You should keep the dehydrated broccoli and cauliflower in airtight containers, making sure to close the lid tightly after each use. Keep the containers in a dark and cool place, away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations.
The texture and flavor of the dehydrated vegetables will start deteriorating over time. But you have more than a year until that happens.
How To Use Dehydrated Broccoli And Cauliflower
You can eat dehydrated broccoli and cauliflower as is as a part of your meal. They also make a great low-calorie high-fiber snack for when you need to have a little something to keep you going until the next meal of the day.
Dehydrated broccoli and cauliflower can go right into soups, stews, and casseroles. The contact with liquids will rehydrate the dried florets and bring them back to life.
Having dehydrated vegetables at hand also cuts down the preparation time of the dishes.