Cauliflower rice is one of the most popular ways to prepare and consume this vegetable, which, according to WebMD, is brimming with health benefits. Yet with premade options carrying hefty price tags, one can’t help but wonder: is it cheaper to make cauliflower rice at home?
It is cheaper to make your cauliflower rice at home rather than buying it pre-made or in a restaurant. Making it at home requires minimal ingredients and equipment and lacks packaging expenses.
If you love cauliflower rice but are looking to save money, preparing your own is the best way to do that. This article will go over the hows and whys of making your own cauliflower rice.
Why Is Cauliflower Rice Expensive?
When talking about the price of store-bought cauliflower rice, we have to take a broader look at the market. When we do, we can see that cauliflower products, in general, are sold at a higher premium than many other boxed or frozen vegetables.
Cauliflower rice is expensive because prepared foods are more expensive than raw foods. This is because companies must factor other costs into the final price, such as marketing and packaging. Another reason for its high price is the supply and demand for cauliflower.
The USDA Economic Research Service has tracked cauliflower sales in the United States between 1919 and 2020. They attribute its most recent surge in popularity to a renewed interest in low-carb diets, such as keto.
With cauliflower in the spotlight, it’s only natural that companies would want to make more of a profit. However, there’s more going into the price than simply wanting to make money.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center notes that cauliflower “is extremely sensitive to unfavorable conditions, such as unusually hot weather, drought or too low temperature, which often result in the formation of premature heads or curds.”
While the United States can grow vast amounts of the crop, increasing severe weather events can significantly reduce yields in the states that do (with California producing the most by far).
And it’s not just domestically grown cauliflower, either. According to the NZ Herald, New Zealand is currently experiencing a shortage due to bad weather.
How To Make Cauliflower Rice
If you love cauliflower rice, there’s good news: making it is straightforward. So simple that you probably have everything you need already.
Some people see “rice” in the name and assume that the preparation is super involved. However, cauliflower rice is just finely chopped cauliflower.
The key is to keep chopping until the pieces are fine. You can also use a vegetable grater if you prefer.
A food processor is ideal for getting consistently-sized pieces. The Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus (available on Amazon.com) is the home kitchen standard.
You can use every part of the cauliflower when making rice, so there’s no waste.
Cooking Cauliflower Rice
Once you’ve prepared your cauliflower rice, cooking is just as easy. To get nicely browned rice, add a little oil to a pan and cook it for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
There are other cooking methods for cauliflower rice, but this one gives you the greatest level of control without constantly checking it or worrying about overcooking.
Should Cauliflower Rice Be Soggy?
Cauliflower shouldn’t be soggy, as that’s a sign it’s overcooked. When cooked properly, cauliflower rice should be tender. Sogginess may be fine for cauliflower mash, but it puts a damper on a rice substitute.
When cooking in a pan, it’s important to remember that cauliflower will absorb some of the cooking liquid. So, one way to limit sogginess is to reduce how much oil you’re using.
Another alternative is to roast your rice cauliflower in the oven. Add the rice and some cooking oil to a baking sheet and cook at 350 °F (177 °C) until it turns golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Do I Need To Squeeze the Liquid Out Before Cooking Cauliflower Rice?
Recipes that use chopped or processed cauliflower often call for you to squeeze the liquid out of the pieces with a cheesecloth or towel. Doing so can help combat sogginess in the final dish.
You don’t need to squeeze the liquid out before cooking cauliflower rice because it needs some of the liquid to remain tender. You can still choose to squeeze the liquid out if desired; just keep a close eye on it while you cook.
How Long Does Cauliflower Rice Keep?
Cauliflower rice will keep in the refrigerator for approximately five days, whether raw or cooked. If you want it to keep for longer, cauliflower rice can be frozen and stored for two months.
Pro tip: If you choose to freeze, you’ll have an easier time cooking it again if you portion it out first.