Cauliflower –

Scientific and Common Names
Brassica oleracea
variety cauliflower

Growing Cauliflower

About

[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) of aborted floral meristems is eaten, while the stalk and surrounding thick, green leaves are used in vegetable broth or discarded. Cauliflower is nutritious, and may be eaten cooked, raw or pickled.

Its name is from Latin caulis (cabbage) and flower, an acknowledgment of its unusual place among a family of food plants which normally produces only leafy greens for eating. Brassica oleracea also includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens, though they are of different cultivar groups.

For such a highly modified plant, cauliflower has a long history. There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University.

Cauliflower and broccoli are the same species and have very similar structures, though cauliflower replaces the green flower buds with white inflorescence meristem.

girl holding organic cauliflower at CSA farm

Nutritional Information

Cauliflower, raw, Nutritional value per 100 grams (3.5 oz.)
Nutrient Amount % US RDA
Energy 103 kJ (25 kcal) N/A
Carbohydrates 5 g N/A
Sugars 2.4g N/A
Dietary fiber 2.5 g 18%
Fat 0 g N/A
Protein 2 g .5%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.507 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 .0.184 mg (%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 57 mcg DFE (16%)
Vitamin C 48.2 mg (149%)
Vitamin E .08 mg (%)
Vitamin K 15.5 mcg (%)
Calcium 22 mg (6%)
Iron 0.42 mg (6%)
Magnesium 15 mg (6%)
Phosphorus 44 mg (5%)
Potassium 299 mg (11%)
Zinc 0.27 mg (4%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Uses and Cooking Tips

Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances. A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded.[14] The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). Stirring while cooking can break the florets into smaller, uneven pieces. Cauliflower is often served with a cheese sauce, as in the dish cauliflower cheese. Low carb dieters can use cauliflower as a reasonable substitute for potatoes for while they can produce a similar texture, or mouth feel, they lack the starch of potatoes.

Recipes

Cauliflower Cheese Pie

Gluten-free Indian Cauliflower Curry, Submitted by Louisa Wright

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3 tsp. garam masala (can be found in ethnic section of most stores)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (add more if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into smaller florets
  • 4 small potatoes, skinned, boiled and cubed
  • 2 c. green peas, parboiled

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a pot and mustard seeds once it’s hot.
  2. Lower heat to medium low and cover, listening for seeds to begin popping.
  3. Once seed popping has slowed, add chopped onions and sauté them until they are slightly brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and continue sautéing as ingredients begin to homogenize together.
  5. Add turmeric, cumin, masala, chili powder, and salt and stir together.
  6. Once ingredients are mixed well, add water and cauliflower florets (add more water depending on your pot to make sure there is enough to cook cauliflower).
  7. Cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
  8. Add potatoes and peas and simmer on low for about 10 minutes to allow potatoes to absorb the curry.