Discovering our food: cauliflower

Hello my dear readers,

Another week is here, another great opportunity to start chasing your dreams is here, take it πŸ˜‰

Cauliflower is the flower of the Brassica oleracea L. plant which belongs to the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cabbage, watercress, rocket, Brussels sprouts, etc.

Cauliflower is cultivated for its large and tasty inflorescence and it needs a lot of care compared to other cabbage varieties.

Everything you need to know about Cauliflower

There are a few varieties of cauliflower that can be distinguished based on their period of maturation, from late September to winter ones or up to the spring ones of March-May, and based on their color: white, green, violet.

Cauliflower origins

There are conflicting ideas about the origins of cauliflower. According to some botanists it originated from the Middle East, while other sources suggest has European origins. It is certain that it was already known and appreciated by the Romans, who knew its therapeutic virtues and consumed it raw, before banquets, to slow down the absorption of alcohol. The beneficial effects deriving from the consumption of cauliflowers were also known in the 1500s when, together with other vegetables of the cruciferous family, were embarked on ships on their way to discover America to prevent scurvy, caused by the deficiency of vitamin C.

Cauliflower ambient & needs

Cauliflower is anΒ annual plantΒ that reproduces by seed. It is important not to delay the sowing that should be done in spring, as their growing period is very long. It is possible to obtain a continuous harvest for almost the entire year if you carefully choose the varieties, based on their adaptability to the climate and position.

The sowing of early varieties should be done at the end of summer in open ground, then the plants will have to be moved in boxes during the winter, and then transplanted in March. To harvest between late summer and early fall need to start planting from the end of March to May.

Another way is to sow in a germinator under a greenhouse in January and transplant the seedlings in the open field in April.

It does not like foggy areas, it is quite resistant to cold, but its ideal climate is temperate.

The soil must be dug deep and well compacted and fertilized. Too acidic soil hinders growth and favors the attack of pests.

The early varieties can be harvested in June. The harvest should be done when the inflorescences are fairly developed but not yet opened. In temperate-warm climates, you should check it frequently as in the final stage the growth is accelerated. The ideal time for harvesting is early in the morning.

If the production is abundant it is possible to collect the cauliflower and protect it with its leaves, the maturation in this case will be prolonged for 2-3 days. Another technique is to completely eradicate the plant, place it upside down in a cool, dry place and carry out the same operation covering the inflorescence with the leaves, in this way they will be preserved for about 3 weeks.

Cauliflower use in the kitchen

Cauliflower it is a truly precious ingredient in the kitchen: it is cheap and can be used in many different ways, to prepare recipes ranging from appetizers to side dishes.

The cauliflower produces a bad smell during cooking. This is due to the presence of sulfur compounds inside the vegetable that are released during the cooking phase, generating the typical smell of cabbage. Sulfur is however important for our body and it would be good to limit the cooking time or steam the cauliflower to avoid losing too much sulfur.

Cauliflower is a vegetable that lends itself to different cooking methods and to many preparations: it can be roasted, grilled, boiled,Β fried, steamed, pickled; its inflorescences can also be eaten raw in salads, while the inner part must still be cooked.

Cauliflower can be used to prepare soups or creams, it can become an excellent side dish or a tasty appetizer. Blended or coarsely chopped, it can be used to flavor a pasta dish. It goes very well with savory cured meats, such as speck, bacon and ham and with spices like curcuma or saffron.

Cauliflower benefit

Over the course of history, cauliflower and other cruciferous have been widely used for their health-promoting potential. For example, cauliflower was recommended as a laxative, to prevent lung problems and rheumatism.

Cauliflower is very rich in water, more than 90% but with a significant energy value, 25-30 calories for 100 g and 2% protein. It has a good content in vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. It has a high fiber content: 9.6 per 100 kcal.

However, the health effects from the consumption of cruciferous derive from their content in sulfur compounds. Numerous scientific researches have confirmed that the protective action deriving from the assumption of cruciferous against some types of cancer, derives precisely from these compounds, responsible for the characteristic odor during cooking. In fact, sulfur compounds facilitate the elimination of toxic and possibly carcinogenic substances at the cellular level, thus carrying out an anti-tumor activity. To the family of cruciferous belong vegetables that are eaten both raw and cooked. In particular, it is from raw vegetables that the anti-tumor effect is obtained and it is considerably reduced while cooking. As much as possible, it would be preferable to consume these vegetables raw, in order not to lose their positive properties.

Raw it is high in vitamin C, 73.5% of the nutritional values of reference, but in any case it preserves 35% also cooked. Vitamin C contributes to the normal formation of collagen, gums, skin and teeth, contributes to normal energy metabolism, the normal function of the nervous system, the immune system and psychological function. In addition, it protects cells from oxidative stress, reduces fatigue, increases iron absorption and contributes to the regeneration of vitamin E.

Cauliflower benefits

The top producing countries of cauliflower are China, India and United States, followed by Europe: Spain, Italy and France.

According to USDA ERS 2018, total annual consumption of cauliflower in the United States in 2017Β was approximately 3 kg or 6.6 pounds of fresh and 1 kg or 2.2 pounds of frozen per person.

California,Β including the central coast: Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties, the south coast: Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, the San Joaquin Valley (Tulare, Fresno, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties) and the southern deserts: Riverside and Imperial Counties, is the major cauliflower producing state in the United States, with about 90% of the supply, Arizona comes second, followed by New York, Washington and Texas.

Join me next time and let’s discover California, the Golden State and its amazing culinary experiences.

And until then start creating your moments of pleasure with wonderful tableware

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And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts

Thank you all for reading πŸ˜‰

Photo credit: Google Images, Pexels, edited by Popsicle Society

56 thoughts

      1. I saw that word and it was like heaven lol. They’re good for you too. I need lots of new cauluflower recipes!

      2. There’s no week that passes by without eating the cauliflower πŸ™‚
        I always loved it from when I was a little girl πŸ™‚
        I’ll post one of my recipes this Friday πŸ™‚

  1. Such a meaningful post, Ribana. Wow! You have done your research my friend. I have learned so much here. Thanks for sharing. I find that cauliflower have a mild-tasting but like it in soup or grilled. It is also a super versatile vegetable. I use it insteead of rice sometimes. BTW I really enjoy your series Discovering our food. Great job.

    1. Thank you very much Dominique for your kind words!
      Yes, it has a particular taste that not everyone likes it πŸ™‚ I loved it from when I was a little girl :)…I like it, steamed, in soups, grilled, pickled, raw in salads, or as rice πŸ™‚ in every possible way πŸ™‚
      Oh yes, from when I’ve started doing the Discovering our food posts, doing the research I have learned so much about our wonderful food πŸ™‚
      I wish you a wonderful week dear Dominique and thank you for stopping by!

  2. I love cauliflower. Baked, cooked, roasted or grilled… It gives us enough opportunity to experiment. And moreover I had grown this vegetable. It is so much fun to watch it growing each day !!

    1. I’m glad you like it πŸ™‚ Yes, is so versatile, I like it in any way possible too πŸ™‚
      My grandparents used to grow it too, is really wonderful seeing it grow :)…I was always curious to see what is hidden beneath that leaves πŸ™‚

      1. Exactly! During winter evening had to take care of them like babies. Used to cover the flower from leaves to save them from cold nights and removing them in the morning to give sunlight.
        Good old days!

  3. I love cauliflower. But you should also mention that people suffering from hyperthyroidism should not eat cauliflower and other veggies of this family like broccoli because it of high iodine content.

    1. Thank you, I did not know. Actually after a quick research, I understand that if someone that have iodine deficiency should limit the consume of vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as they are full of fiber and other nutrients, but they may interfere with the production of thyroid hormone.
      Good to know πŸ™‚

      1. You’re welcome. I knew because my daughter was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism during her pregnancy and the doctor told her not to have any cusiferous veggies

  4. Hey Ribanna, Another discovery of our fav cauliflower.. We make different kind of foods with cauliflower and it never fails to amaze us with its unique taste. Wonderful post πŸ€— Enjoyed reading✨✍️

      1. That’s right, I should pay more attention to these things. I just ate cauliflower because I loved it! Nice to know how good it is too.πŸ˜€πŸ‘

  5. Thank you for this info. I have to be on a low fiber diet due to intestinal complications and broccoli is on the ‘do not eat’ list. But cauliflower is permitted! Yay! I am so happy to know from this post how good it is for my health.

    1. Sorry to hear it…is strange that broccoli is not permitted but cauliflower it is πŸ€ͺ they are from the same family 😊
      Of course is better πŸ˜…πŸ˜‰ it has quite a few benefits on us πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š
      Thank you for reading πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

    1. Is too cute right? πŸΆπŸ’•
      I’m glad I made you laugh πŸ˜†
      Not everyone goes hand in hand with the cauliflower…for me I loved from when I was a little girl πŸ˜‰
      KFC I thought is Kentucky Fried Chicken πŸ— πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      Not bad at all Korean Fried Cauliflower πŸ˜‚

      1. I haven’t encountered Cauliflower until I was an adult. But I do love it. πŸ˜‹ I agree with my husband “it’s a meaty veggie” and that’s why whenever I make that recipe we simply say “vegetarian chicken” I don’t miss meat at all when I eat it. Haha πŸ˜€

  6. Looks tasty, i wish i could have more time to cook, usually i cook it in the boiling water and place it on my plate, it’s healthy and good to have always some new vegetables on the table and keep replace one with other oneπŸ’š

    1. Yes, is always good to have a diversified diet πŸ˜‰ Instead of boiling it, try to steam it, all the nutrients will remain in the cauliflower and not in the water πŸ˜‰

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