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Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in the cabbage family. It has a mild flavor, is easy to digest, is used in many raw food recipes, and is rich in vitamin C.
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Cauliflower was first grown in Italy and has been a common food in Europe since the sixteenth century. Today, it is one of the most popular vegetables in the cabbage family.

General information:

From Wikipedia: “Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called "curd" (similar appearance to cheese curd). The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds as the edible portion. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, collectively called "cole" crops, though they are of different cultivar groups.”

Culinary uses:

“Cauliflower heads can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are typically removed, leaving only the florets (the edible "curd" or "head"). The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. 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.

Low carbohydrate dieters can use cauliflower as a reasonable substitute for potatoes or rice; while they can produce a similar texture, or mouth feel, they lack the starch of the originals. Like certain legumes (including chickpeas), it can be turned into a flour from which such foods as pizza or biscuits are made.”

Nutritional information:

“100 grams of raw white cauliflower provides 25 calories, is low in fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and protein. It has a high content (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C and moderate levels (10-19% DV) of several B vitamins and vitamin K.”

“Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals, common in the cabbage family, that are under preliminary research for their potential properties, including isothiocyanates and glucosinolates.

Boiling reduces the levels of cauliflower compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.”

Production:

“In 2014, global production of cauliflowers (combined for production reports with broccoli) was 24.2 million tonnes, an 8% increase over 2013 world production. China and India together accounted for 74% of the total. Secondary producers, having 0.5–1.2 million tonnes annually, were the United States, Spain, Mexico and Italy.”

Colors:

  • White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower having a contrasting white head (also called "curd") surrounded by green leaves.
     
  • Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains beta-carotene as the orange pigment, a provitamin A compound. This orange trait originated from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include 'Cheddar' and 'Orange Bouquet'.
     
  • Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available in the normal curd (head) shape and with a fractal spiral curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-headed varieties include 'Alverda', 'Green Goddess' and 'Vorda'. Romanesco varieties include 'Minaret' and 'Veronica'.
     
  • The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence anthocyanins, water-soluble pigments that are found in many other plants and plant-based products, such as red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include 'Graffiti' and 'Purple Cape'. In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name "purple cauliflower"; it is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple head.”

Interesting facts:

“Cauliflower has been noticed by mathematicians for its distinct fractal dimension, predicted to be about 2.8. One of the fractal properties of cauliflower is that every branch, or "module", is similar to the entire cauliflower. Another quality, also present in other plant species, is that the angle between "modules," as they become more distant from the center, is 360 degrees divided by the golden ratio.”


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