It’s actually a member of the cabbage family with a milk, sweet, almost nutty flavour. The undeveloped flower buds (florets) are joined by a stalk. Since the leaves of the plant shade the florets, the sun is not able to provide green chlorophyll found in other members of the cruciferous family of vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale. The compact head (also called a “curd” or “heart”), usually reaches about six inches in diameter.
Take home the firm, heavy heads tightly packed with creamy-white florets. Avoid brown specks, since this is an indication of an aging cauliflower.
Keep in a plastic bag with holes poked in it for up to one week in your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper.
Rinse well just before using. Don’t worry about a few grey spots – simply trim them away using a sharp knife. The first step to separating the florets is to cut or pull off the outer leaves as well as cut a circle around the bottom core. Separate the individual stalks from the underside. Florets may be left whole or cut into equal-sizes.
Cauliflower can be added to stews, soups, and soufflés and can be pickled or used in relishes or chutneys. Since they are mild in flavour, they can be spiced up (i.e. Indian curry),made into mock mashed potatoes, or pureed. It can be eaten raw as in salads or appetizers. Once cooked, this vegetable can be eaten warm or cooled. Its cooking versatility includes blanched, steamed, boiled, baked or fried.
Steam until tender, placing the stem side down in a covered pan with 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of salt water, allowing it to boil at a medium heat level for 4 to 5 minutes per pound of cauliflower.
Microwave Use very little water – 1/8 to 1/4 inch in a covered pan – for 3 to 4 minutes per pound. If the vegetable requires more cooking, continue for 1 to 2 minutes while the heat is turned off.
- Prevent discoloration while cooking by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or up to a cup of milk to the pot of water
- Do not overcook this vegetable or it becomes mushy and untextured.
- Check the texture by piercing the cauliflower head with a knife
- Cauliflower can be substituted for broccoli in most recipes.
Complimentary Seasonings Goes well with pepper, cumin, garlic, cheese, lemon, mustard, or nutmeg.
In addition to a great deal of vitamin C, other nutrients are also provided in the form of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, vitamin B, and potassium.
Cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables, contain phytonutrient compounds and enzymes that may help prevent cancer, increasing the liver’s ability to neutralize potentially toxic substances.
Cauliflower (raw), 1 cup (100g)
Total Fat: 0.2g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (46.4mg)
*Good source of: Folate (57mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.