Cauliflower

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 08. May. 2020

Even if you don’t like other vegetables from the cabbage family, it’s hard to resist cauliflower. Not only is cauliflower extremely versatile, but it’s easy to digest and packed with body-nourishing nutrients.

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Cauliflower...

  • ...is healthier the more colorful it is.
    ...is healthier the more colorful it is. If you see red or purple cauliflower at the store, be sure to grab it. These varieties of cauliflower contain a particularly large amount of vitamin A (good for vision and for the skin) and flavonoids. These vegetable dyes protect the body cells against harmful free radicals.
  • ...protects the heart.
    The potassium in cauliflower literally helps to keep the heart in rhythm. When the body loses a lot of potassium, during sickness, dehydration or diarrhea, for example, it can lead to heart rhythm disturbances. Cauliflower’s potassium content can help amend this.
  • ...is packed with vitamin C.
    100 grams of cauliflower contain an average of 70 milligrams of vitamin C, significantly more than even oranges! The new, more rare varieties of yellow and purple cauliflowers pack an even greater vitamin punch: a 100 grams serving contains 80-90 milligrams of vitamin C.
  • ...helps detoxify the body.
    With its high potassium content, cauliflower ensures a balanced fluid balance in the body. The mineral also supports the breakdown of carbohydrates and plays an important role in the production of proteins in the body.
  • ...soothes the stomach.
    Cauliflower has long been favored by those with stomach problems; unlike most other types of cabbage, it is easily digestible and easily digested. Doctors therefore often recommend cauliflower (among other things) as a natural aid for irritable bowel syndrome.
  • ...might help protect certain types of cancer.
    Cauliflower has a high sulforaphane content, a secondary plant substance that has been shown to be effective against cancer. Studies have even shown that this natural ingredient in cauliflower can make chemotherapy even more effective!
  • ...must be fresh.
    For the sake of taste and vitamins, cauliflower should be consumed when its at peak freshness.

What You Should Know About Cauliflower

Cauliflower has enjoyed an excellent reputation for hundreds of years. It was so popular in the court of Louis XIV of France, the king created a special cauliflower dish for his mistress, Madame Dubarry. Today, Dubarry cauliflower au gratin is still a classic special occasion dish in France. 

While white cauliflower might be the most well-known variety, in recent years yellow-green, purple and red cauliflowers have become increasingly popular, owing to their beautiful color and higher nutrient counts then their white cousins. Italy boasts one of the most beautiful cauliflowers, a special green variety known as the Romanesco.

Origins

Like all types of cabbage, cauliflower is originally from the Mediterranean and Western Europe. Today, cauliflower is cultivated mainly in the U.S., Europe and in India, which has the largest cauliflower farming industry in Asia.

Season

Cauliflower season runs from June through November in the U.S., with peak season falling in September. However imported cauliflower is available year round in any supermarket.

Flavor

Raw cauliflower has a relatively bland taste. When cooked, however, it develops a rich nutty flavor.

Our Favorite Cauliflower Recipes

Find all our cauliflower recipes here.

How Healthy Is Cauliflower?

Although other relatives of the cauliflower family are more rich in vitamin C, cauliflower has a respectable 45 milligrams per 100 gram content when cooked. Raw, cauliflower packs even more vitamin C-- 69 milligrams per 100 grams.

What sets cauliflower apart from other vegetables in the cabbage family is its finer cell structure, which makes it much easier to digest and thus a great option for those with sensitive stomachs.

CAULIFLOWER NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 22
Protein 2.5 g
Fat 0.3 g
Carbohydrates 2.3 g
Fiber 3 g

 

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Shopping

Dense, juicy leaves, plump florets and a stem cut as short as possible are marks of a fresh cauliflower. Wilted, yellow leaves and a musty cabbage smell, on the other hand, indicate a cauliflower past its prime.

Storage

All in all, cauliflower stays fresh and crisp for four to five days in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Freezing is also possible. Remember  to cut the heads into florets and blanch them briefly in salt water before storing in the freezer.

Preparation

The preparation of fresh cauliflower is very easy: first remove the outer leaves, then cut off the base of the leaves and the stalk end. Next rinse the head briefly under running water and let it drain. If you want to divide the cauliflower into florets, simply cut them off the stem with a small knife. 

If your cauliflower has a particularly pungent, cabbage-y smell, simply add some lemon juice to the cooking water, which will also preserve its color. Some people also swear that a bay leaf or a shot of milk in the cooking water rids cauliflower of any unpleasant smells as well.

When boiling, always ensure not to overcook your cauliflower. A whole head takes about 12-20 minutes to cook depending on size while individual florets should be boiled no longer than 3-5 minutes, to ensure they maintain a bit of crunchy texture.

What To Make With Cauliflower

Cauliflower is incredibly versatile: whether cooked, steamed, fried, gratinated or deep-fried, cauliflower is great as an appetizer and even as the base of a vegetarian meal. You can use cauliflower to prepare classic homey dishes such as a light stew, refined cream soup, or yummy curry, or in European dishes such as Mediterranean spicy risotto or a fine seafood salad. 

Cauliflower’s unique density and texture makes it a delicious vegetarian substitute in traditional meat dishes, such as buffalo wings. Ground in a food processor, cauliflower also makes for a perfect rice substitute!

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