Cauliflower is a plant in the same family as broccoli and cabbage, and has been selectively bred over centuries to retain it’s characteristics.
Early development and cultivation started in the Mediterainian area, possibly Syria or Cyprus, and spread from there throughout Europe and the world.
Common Names: Cauliflower
|Head, Large||6″-7″ Dia||840g||29.6oz|
|Head, Medium||5″-6″ Dia||575g||20.3oz|
|Head, Small||4″ Dia||265g||9.3oz|
|Cauliflower, Green, Raw|
Common Names: Broccoflower or green cauliflower.
|Head, Large||6″-7″ Dia||511g||18oz|
|Head, Medium||5″-6″ Dia||431g||15.2oz|
|Head, Small||4″ Dia||325g||11.5oz|
What You Need to Know About the Cauliflower
The cauliflower is a healthy vegetable that people add to their diet as replacement for carbohydrate-rich staples such as rice and potatoes. It is an offshoot of the plant Brassica oleracea (wild mustard) along with kohlrabi, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and cabbage. Not only is the cauliflower known as a healthy food but it also boasts of various medicinal uses.
Do you know that the cauliflower is actually man-made? Continue reading this article to know the rich history of the cauliflower and its popular uses today.
There is no exact date in relation to the first cultivation of the cauliflower since the vegetable is actually man-made. It is derived from the plant Brassica oleracea through a long process of selective breeding. Selective breeding refers to the natural process of developing new plants by obtaining the desirable traits of an existing plant. It is said, however, that the cauliflower originated in Asia, particularly in Cyprus – an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. The vegetable moved from this place to other nations like Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and it became widespread throughout Europe in the 1500s. It was grown in the United States only in the 1900s, with California being the largest producer of the cauliflower compared to other states.
Where the Cauliflower is Grown
The cauliflower grows best in countries with cooler climates. Today, the largest producer of this vegetable is China, followed by India, and the United States.
The cauliflower contains various vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Studies reveal that a cup of raw cauliflower has:
- Calories: 25
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 77% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
- Folate: 14% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Manganese: 8% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
Cauliflower varieties are generally classified into four groups depending on their origin and time for harvesting. These groups are Italian, Northwest European, Northern European, and Asian.
Below are few of the cauliflower cultivars in existence today.
- White Cauliflower. This is the most popular variety of the cauliflower that has a pure white head of curd surrounded by green leaves. It has other cultivars such as the Snowball Cauliflower, Snow Spring Cauliflower, White Corona, Early White Cauliflower, and Cornish Cauliflower.
- Romanesco Cauliflower. Also known as the Broccoflower, this variety is bred from the broccoli and the cauliflower. It has a spiky appearance due to its pyramid-like florets and has a nutty flavor. It can be eaten steamed, grilled, or roasted.
- Green Cauliflower. This variety looks like the usual cauliflower but its green color is that of the broccoli’s. It is sweeter and milder in taste than the white cauliflower. Some of its famous cultivars are Alverda, Green Goddess, Vitaverd, and Chartreuse.
- Purple Cauliflower. This ‘healthiest’ variety is known for its large size and bluish-green leaves. Compared to the white cauliflower, its nutty taste is more tender and milder. Its purple color is caused by the antioxidant called anthocyanin which is known to reduce risks of heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. Cultivars of this type include Depurple Cauliflower Hybrid, Graffiti Hybrid Cauliflower, Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, Sicilian Violet, Violet Queen, and Purple Cape.
- Orange/Yellow Cauliflower. This variety is called such because of the orange color of its florets. Unlike the color of the purple cauliflower which fades when cooking, the color of the orange cauliflower intensifies during the process. This variety is also sweeter in taste and healthier than the white cauliflower. Its best cultivars are the Cheddar Caulifower and Flame Star Hybrid.
- Fioretto Cauliflower. This is an unusual variety of the cauliflower that has loosely-packed and brightly-colored florets on top of thin green stems. Its floral stems can be grilled which are crunchy and mildly sweet in taste.
The cauliflower is known for the following uses:
- Source of Antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that keep your body safe from inflammation and free radicals. The cauliflower contains high amount of antioxidants called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates that are known to decelerate the growth of cancer cells, especially in the colon, lungs, breast and prostate. The cauliflower also has carotenoid and flavonoid, both of which are anti-cancer. In addition, it contains vitamin C needed to boost your immune system and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
- Weight Loss Aid. The cauliflower is low in calories which means you can eat more of this vegetable without gaining too much weight. It can also slow digestion and make you feel full, so you won’t feel the urge to eat more.
- Low-Carb Substitute. The cauliflower can be used as a substitute for grains and legumes in your diet because it is lower in carbs. Examples of recipes that use the cauliflower instead of grains and legumes are cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower hummus, cauliflower mash, cauliflower tortillas, and cauliflower mac and cheese.