Cauliflower

General Information: Cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family or colecrops. It is a vegetable that consists of undeveloped white florets attached to a single stem that form a compact, cabbage-like head, called a curd. Cauliflower is closely related to broccoli but has a denser, more compact head, and it is most often white. It has a creamy, sweet, slightly nutty flavor and even though the florets are the most common part of the cauliflower that is eaten, the stem and leaves are also edible.

Purple Cauliflower is wild and is actually better for us. The color is caused by anthocyanins (like those found in red cabbage and red wine) that is an antioxidant. It is beautiful eaten raw but can also be gently steamed. Use lemon juice or vinegar in the water to set the color. If you cook it too much it will turn green. It is more mild than white and needs less time to cook. It stays purple when cooked!

An orange colored cauliflower that is a variety that became available in the fall of 2003. It is very similar to regular white cauliflower in taste and appearance except it is bright orange in color. The first variety of orange cauliflower, which was smaller and not as flavorful, was discovered in Canada in 1970 but it took decades of crossbreeding to finally develop the variety that is now available. Because of its high content of beta-carotene, orange cauliflower's vitamin A content is approximately 25 times higher than white cauliflower. Its color and nutritional value are two characteristics that make this a poplular vegetable choice.

A vegetable that is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Its appearance is the same as cauliflower except it is light, bright green in color. It has a slightly sweeter taste than regular cauliflower when eaten raw and when cooked, its taste is similar to broccoli. It can be prepared, cooked, and served in the same way you would regular cauliflower.

Applications: The leaf, stalk and florets can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, it is eaten on its own accompanied by a dip or cut up and added to salads. When cooked, it can be eaten as a side dish, alone or topped with a sauce, such as au gratin, hollandaise, or Mornay. It is also often added to other dishes, such as stir fries, pasta, quiches, omelets, soups, and stews. Prepare Cauliflower the same way you prepare Broccoli as they are pretty much interchangeable, even in recipes. Since they are mild in flavor, they can be spiced up as in an Indian Curry or Curried Carrot and Cauliflower Soup or Curried Indian Potato and Cauliflower. Make mock mashed potatoes, or pureed cauliflower.

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