Veggies and Fruit

The Ultimate Guide to Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is used in different forms all over the world. It may be roasted, pickled, mashed, or stir-fried. It is a famous vegetable among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Cauliflower is a part of all restaurant menus around the globe.

You would surely know about cauliflower but just as a vegetable that has been used in various dishes. But you have missed some really amazing information about it. For example, how many types of cauliflower exist? You might be familiar with only white-colored cauliflower, but there are four different types.

Cauliflower is very beneficial for our body. If you are trying to lose weight, then cauliflower is a perfect option for you. It could be in your diet as it has low calories and high-water content.

Botanical Information

cauliflower-vegetable-healthy-food

Cauliflower is botanically known as Brassica oleracea. It belongs to the mustard family Brassicaceae. The word cauliflower comes from the Latin word “cavolfiore,” which means cabbage flower. It is reproduced by seed and was cultivated in Asia Minor for the first time.

In the 17th century, it was eaten in North America for the first time. Although cauliflower is an annual plant, it ismainly available during autumn and spring. It grows up to 0.5 meters tall. The head of the cauliflower is eaten, and this part is normally known as curd. Moreover, it belongs to the “cole” crop family. And this family also includes broccoli, collard, cabbage, and kale. That’s why cauliflower shows a strong resemblance with kale and collard.

Is White the Only Color For Cauliflower?

No, there are different varieties of cauliflower available on the market. Many people know about only white, but there are also other colors of cauliflower. Cauliflower is found in green, orange, and purple colors. Different colored cauliflower has distinct qualities and is more nutritious than normal white. For example, green cauliflower contains 25% more vitamin C as compared to white-colored ones.

1. White Cauliflower

White Cauliflower

This one is the most common type of cauliflower one can easily find on the market. It consists of a white head surrounded by green leaves.

2. Green Cauliflower (Romanesco cauliflower)

Cauliflower_romanesco

Green cauliflower is named Romanesco cauliflower, or also called Broccoflower or Romanesco broccoli, because it is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It resembles broccoli very much. Things that green cauliflower has in common with broccoli are color and taste. It has a crunchy, nutty taste.

The head is lime-green colored and has pyramid-shaped spiral spikes. The size of this cauliflower is 7 inches. To eat it, you need to remove the spikes first. And then you can either use it in pickled form, roast it, or maybe mash it.

3. Purple Cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower

Purple cauliflower has a larger size as compared to the white one. The head of this cauliflower is purple, surrounded by vibrant blue leaves. Its taste is tenderer and milder compared to white cauliflower and is also more nutritious and healthier. Its purple color is because it contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant and water-soluble pigment. The same pigment is also present in cabbage. Anthocyanin is very beneficial to treat cancer and also for cardiovascular diseases.

The taste of purple cauliflower is sweet and nuttier. While cooking, it may lose its vibrant purple color, so you can add some lemon juice to avoid that. Some varieties of purple cauliflower are Purple cap, Sicilian violet, and Gariffti hybrid.

4. Orange Cauliflower

Brassica_oleracea_var._botrytis

Orange cauliflower is a type with an orange-colored head surrounded by green leaves. The orange color is because of the presence of beta-carotene. It also offers more health benefits than white cauliflower because of this beta-carotene.

Vitamin A content of orange cauliflower is 25 times more than white ones. It is also called cheddar cauliflower, but its taste is not at all like cheese. It has a mild and sweet taste. As purple-colored cauliflower loses its color when cooked, the color of this cauliflower becomes more prominent.

How to Grow Cauliflower?

Cauliflower_plants_growing_in_New_Jersey_in_April

Some important information that you should know while growing cauliflower is as follows:

What Type of Climate is perfect for the cauliflower?

Cauliflower needs well-drained, moist soil for its growth. The soil should be fertile with pH 6-7. For better results, add some organic matter along with sand and nitrogen fertilizer. It requires a cool environment. Cauliflower is highly sensitive to heat. It requires 21° to 29° Celsius temperature and daily 6 hours of sunlight.

Its growing period is spring and fall. During the growth period, keep the soil moist by adding water regularly. Even if it rains, water the cauliflower up-to 2 inches.

Blanching

When the head of cauliflower grows 3 inches in diameter, tie its leaves with a rubber band. This process is called blanching. Normally, it takes 7-12 days to harvest it after blanching.

Harvesting

When the head of cauliflower grows 6 to 8 inches in diameter and is hard and compact with perfect white color, it’s time to harvest it. Normally, the plant is ready in 50-100 days. Cut it by using a sharp knife, but be careful about stems, so cut the cauliflower 1-2 inches from the end.

What Type Of Diseases Can Destroy Cauliflower Crops?

Some diseases that can destroy the crop of cauliflower are:

  • Black rot
  • Aphids
  • Clubroot
  • Caggageloopers

Are Stem And Leaves Of Cauliflower Edible?

The most used part of cauliflower is its head. People use the head for cooking and roasting and throw stems and leaves away. But stem and leaves are also edible. They can be cooked along with the florets. All you need to do is remove the hard part. Both have the same nutritional content as the head. The difference is that stems and leaves contain more fibers and, to some extent, fewer vitamins than the floret part. Therefore, these parts are as good as the head.

Nutritional Profile

Cauliflower is considered very nutritious among other vegetables. Just one cup of it contains:

  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 27 calories
  • No fats
  • 2 grams of sugar
  • 2 grams of protein

Health Benefits

1. An Excellent Source of Fiber

Cauliflower is rich in fiber that protects the human body from many digestive problems such as constipation and diverticulitis. It maintains the digestive tract. Studies have shown that by eating fiber-containing food, a person protects himself from inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.

2. Contain Antioxidants

Cauliflower is a good source of antioxidants, and antioxidants protect the body cells from mutation and also from free radicals. Two types of antioxidants present in it are glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These antioxidants slow the growth of cancer in the body. In addition to this, cauliflower also contains carotenoid antioxidants that help a person fight other diseases and cancer, such as heart problems.

Moreover, it contains a high amount of Vitamin C, which also behave as an antioxidant and protect from inflammation, heart diseases and also improve the immune system.

3. Helps You in Weight Loss

Cauliflower is perfect to fit in your weight loss diet plan as it contains only 27 calories in one cup and no fat. Moreover, it is rich in water content; hence it protects you from dehydration. It also contains other major nutrients (protein, vitamins, and fibers). So when you are following a strict diet plan along with exercise, it protects you from nutrient deficiency.

Conclusion

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable full of nutrition. By eating cauliflower, you are protecting yourself from various health problems. So, you can add cauliflower to your diet plan today. Also, this veggie doesn’t only come in one color, but in four different colors. And each type of cauliflower is more nutritional than the other one. Go for the one that suits your taste.

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