Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the Brassicaceae family. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called “curd”.
Botanically, it is a member of the cruciferous or Brassicaceae family of vegetables and has similar nutritional and phytochemistry profile as that of other brassica family veggies like broccoli and cabbage.
Nutritional Facts of Cauliflower
Cauliflower (cabbage flower) is one of the familiar winter season vegetables. These beautiful flower heads are brimming with essential nutrients, hold numerous health benefiting phytonutrients such as vitamins, indole-3-carbinol, and sulforaphane that help prevent overweight, diabetes and offer protection from prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancers.
As in broccoli, cauliflower also made up of tightly clustered florets that begin to evolve but halt at while in its immature (bud) stage. This cool-season vegetable prefers fertile, adequate moisture in the soil to flourish. Several cultivars exist other than common snow-white variety, including green, orange, purple, and romanesco heads.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that looks like a white version of its cousin, broccoli. Like broccoli, the tightly bunched florets of cauliflower are connected by a thick core, often with a few light leaves surrounding it.
While white is the most common color, you’ll also find cauliflower in shades of orange, purple, and green. No matter the color, the taste is the same: mild, slightly sweet, a little nutty.
Cauliflower originally came from the Mediterranean region and arrived in Europe around the end of the 15th century. It’s an offshoot of a type of wild cabbage that’s also the ancestor of kale, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi.
While the floret heads are in their early creamy white stage, they ought to be protected from direct sunlight, which, otherwise would turn them green, and unappealing. Farmers pull close-by leaves together to cover the heads when they reach about a quarter of their predetermined size.
Cauliflower is an extremely healthy vegetable that’s a significant source of nutrients. It also contains unique plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Additionally, it’s weight loss friendly and incredibly easy to add to your diet.
In simple explanation, Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.
With a nutty and slightly sweet taste, cauliflower has become one of the trendiest vegetables over the last few years, making its way onto restaurant menus and dinner tables in a variety of ways, especially riced versions of the vegetable.
Although vividly colored fruits and veggies tend to be the healthiest choices, Heather Mangieri, a Pittsburgh-based registered dietitian and nutritionist, health author and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that cauliflower is a notable exception.
“Despite its white color, cauliflower is a very versatile and vitamin-rich vegetable,” Mangieri said. “It is a great source of vitamin C and folate and a good source of fiber and vitamin K. It is also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, two naturally occurring compounds thought to play a role in preventing chronic diseases,” she noted.
Fully grown flower heads of the cauliflower should be harvested at the right time to avoid them turning over-matured. Over-matured head loses compactness, and its surface become grainy, discolored, and no longer remain flavorful.
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