A cabbage and broccoli cousin

Season - Peaks in spring and fall

Selection - Choose firm, compact, creamy white florets with bright green, firmly attached leaves

Avoid spots, speckles, bruises and yellow, wilted leaves

Flavor complements -Curry, ginger, garlic, nutmeg, pepper, lemon, mustard, cheese, toasted nuts

Storage - Refrigerate in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to 5 days.

Use pre-cut florets within a day.

Preparation for cooking - Pull off the outer leaves. Cut off the protruding stem. With a paring knife, make a circular incision around the core and pull it out. Cut or pull the florets apart.

Cauliflower florets are the part of the plant that most people eat. However, the stem and leaves are edible too and are especially good for adding to soup stocks.

Quick fixes - Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets. Steam 5-8 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Do not overcook. Gently toss with a vinaigrette.

Cauliflower and Broccoli with Cream Sauce

4 servings, Prep 10 min, Cook 13 min

Carrot juice is the ingredient that makes the sauce as healthful as the vegetables!

½ cup carrot juice (or vegetable juice)
3 tbs reduced-fat sour cream
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets

  1. In small sauce pan over high heat, boil carrot juice until reduced to ¼ cup, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in sour cream.
  2. Steam broccoli and cauliflower until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to serving dish. Serve with sour cream sauce.

Per serving: 48 calories, 3g protein, 6g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 4mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 45mg sodium, 52% Daily Value* Vitamin A, 106% Vitamin C, 5% Calcium, 3% Iron. *Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Zesty Spiced Cauliflower

Serves 6, Time to Prepare: 15 minutes

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
6 cups (1-inch) cauliflower florets
½ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add cumin and toast, shaking the skillet often, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, pour water over the top and immediately cover skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook, tossing the cauliflower halfway through, until tender and water is mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add oil, turmeric and salt, toss well and serve.

Fun to Know

Cauliflower contains phytonutrients that release odorous sulfur compounds when heated. These odors become stronger with increased cooking time. If you want to minimize odor, retain the vegetable's crisp texture, and reduce nutrient loss, cook the cauliflower for only a short time.

Some phytonutrients may react with iron in cookware and cause the cauliflower to take on a brownish hue. To prevent this, add a bit of lemon juice to the water in which you blanch the cauliflower.

Cauliflower lacks the green chlorophyll found in other members of the cruciferous family of vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale, because the leaves of the plant shield the florets from the sun as they grow. It has a compact head (called a "curd"), usually about six inches in diameter that is composed of undeveloped flower buds. The flowers are attached to a central stalk.

Nutritional Profile: One cup of boiled cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamins C and folate as well as and dietary fiber. That same amount of cauliflower also serves as a very good source of vitamins B5 and B6 as well as manganese and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sources:
www.whfoods.com

Archibald, A Faughey, E. The Produce Partner. Food Fan Guides, 2005.