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Ingredient of the Week, October 7: Cauliflower

Posted by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:07 AM
  • 19 Replies

 

                                     

Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. It has a compact head (called a "curd"), with an average size of six inches in diameter, composed of undeveloped flower buds. The flowers are attached to a central stalk. When broken apart into separate buds, cauliflower looks like a little tree, something that many kids are fascinated by.

The milk, sweet, almost nutty flavor of cauliflower is at its best from December through March when it is in season and most plentiful in your local markets.

History

Cauliflower traces its ancestry to the wild cabbage, a plant thought to have originated in ancient Asia Minor, which resembled kale or collards more than the vegetable that we now know it to be.

The cauliflower went through many transformations and reappeared in the Mediterranean region, where it has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C.

It gained popularity in France in the mid-16th century and was subsequently cultivated in Northern Europe and the British Isles. The United States, France, Italy, India, and China are countries that produce significant amounts of cauliflower.

How to Select and Store

When purchasing cauliflower, look for a clean, creamy white, compact curd in which the bud clusters are not separated. Spotted or dull-colored cauliflower should be avoided, as well as those in which small flowers appear.

Heads that are surrounded by many thick green leaves are better protected and will be fresher. As its size is not related to its quality, choose one that best suits your needs.

Store uncooked cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a week. To prevent moisture from developing in the floret clusters, store it with the stem side down.

If you purchase pre-cut cauliflower florets, consume them within one or two days as they will lose their freshness after that. Since cooking causes cauliflower to spoil quicker, consume it within two to three days of placing in the refrigerator after cooking.

                        

Tips for Preparing Cauliflower

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.

To cut cauliflower, first remove the outer leaves and then slice the florets at the base where they meet the stalks. You can further cut them, if you desire pieces that are smaller or of uniform size. Trim any brown coloration that may exist on the edges.

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.

                            

How do you like to prepare cauliflower? Please share your favorite methods.

by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:07 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Bmat
by Bronze Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:45 AM

I didn't know that cauliflower would spoil faster when cooked. I also didn't know to store stem down.


Thank you for posting about this.

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

My favorite way to cook cauliflower is to bake it.  I like to bake it whole, but also have baked pieces that I cut up so they fit in my casserole dish. I put a little water in the bottom of the dish and cover it and bake the cauliflower with whatever else is baking until it is done. It has a sweeter taste than steamed or boiled.

aenima49
by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

That picture is cute!  Thanks for the tips.

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:57 AM

We love cauliflower!  We'll eat it raw, but I love to use it as a substitute for macaroni (pizza casserole or cauliflower & cheese), rice (stir fry or sweet & sour dishes, etc.), or potatoes (twice baked non-potato casserole.) 

Kelly913
by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 3:15 PM
Me either, but explains why my fridge got so stinky after cooking mine thinking it would last longer! Thought that smell would never go away!

Quoting Bmat:

I didn't know that cauliflower would spoil faster when cooked. I also didn't know to store stem down.


Thank you for posting about this.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Bmat
by Bronze Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 3:16 PM

That's right! Cauliflower smells stronger after it is cooked- I didn't think about this.

Quoting Kelly913:

Me either, but explains why my fridge got so stinky after cooking mine thinking it would last longer! Thought that smell would never go away!

Quoting Bmat:

I didn't know that cauliflower would spoil faster when cooked. I also didn't know to store stem down.


Thank you for posting about this.


DissieDothe
by Silver Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 3:49 PM

 

Quoting Bmat:

That's right! Cauliflower smells stronger after it is cooked- I didn't think about this.

Quoting Kelly913:

Me either, but explains why my fridge got so stinky after cooking mine thinking it would last longer! Thought that smell would never go away!

Quoting Bmat:

I didn't know that cauliflower would spoil faster when cooked. I also didn't know to store stem down.

 

Thank you for posting about this.


Cauliflower is at an all time price high. Never-ever thought that I would have to pay $4 for a head. Something has to be good if I paid that price! I'm making Dum Gobi. Thankfully there is no meat in it.

The reason that I quoted this was to let you know that sooner or later something stinky will linger in the fridge forever. I buy one of those little purple plastic do-hicky-hang-a-ma-gigs things ... filled with I think charcoal. They actually work.  

Bmat
by Bronze Member on Oct. 7, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Thank you for quoting so that I was sure to see your suggestion. I have read that charcoal was what to get, but I never knew there was something like you described, I'll look for it.

Quoting DissieDothe:


Quoting Bmat:

That's right! Cauliflower smells stronger after it is cooked- I didn't think about this.

Quoting Kelly913:

Me either, but explains why my fridge got so stinky after cooking mine thinking it would last longer! Thought that smell would never go away!

Quoting Bmat:

I didn't know that cauliflower would spoil faster when cooked. I also didn't know to store stem down.


Thank you for posting about this.


Cauliflower is at an all time price high. Never-ever thought that I would have to pay $4 for a head. Something has to be good if I paid that price! I'm making Dum Gobi. Thankfully there is no meat in it.

The reason that I quoted this was to let you know that sooner or later something stinky will linger in the fridge forever. I buy one of those little purple plastic do-hicky-hang-a-ma-gigs things ... filled with I think charcoal. They actually work.  


lillucky8
by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:41 PM
Yum, i actually just bought some today for the first time in ages
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
sleepymommy87
by on Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:43 PM
Mmm mashed cauliflower with sour cream, cheese, bacon, and chives. Yummy!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
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