Season for Cauliflower December - March
Whether its cauliflower's elegant aesthetic or its acquired (some say refined) taste, Mark Twain dubbed it "cabbage with a college education." Compact, dense and milky, the florets are surrounded by lime green leaves that shield this veggie from the sun. Though typically white, cauliflower comes in a range of gorgeous colors, from chartreuse to violet and orange. All cauliflower is composed of bunches of tiny florets on clusters of stalks. Some white varieties have a purple or greenish tinge. The entire floret portion (called the "curd") is edible, as well as the leaves at the base, but they take longer to cook and have a stronger flavor than the curd.
How to Buy and Store Cauliflower
This is one case where size doesn't matter... so simply select the bunch that suits your recipe. Choose cauliflower with a firm, compact head and crisp green leaves with no signs of yellowing. Avoid spotted or dull-colored cauliflower, as well as those sprouting small flowers. Store your wrapped cauliflower in a plastic bag in the refrigerator with the stem side down for up to five days. If you've purchased pre-cut cauliflower florets, you'll have to use them within a couple of days. Once cooked, cauliflower will only last a day or two in the fridge - so eat up those leftovers quickly!
How to Cook Cauliflower
Start off by separating cauliflower head into similar-sized florets, then washing them. Cauliflower is delicious raw or cooked, but it becomes soft and mushy with a strong flavor (and aroma) when overcooked - also losing many of its important nutrients. Oven roasting, steaming or sautéeing are great ways to prepare your cauliflower - and turmeric is a cauliflower's best spice friend. Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or one cup milk to the cooking water will prevent discoloration. Try mashing your cauliflower as a healthy alternative to potatoes (a cup of cauliflower has just 25 calories and a full day's allowance of vitamin C).
Give our Easy Rustic Roasted Cauliflower a try - so simple and delicious.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Whatever color your cauli', it'll be good for you. Like its cruciferous cousin brccoli, cauliflower contains a wide variety of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients believed to help prevent certain cancers, particularly bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins and minerals, a very good source of vitamins B6, C, and K, as well as folate, potassium, pantothenic acid and manganese. It's also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, and phosphorus. So, load up!
Why Buy Natural and Organic Cauliflower
Organic cauliflower is readily available throughout the year, most especially at your farmers market during our colder months. Not only does buying organic cauliflower ensure you're not ingesting hazardous toxins, but also that they haven't been used to treat the soil in which the cauliflower was grown. What does that mean? The environment, those who work on the farm and all of us are better off. Conventional... not so much.
Plus, we think organic cauliflower tastes better - like cabbage with a Ph.D.