*Photo courtesy of Tulsa Farmers' Market - Cherry Street Farmers' Market, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Cauliflower is in season now, and is available in orange, purple, green, and white at Oklahoma Farmers’ Markets. It is a versatile and easy-to-prepare veggie. These are just a few of the attributes that are making it a popular and trendy veggie!
Each color has unique nutrients
Cauliflower is a member of cruciferous family. One head of white cauliflower has just 26 calories, but offers cancer preventing antioxidants and vitamins. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and is a good source of many of the B vitamins (B5,B6, B1, B3) and vitamin K. It is also a good source of other minerals including potassium. Potassium helps counter the effects of too much sodium intake.
In addition to the good stuff contained in white cauliflower, the colored varieties have some different nutrients. For example, purple cauliflower contains the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is also found in red grapes. Orange cauliflower has 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower. Green cauliflower is a hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower. It contains more vitamin A, C, minerals, and protein than the white variety.
Selecting and storing cauliflower
Look for cauliflower that has uniform color with dense packed florets. Avoid cauliflower that has brown spots, is dull in color, or has wilted leaves. Size does not affect quality.
Store in the refrigerator but do not wash until ready to use. It will last about five to seven days.
Taste and texture of cauliflower
The different colors of cauliflower have similar taste and texture. They have a mild flavor and are slightly sweet. Purple cauliflower is said to taste nuttier and sweeter than white cauliflower. The taste of orange cauliflower is described as mild, slightly sweet, and creamy. Green cauliflower's flavor is sweet, mild, and nutty-a bit bolder than white cauliflower.
Cauliflower can be served raw, grilled, roasted, or steamed. It is also a tasty ingredient in dishes such as stews and casseroles. Cauliflower is a healthier substitute for rice or potatoes. Below we have three very different recipes, all of which use cauliflower as a main ingredient.
This recipe gives mashed potatoes a health boost and keeps the flavor we love. Potatoes and cauliflower are both nutritious. Adding cauliflower to traditional mashed potatoes reduces the calories, increases the amount of vitamin C, and provides folate and vitamin K that are not found in potatoes. Like traditional mashed potatoes, cauliflower mashed potatoes make a great side dish. Click here for the recipe.
This recipe makes a hearty meal. It calls for frozen cauliflower and spinach, so no need for cutting or dicing. We served with brown rice. Replacing white rice with brown rice, may reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.1 Brown rice is made with less processing than white rice and loses less of its natural fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, the cauliflower is a good source of many of the B vitamins and vitamin K. Click here for the recipe.
Cauliflower is wonderful roasted. It is a no-fail dish. Just, slice cauliflower into ¼ inch steaks or break florets into pieces. Coat or brush with olive oil and season with pressed garlic. Place on baking sheet and roast 25 to 30 minutes (until tender) in a 375 degree oven, turning once. For variation, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, thyme, cumin, cardamom, or curry.
1. Sun, Q., Spiegelman, D., van Dam, R. M., & et al. (2010). WHite rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in us men and women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(11), 961-969. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109 (Correction in abstract published June 14, 2010, Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(16), 1479-1479. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.265)