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Monday, September 17, 2012

Cauliflower: The wondrous vegetable

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The cauliflower is one of several cruciferous (cruciferous meaning that the shape of their flowers, which look like four petals, also look like a cross.) vegetables that dates back to the wild cabbage, which was believed to have originated in ancient Asia Minor.  Then around 600 B.C., in the Mediterranean region, the vegetable became a regular staple food particularly in Turkey and Italy.  Later, cauliflower became popular in France around the mid-16th century and later grown in Northern Europe and the British Isles.  Today, cauliflower is grown in various parts of the world including the U.S., France, Italy, China and India.

Cauliflowers closest “vegetable” relative is broccoli and interestingly enough the reason that the flower buds of this vegetable are white is due to its protection as the surrounding heavy green leaves shield it from sunlight. This protection against the sun does not allow for the development of chlorophyll to occur. But, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain a load of vitamins and minerals! The vegetable contains a long list of vitamins and minerals, which include folate, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and so much more.

Although you can purchase cauliflower throughout the year, it is in season during the fall. There are also two different varieties, one of which is the one with white florets and the other is a cruciferous hybrid of cauliflower-broccoli.

There are many ways to cook this vegetable, but I find that roasting it with olive oil, curry powder and a little salt and pepper at 400 degrees is great! Roast for about 15 minutes, remove from oven and give them a good toss and put in oven again for another 10 to 15 minutes. I got the idea for a recipe called Curry Roasted Cauliflower from Food.com, I just didn't add sugar or lemon to it and it still came out delicious!  I also found another recipe for oven roasted cauliflower which looks really good too.


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