The Almighty Cauliflower
Praised by vegetarians and vegans alike, the versatile cauliflower is a constant source of all around goodness. It can be made into a million side dishes, stands great on its own as a main course and can even change shape into wondrous purees and mashes.
The sunny coastlines of California possess the ideal ecological environment to grow cauliflower in, making California the largest cauliflower-producing state, accounting for nearly 88 percent of fresh cauliflower and all processing cauliflower. Resource via: AGMRC
California Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is a very good source of vitamin B5, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and molybdenum. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and iron.
Almost all of the cauliflower grown in the United States comes from the Salinas Valley in California because of its ten-month growing season, moderate climate and rich soil.
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Cauliflower comes in four colors: white, orange, purple, and green. Originally, cauliflower was bred to be white by tying leaves over the edible portion, preventing the formation of chloroplasts and therefore chlorophyll. Eventually, cauliflower varieties were developed that completely lack the ability to grow chloroplasts even when exposed to light!
Purple, orange, and green cauliflowers haven’t been genetically engineered; rather, they are natural mutants of white cauliflower.
Orange cauliflower contains high levels of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A.
Purple cauliflower contains anthocyanin, a healthful antioxidant responsible for the purple color of cabbage and red onions, among other foods.
Green cauliflower, also called broccoflower, apparently comes in several varieties, some of which could be mutants of cauliflower that produce chlorophyll or a hybrid between cauliflower and broccoli (they are both members of the same species).
Besides looking cool, colored cauliflower is actually more nutritious because of the aforementioned pigments. Plant pigments are often powerful antioxidants and anti-cancer agents, more the reason to eat colorful foods.
Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Cauliflower is High in Antioxidants
Cauliflower contains a ton of vitamin C and manganese, as well as carotenoids. Packs a punch in fighting free-radicals.
Cauliflower has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Due to its high vitamin K content, cauliflower helps to reduce inflammation. It also has omega-3 fatty acids, the same healthy fats found in salmon and flax seeds, but with the added bonus of practically no calories.
The average daily recommendation for fiber exceeds 25 grams. Eat some cauliflower and you’ll be contributing over 3 grams to your daily total, helping cleanse your digestive tract.
Increased Blood Flow
Cauliflower can help keep your blood flowing to essential organs of the body! It decreases chronic ailments such as atherosclerosis, a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.
It’s Vitamin Packed
Cauliflower boasts a cornucopia of B vitamins: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9 to be exact. That includes folic acid, so if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, be sure to add this vegetable to your weekly consumption.
Resource via: Full Circle Organic Produce
Cauliflower Fun Facts
- The cauliflower, or “cabbage flower,” originated over 2,000 years ago in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor region.
- Cauliflower belongs to the same family (Brassicaceae) of cruciferous vegetables as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy.
- Cauliflower is a low-calorie vegetable, high in fiber, folacin and potassium.
- Just one 1/2 cup serving of cauliflower provides 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C.
- Purple cauliflower is rich in tannins and best enjoyed raw or “al dente.”
- Cauliflower is a good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium.
- To preserve cauliflower, do not wash it until you’re going to use it.
- For great tasting cauliflower add 1 tsp of turmeric when adding the cauliflower to the skillet.