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Cauliflower
Brassicaceae
Brassica oleracea botrytis


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Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Brassicaceae Family

Brassica Genus

Location

Originated in Asia

Physical Description
Cauliflower is a single-stalked, half-hardy, biennial member of the cole, or cabbage, family. It's grown as an annual, and the edible flower buds form a solid head that may be white, green, or purple. Cauliflower is more restricted by climatic conditions than other cole family members. It's less adaptable to extremes of temperature. Consisting of a compact terminal mass of greatly thickened, modified, and partially developed flower structures, together with their embracing fleshy stalks. This terminal cluster forms a firm, white, succulent "curd" that is served as a cooked vegetable and is highly nutritious.

Look for firm, compact heads without brown spots. If the leaves (which are edible) are still attached, they should be fresh and green. 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. The green leaves at the base are also edible, but take longer to cook and have a stronger flavor than the curd.




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Brassicaceae
Brassicales
Brassicales
Order of Mustard
Eumalvids
Real Mallows
Malvidae
Mallow Class
Eurosids
Real Rose Class
Rosids
Rosids
Rose-Like Class
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

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.
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.

Medicinal Uses: A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances

According to folklore, cauliflower is said to be beneficial for mental function, because of its similar appearance to the brain. Cauliflower is cooling, antioxidant, alterative and helps move stagnation in the body and clear heat in the lungs. Cauliflower is believed to reduce the risk of colon and stomach cancer due to its presence of anticancer compounds, including indoles and sulforaphane that enhances enzyme activity that neutralizes carcinogenic substances, so they are unable to attack cells and transform them into cancerous substances. Cauliflower also helps the body metabolize excess estrogen, helping to curb breast cancer as well as, fibrocystic breast disease. It has also been used to treat acne, asthma, bladder and kidney disorders, constipation, high blood pressure, gout, and obesity. Consumed raw, it helps improve bleeding gums.

Food Uses: Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, or eaten raw. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are removed, leaving only the florets. The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). Stirring while cooking can break the florets into smaller, uneven pieces. Cauliflower is often served with a cheese sauce

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.

Other Notes: In Mark Twain's words, "cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education."



Cauliflower


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