Le mot chou-fleur vient du latin et fait partie de la famille des cruciferous qui comprend entre autres: les choux kale others cabbage, kale, turnips, radishes, arugula and broccoli. It is a very versatile vegetable, a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. It is also rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, two naturally occurring compounds thought to prevent chronic diseases. Its properties help strengthen bones, boost the cardiovascular system and prevent cancers.
Cauliflower originated in Asia from the wild cabbage. It evolved over the millenia and appeared in Turkey and Italy around 600 b.c. It is known that the Romans grew cauliflower. It was later cultivated in Northern Europe. Today, large quantities of cauliflower are grown in the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, India and China.
When growing, cauliflower resembles to broccoli. However, while broccoli opens outward to sprout green florets, cauliflower forms a compact head of undeveloped flower buds. The buds are protected from sunlight by the heavy green leaves that surround the head. This prevents chlorophyll from developing, so the head remains white. Through selective breeding, other varieties of coloured cauliflower became available, such as orange, purple and green which share similar nutritional benefits as the white ones.
Cauliflower florets, leaves and stalks are all edible. They can be cooked, eaten raw or used to make a soup stock.
A cup of cooked cauliflower provides 73% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, 19 % of the daily vitamin K amount and 8 % of the daily manganese amount.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of raw cauliflower cut in half pieces, and weighing around 107 grams, contains:
2 grams (g) of protein
0.3 grams of fat
5 g of carbohydrate, including 2.1 g of fibre and 2 g of sugar
24 milligrams (mg) of calcium
16 mg of magnesium
47 mg of phosphorus
320 mg of potassium
51.6 mg of vitamin C
16.6 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K
0.197 mcg of vitamin B6
61 mcg of folate
Steaming is probably the most common way to cook cauliflower. Here are some other ways to enjoy this beautiful and rich vegetable:
- Cut it up and eat it raw, plain or mashed into a hummus paste.
- Use it as the main ingredient to make curries or velvet soups with potatoes and other veggies.
- Stir fry or roast it with a small amount of olive oil, then added to rice dishes.
- Make mashed cauliflower as an alternative for mashed potatoes.