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Celeriac »« Carrots


Brassica oleracea, Botrytis group

Photo courtesy of Horticulture New Zealand


Cauliflower has a poor reputation for being soggy and bland, but like many often-maligned vegetables, this is only the case when it’s overcooked.

A member of the same family as broccoli, cauliflower has a similar appearance, though the florets are typically white, and the head is more tightly packed.

As with broccoli, there are a number of varieties of cauliflower. More than 100 varieties exist, including yellow and purple ones, but white is the most common to find in the supermarket. Broccoflower is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and closely resembles cauliflower in appearance and taste, except for its bright green head.

Choose a cauliflower on which the florets are tightly packed, without discolouration. Store in the fridge.

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and fibre, as well as providing a number of other nutrients.



Like other members of the Brassica oleracea family, cauliflower is derived from a wild cabbage, native to the Mediterranean, and was selectively bred to take on its modern appearance. By the 16th century it had gained popularity in western Europe, and appears in La Varennes’ Le cuisinier françois, which was published in 1651 and is widely acknowledged to be the founding text of French cuisine.


Cauliflower is usually steamed, either whole or cut into florets. Place in a steamer or colander over a saucepan of boiling water, and cook until just tender – overcooking causes it to go watery and soggy. It can also be served raw, or pickled.

One of the best comfort foods out is cauliflower cheese – make a cheese sauce by melting butter, adding flour to make a roux, and add milk little by little, stirring with each addition until the sauce boils, until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and add grated cheese. Stir in steamed cauliflower. Cauliflower cheese is excellent on cold winter nights as an accompaniment for baked potatoes.

If you don’t like cheese sauce, or you’re watching the waistline, steamed cauliflower works equally well in a basic tomato sauce, made by sautéing onions and garlic, adding herbs, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a can of tomatoes, and simmering until thick and tasty.


The name ‘cauliflower’ comes from the Latin cauli, meaning ‘cabbage’.

Cauliflower is sensitive to ethylene gas, so avoid storing it with produce that gives off this gas, such as apples, pears, and tomatoes.

People with thyroid problems should avoid eating too much cauliflower or cabbage, as they can interfere with the body’s absorption of iodine.

Along with broccoli, cauliflower is a naturally occurring fractal – a geometric shape that can be split into parts that are a close copy of the whole shape.

Celeriac »« Carrots


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