Cauliflower, cultivar unknown
|Cultivar group||Botrytis cultivar group|
|Many; see text.|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||104 kJ (25 kcal)|
|- Sugars||1.9 g|
|- Dietary fiber||2 g|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.05 mg (4%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.06 mg (5%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.507 mg (3%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.667 mg (13%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.184 mg (14%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||57 μg (14%)|
|Vitamin C||48.2 mg (58%)|
|Vitamin E||0.08 mg (1%)|
|Vitamin K||15.5 μg (15%)|
|Calcium||22 mg (2%)|
|Iron||0.42 mg (3%)|
|Magnesium||15 mg (4%)|
|Manganese||0.155 mg (7%)|
|Phosphorus||44 mg (6%)|
|Potassium||299 mg (6%)|
|Sodium||30 mg (2%)|
|Zinc||0.27 mg (3%)|
|Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head (the white curd) is eaten. The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds.
For such a highly modified plant, cauliflower has a long history. François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois. They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres' Théâtre de l'agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori "as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy", but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV.
Classification and identification
There are four major groups of cauliflower.
- Diverse in appearance, and biennial and annual in type, this group includes white, Romanesco, various green, purple, brown and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived.
- Northwest European biennial
- Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century, and includes the old cultivars Roscoff and Angers.
- Northern European annuals
- Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball.
- A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type, and includes old varieties Early Patna and Early Benaras.
There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University.
- White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower.
- Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains 25% more vitamin A than white varieties. This trait came from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include 'Cheddar' and 'Orange Bouquet'.
- Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available both with the normal curd shape and a variant spiky curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both types have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-curded varieties include 'Alverda', 'Green Goddess' and 'Vorda'. Romanesco varieties include 'Minaret' and 'Veronica'.
- The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence of the antioxidant group anthocyanins, which can also be found in red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include 'Graffiti' and 'Purple Cape'. In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name "purple cauliflower". It is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple curd.
- Sulforaphane, a compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed, may protect against cancer.
- Other glucosinolates
- Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that enhances DNA repair, and acts as an estrogen antagonist, slowing the growth of cancer cells.
Boiling reduces the levels of these compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.
Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, or eaten raw. Steaming or microwaving better preserves anticancer compounds than boiling. 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.
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- Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne (2009) A History of Food, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, pp. 625f, ISBN 144430514X.
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- "Cauliflower Nutrient Data Table". USDA. 2003. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Breeding Better Broccoli: Research Points To Pumped Up Lutein Levels In Broccoli". Science Daily. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Broccoli chemical's cancer check". BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "How Dietary Supplement May Block Cancer Cells". Science Daily. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
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- Stephens, MJ (1998). "Secondary Edible Parts of Vegetables". Vegetarian 5.
- Walker, John. (2005-03-22) Fractal Food. Fourmilab.ch. Retrieved on 2013-09-03.
- Description of the Julia sets of the cabbage fractal. Iwriteiam.nl. Retrieved on 2013-09-03.
- Kim, Sang-Hoon. "Fractal Structure of a White Cauliflower". Journal of Korean physical society 46 (2): 474–477. arXiv:cond-mat/0409763.
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- Sharma, S.R, Singh, P.K., Chable, V. Tripathi, S.K. (2004). "A review of hybrid cauliflower development". Journal of New Seeds 6 (2–3): 151. doi:10.1300/J153v06n02_08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cauliflower.|
- PROTAbase on Brassica oleracea (cauliflower and broccoli)
- Fractal dimensions of a green broccoli and a white cauliflower (Kim) (PDF)
- Cultural information on cauliflower
- Orange Cauliflower Development
- Cabbages and Cauliflowers: How to Grow Them by James John Howard Gregory
- Cauliflower nutritional information