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Cauliflower has been a much-ignored vegetable in the past. Growing up, most of us didn’t like the steamed, tasteless florets served as a side to some main course dishes. However, the vegetable gained extreme popularity lately due to its numerous culinary adaptations.
Moreover, cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C and has a nutrient profile that can fit easily into any type of diet.
About the taste, cauliflower certainly doesn't have the most palatable taste. We all grew up not liking it too much due to its mildly sweet, nutty flavor that leaves quite a strong bitter aftertaste which can linger on the tongue.
However, the vegetable's nutrient profile has only one label—Exceptional. And that makes eating cauliflower worth it. So, what makes cauliflower so special? Read ahead to know all about cauliflower.
Cauliflower belongs to the mustard family of plants and grows through seeds. The head of the plant is used as a vegetable and is covered in leaves when it is growing.
The cauliflower family has many other green vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. All of these vegetables have their health benefits, and so does cauliflower.
The 100 grams of white cauliflower florets contain vitamin C that supplies 58% of our daily requirement. In addition, cauliflower only has 0.3 grams of fat per 100 grams serving, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are watching out their fat intake.
You can expect this highly nutritious vegetable in many forms. People are making pizza crust out of it, using it as an alternative to chicken in recipes like cauliflower Manchurian and dynamite cauliflower.
The culinary experimentation is crazy, and the good part is that it mostly tastes delicious.
What does cauliflower taste like?
If you have never tried cauliflower before, expect a crunchy vegetable with a mildly sweet flavor. However, once you're done chewing it, you will feel a slightly bitter taste in your mouth that can stay there. The sweetness of cauliflower has an undertone of nuttiness and an earthy spike to it.
You can taste all these flavors more thoroughly if you're eating it raw—however, the flavors of cauliflower blend quite well with the flavors of any other ingredient.
Due to the vegetable's culinary versatility and high demand, countries such as China grow millions of tonnes of cauliflower per year.
Where does cauliflower come from?
According to Arab botanists, cauliflower originated in the land of Cyprus. From there, it traveled to France, and now, it grows in the largest quantities in the Asian regions of China and India.
An interesting fact about the cauliflower plant is that it is the same plant that grows green vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. All these plants are cruciferous vegetables because their flowers resemble a cross (they all have four petals).
The literal meaning of the word cauliflower is 'cabbage flower', and it is actually closely related to cabbage.
Although eaten as a vegetable, cauliflower is a cluster of unbloomed flowers and their stalks (yes, the florets are the flowers of the cauliflower plant).
Grown in a moderate temperature environment, the cauliflower plant needs exposure to sun and nutrient-rich soil to grow.
If these growing conditions are not provided to the plant, the white heads can grow bad or have stunted growth.
Ways to cook cauliflower
No matter how you cook it, cauliflower is delicious. Although sunlight exposure can make it bitter in the off seasons, you can enjoy its true crunch in winter and fall.
You can eat the florets from a head of cauliflower raw by only dipping them in a dressing or dip of your choice. If raw cauliflower is not your thing, there are three primary ways to cook cauliflower. All these different ways yield delicious servings of cauliflower and can be incorporated to create versatile cauliflower recipes. Let's have a look at the cooking methods:
The steaming process is the same for cauliflower as for any other vegetable. You need to cut the cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces.
Place the pieces in your steamer basket and place them in the steamer. The florets take roughly ten minutes to get chewy tender.
If you don't have a steamer, the easiest way is to use the double boiler technique. The technique requires boiling water in a pot and placing another (preferably porous) pot on the boiling water pot.
The vegetable will get tender in a while (though the technique may require more time than a regular steamer). It's even possible to steam cauliflower in the microwave.
When steamed, you can drizzle some lemon juice and sprinkle some black pepper on the florets to enjoy them as a snack or a side.
Roast in the oven
Roasting cauliflower is another great way to enjoy the vegetable. The golden-brown crunch on the edges of the florets is to die for.
To get evenly roasted cauliflower, you need to cut bite-sized cauliflower florets and toss them with some olive.
Preparing your oven and baking dish are crucial steps of the process. Once the cutting is done and you have tossed the vegetable in olive oil, you can keep it on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the oven.
Bake the florets for around 15-20 minutes or until their edges turn light golden brown.
You can season these delicious cauliflower florets with only salt and pepper or sprinkle parmesan cheese to get supreme flavors out of the versatile cauliflower.
Air frying the cauliflower yields similar results as oven-roasted cauliflower recipes. The only difference is the crisp that an air fryer imparts to the yummy florets.
The air frying method is simple. Cut and prepare the cauliflower florets by seasoning them with the spices of your choice. You can use red pepper or paprika powder, some salt and some black pepper.
Once seasoned, toss the florets in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and spread them on the air fryer’s cooking chamber. Set the air fryer as per the vegetable cooking setting and keep flipping the florets every couple of minutes to get evenly cooked crispy cauliflower.
You can have these delicious cauliflower florets as a side dish to your steaks or munch them on their own to fill that empty tummy.
How to eat cauliflower
Apart from the cooking techniques, there are several ways to eat cauliflower.
A yummy, hearty and healthy way of eating cauliflower is to mash it. Cauliflower mash is considered a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes.
The difference? While mashed potato blasts your system with calories, mashed cauliflower doesn’t.
Boil the cauliflower florets and let them strain. Mash them in a blender or food processor and season them with the flavors of your choice. You’re done with smooth, buttery mashed cauliflower. Tada!
Cauliflower rice gained popularity through social media since they are a low-calorie alternative to white rice and a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your daily diet.
All you need to do is a box grater or you can blitz the floret in a chopper and steam the final product with some oil in a covered pan.
Seasoning the cauliflower rice depends on you. You can add a dash of salt or a splash of soy sauce to your final dish.
You can add raw cauliflower to any of the salads you make. Use dressings like olive oil and add ingredients such as boiled chickpeas to enjoy a hearty cauliflower salad. Not only raw, but you can also add steamed cauliflower florets to the salads of your choice to get that extra kick and crunch.
Cauliflower soups are delicious without a hint of doubt. You can oven roast or steam your cauliflower and add it to a creamy, thick soup using chicken or vegetable stock as its base.
If you’re not a fan of thick, buttery soups, you can add cauliflower florets to your clear vegetable soups to enhance the flavor.
Fun cauliflower facts
- You can find 3D printed cauliflower pizza crust around the world.
- Cauliflower ice cream exists. Yes, that’s right! And it tastes delicious.
- Each floret of the cauliflower has the same shape as a whole head.
- Green cauliflower is different from broccoli and is produced by crossing cauliflower and broccoli.
- You can get discolored cauliflower in an iron or aluminum pan because the vegetable chemically reacts with some metals.
Cauliflower is a low-calorie, versatile vegetable produced and consumed worldwide. You can use its multiple health benefits by keeping it in your diet. Grown in temperate regions, cauliflower is a sensitive vegetable to grow.
The farmers need to take extra care of these cabbage flowers as they change color if exposed to too much sunlight. Moreover, if the soil is not nutrient-rich, the cauliflower heads do not grow properly.
Apart from growing them, there are several ways to include cauliflower in your diet and numerous ways to consume this crunchy vegetable. However, keep the last fun cauliflower fact in your mind while consuming it.