Botanical name: Brassica oleracea
Cauliflower is one of many crucifers, including broccoli, cabbage, and kale, and is named for its cross-shaped stems. White, purple, green, or pale orange in color, it's one of those amazingly versatile veggies that shows up raw on relish plates, sautéed in stir fries, pickled with baby onions, roasted on shish kabobs, and even processed to resemble mashed potatoes. It's a good mixer with other cooked vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli.
When purchasing cauliflower, look for firm heads with no brown or soft yellow spots on the surface. Place heads upside down in a large bowl of cold salt water for about 15 minutes to make sure any insects or harmful pesticides are removed.
Cauliflower has a delightfully fresh flavor and a satisfying crunch. One of its best nutritional aspects is the high daily value of vitamin C it delivers in one serving - an impressive 77%. Cauliflower is also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, and phosphorus, and a very good source of fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, 303 milligrams of potassium, and manganese.
The “brainy”-looking cauliflower heads contain numerous phytonutrients, such as indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane that may help prevent prostate, ovarian, and cervical cancers. 1
One of the most dramatic studies to emerge in January of 2012 is the prostate cancer-preventing capabilities of cauliflower when sprinkled with turmeric. 2 This is reportedly due to the naturally-occurring substance phenethyl isothiocyanate in certain vegetables.
According to the study, while prostate cancer is the second-highest cause of cancer death in men in the U.S., the incidence of this disease is very low in India, where this combination of foods is common.
Further, cauliflower is also mentioned as one of several cruciferous vegetables that, when eaten, may lower the risk of colon and lung cancer, as well as inhibit prostate cancer recurrence. 3
Mark Twain once wrote, "Training is everything. A peach was once a bitter almond; a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education."
Another delicious cruciferous vegetable with an impressive number of ways to prepare it, cauliflower packs a vitamin C punch and has the distinction of potentially preventing certain cancers and cancer recurrence. Serve it as a snack to munch on, combine with other veggies in stir fries, or add to soups and stews.
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