Cauliflower is the perfect winter veggie, but it’s a tough one for casual gardeners to grow. This cool-season crop requires temperatures steady in the 60s. Otherwise you’ll wind up with a bunch of tiny button-like heads instead of nice large ones. If you’ve mastered the art of growing this cousin of the cabbage, we salute you! If not, we still encourage eating in-season veggies by picking up a nice, creamy cauliflower head at your local farmer’s market. Try making a simple dish like this roasted parmesan cauliflower. Whether you’re growing or eating this lovely vegetable, you can benefit from learning a little more about what makes it so unique and good for you! Here are 6 fun facts to get you started:
1. Low calorie & nutritious. 1/4 cup of cooked cauliflower contains only 15 calories but 45% of your daily value of vitamin C.
2. Cauliflower is part of the Brassica oleracea family. Its relatives include kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts.
3. Mysterious origins. There are two competing theories when it comes to cauliflower’s origins. The French are convinced its roots lay in Cyprus. For this reason they once called it choux de Chypre, meaning Cyprus cabbages. Naturally, those from Cyprus take credit for the cauliflower’s existence and introduction into our diets. If you ask anyone outside France or Cyprus, you’ll find the rest of the world attributes cauliflower to the Middle East. Many believe the Arabs kept this vegetable growing during Europe’s dark ages, later re-exposing Europeans to its wonders.
4. Latin roots. In Latin, the word caulis means stalk or stem, which may explain the English tendency to identify this veggie by abbreviating its name.
5. Bigger is better. Got a big cauliflower on your hands? That means big flavor. If leaves look healthy, that’s also a great sign, as florets will be in a similar condition.
6. Vibrant colors. The traditional cauliflower know and love is a creamy white hue, but this vegetable actually comes in a palette of bright colors. Purple and orange caulifower are delicious and healthy in their own unique ways. The purple variety is the healthiest of the bunch, but the orange kind offers a rich, sweet flavor.