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Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of the younger members of the cabbage family of vegetables. The word cauliflower means cabbage flower. Cauliflower florets are the immature buds of a cauliflower plant's flower. Floret means "little flower."

Have you tried cauliflower? Do you like it? Many young people don't. They think it tastes icky and gross. Cauliflower does belong to a group of vegetables that people often do not like at all when they are young. But guess what? They also come to enjoy it a great deal as they get older. Broccoli — which we're also growing in this garden — also belongs to this group, as do brussels sprouts, which we are not growing here.

Origins

In the longer timeframe of agricultural history, cauliflower is a johnny come lately in its vegetable family. It got its start only 2,000+ years ago in Italy, where it was developed by the Romans as a new variety within the cabbage family.

How it's eaten

Cauliflower is eaten today raw, cooked, and pickled. Raw, it has a sweet, slightly spongy taste. Cooked, it tastes more mellow, sometimes a it nutty.

Because it contains a little sulfur, cauliflower can sometimes be a bit stinky when it's cooked. Steaming it tends to bring out less of the sulfur smell than if you boil it in water.

Finally, within the cabbage family, cauliflower and broccoli are very close relatives. People have crossbred the two and come up with something called broccoflower, a lime-green colored cauliflower that mixes the flavors of the two plants.