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Autumn Fresh: Cauliflower

Autumn Fresh: Cauliflower | Mr Vitamins
One more month in Autumn and already some seasonal changes to our selection of fruit and vegetables are evolving.  Continuing on with our month-to-month guide to eating seasonal fruit and vegetables ensures you are getting a variety of not just your essential nutrients but also diverse and exciting fresh flavours throughout the year.

Which Fruit and Vegetables are Fresh in May and June?

Apples Avocados Custard apples Kiwifruit
Lemons Mandarins – Imperial Nashi Oranges – Navel
Pears Persimmons Pomegranates Quinces
Asian greens Broccoli Brussel sprouts Cabbages
Carrots Cauliflower Celery Cauliflower
Celery Celeriac Chestnuts Fennel
Ginger Leeks Mushrooms Okra
Parsnips Silverbeet Spinach Sweet potatoes
  In our March article in this series “Is your fresh food really fresh?” we talked about how you can get the best nutrients from your fresh fruit and vegetable choices. This month we’re going to focus on a well-known vegetable that is inexpensive and often overlooked. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family.  Other members of this family include broccoli, kale and cabbage.

What are the nutritional benefits of Cauliflower?

The humble cauliflower is often a good ingredient to throw into those winter vegetable soup stocks. Did you know that cauliflower is an excellent source of Vitamin C (perfect for this time of year when our immune systems are being challenged by the onset of the cold and flu season). Cauliflower is  a good source of folate, potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K and is low in kilojoules and high in fibre. It also contains bioflavonoids, indoles and other chemicals which can help to protect you against cancer.

Cauliflower PhotoWhat do you look for when buying Caluiflower?

Visual inspection helps with the selection of cauliflower. The head should be fresh looking with a firm snowy white head, called a “curd”, with compact florets. If it is fresh, it should still have the leaves attached and they will be crisp and green.

How do you store Cauliflower?

The best way to store cauliflower is with the stem side down in either a perforated paper bag or plastic bag in the refrigerator. This will help to prevent moisture loss from the florets and should keep for approximately one week.

How do you prepare Cauliflower?

Cauliflower should be washed under cold running water and gently scrubbed with a vegetable brush. If your cauliflower is not organically grown it is recommended to soak for a few minutes in cold water with a mild solution of additive free soap or a produce wash and then rinse well. To prepare cauliflower first remove the outer leaves, slice the florets at the base and prepare as desired.

How can you improve the flavour?

Cooking cauliflower correctly is essential not only to avoid nutrient loss but also to stop it from turning mushy and releasing sulfourous compounds associated with the unpleasant odour and bitter taste we often think of with cauliflower. Cauliflower needs to be cooked rapidly by steaming or boiling in just a minimum of water.

Serving Suggestions for Cauliflower

  • Raw cauliflower florets can be added to your favourite green salad.
  • Serve with broccoli florets; lightly steam, squeeze lemon juice over and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Slice cauliflower into thin slices, brush with olive oil and cook in oven.
  • Slice cauliflower into thin slices, brush with coconut oil and cook on barbecue.
  • Include in favourite fresh tomato sauce.
  • Cook cauliflower well, mash or puree, add sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and your favourite herbs.
  • Add small florets to your favourite soup.
  • Sauté in coconut oil, stir in a pinch of curry powder, cumin and ginger and top with toasted coconut.
  • Toss florets in olive oil, add sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and roast in oven at 400°C until golden brown.
  • Saute cauliflower, onion and garlic, cook in your favourite vegetable of meat stock and puree into a delicious soup. Sprinkle with chopped chives or lightly roasted almonds.
Article by Janne Ramsay | Naturopath