Knock-knock. Who's there? Orange Cauliflower, that's who! The warm ochre cauliflower in the west coast TakeHome cases this week is still a relative rarity in the produce world. Sometimes also called Cheddar Cauliflower, it has no cheese flavor. This special variety originated from a Cornell University crucifer breeder in New York. As you may recall, cruciferous vegetables belong to the Brussels sprouts, kale, boc choy, and cabbage clan.
What's makes this cauliflower so great? The taste of course. Also the nutrients: the yellow/orange color in the cauliflower, just as in carrots, yams, and mangoes, comes from beta-carotene. Our bodies use beta-carotene to make Vitamin A, which supports our eyesight and overall immune system. Orange cauliflower contains a least 25% more beta-carotene than white cauliflower.
This cauliflower is a natural hybrid that took three decades to develop from a chance orange curd found in a field of white Brassica oleracea. This new vegetable is not GMO, but bred the old fashioned way. Hybrids occur naturally. Fruit and vegetables from the FruitGuys are never GMO.
Cut off leaves and hard stem. Break or cut into florets. Throw in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, strain and serve with butter, salt and pepper; or cook down for a copper-colored soup; or simply steam the florets and serve with peas or carrots as a color complement.
Fresh-picked veggies always taste best eaten as soon as possible when the nutrients are at their most potent. Cauliflower can be kept for up to five days in a loose plastic bag in the crisper section of the fridge. Keep stem down, head up so moisture does not collect in the florets.
- Heidi Lewis