When you think of cauliflower, you probably picture the white variety – a crisp and crunchy cruciferous vegetable in the cabbage family. But did you know that cauliflower has several other colorful varieties?
- White cauliflower is the most common and lacks pigment because thick leaves shield the head (also called the curd) from sunlight. Therefore, it produces no chlorophyll (the “green” in green vegetables).
- Orange cauliflower is a cross between white cauliflower and a Canadian swamp vegetable. This variety has more vitamin A but tastes virtually the same as white cauliflower.
- Green cauliflower is a white cauliflower and broccoli hybrid with a slightly sweeter flavor.
- Purple cauliflower grows wild in Italy and gets its pigmentation from the same antioxidant found in red wine.
- Chartreuse Romanesco is a variety of cauliflower from Italy with pointy florets and a deep nutty flavor.
Regardless of which variety you choose, cauliflower has a mild, cabbage-like flavor and can be eaten raw or steamed, boiled, braised or roasted. It pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients and seasonings and makes a wonderful addition to just about any cuisine.
When shopping for cauliflower, choose heads that are compact, vibrant and heavy for their size. The freshest heads of cauliflower will have thick, bright green leaves. Once you get it home, it can be stored in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.