Cauliflower is versatile and the most purchased vegetable around the world. The Botanical or Scientific Name of cauliflower is Brassica oleracea (Botrytis group). The plant size is approx 12 to 30 inches tall, 12 to 24 inches wide. The cauliflower plant type is biennial. Europe (Northeast Mediterranean) is a native area of this crop. The white-colored part of cauliflower is called curd.
Cauliflower is similar to broccoli in flavor. It is a major source of minerals such as potassium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, etc. It is grown in temperate subtropical and tropical parts. In comparison to other green-colored varieties in the cruciferous family, cauliflower is rich in nutrients.
It can be grown in any kind of soil, only if there is good fertility. In cauliflower, the edible parts are curd, stem, and leaf but 45% of people only eat curd. In India, the production of the crops is from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Karnataka.
Species: B. oleracea
Production and management of cauliflower
- Cauliflower is an annual crop that reproduces by seeds.
- This crop requires water irrigation every third day till seedlings grow.
- To maintain the white colour of the crop, curd heads are tied with leaves.
- Soil should contain potassium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorous, boron, molybdenum, manganese, and nitrogen for the good production of cauliflower.
- Cauliflower harvest season begins in late July and finishes in late October, depending on the weather.
- Cauliflower keeps for 2 to 6 weeks at 0 0 C and 95% relative humidity.
- Natural bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis is beneficial to protect cauliflowers from insects.
- To reduce the risk of damage, the heads of cauliflowers are packed in a single layer.
Different colours of cauliflower
Cauliflowers have mainly four colours. They are-
- Purple cauliflower – It has many benefits and is known for being the healthiest. It is purple because of the presence of anthocyanins. It helps in curing cardiovascular diseases, cancer problems, and inflammation too.
- White cauliflower – This cauliflower has white curd surrounded by some green leaves. It is easy to find in any of the grocery stores. People purchase this breed daily.
- Orange cauliflower – It has orange color in it due to the presence of beta carotene, the antioxidant present in carrots. In comparison to other colored cauliflower, orange is the healthiest one. It is often known as cheddar as the color is similar to cheese but not the taste. The flavor of the cauliflower is mild and sweet.
- Green cauliflower – This Green cauliflower contains chlorophyll in it. It is also known as “broccoflower.” It is similar to broccoli to cauliflower. It is more fibrous like broccoli in its texture. Green cauliflowers have a tad sweeter and milder taste than their cousin’s cauliflowers.
Varieties of cauliflower
- Attribute Hybrid – It is the very first variety of cauliflowers. The curd is smooth and white. The diameter is approximately seven inches. It is buttery and savoury in taste. For self-blanching leaves are present around the cauliflower.
- Cheddar Hybrid – It comes in an orange variety. This hybrid contains nutritious beta-carotene. The curd diameter is between 4 inches to 7 inches and is smooth in texture. It has a mild and sweet flavour.
- Depurple Hybrid – It is the unique cauliflower of purple florets. The curd head of this breed is 6-7 inches dense and contains antioxidant anthocyanins. It has the flavor of butter and nuts. Some of the depurple hybrid on cooking changes to color green.
- Early White Hybrid – It is the fastest-growing, Early White Hybrid.The head of this cauliflower measures up to approx 9 inches. It is a firm and classic mild cauliflower.
- Flame Star Hybrid – It is paler than cheddar types cauliflower. This orange hybrid grows in 55-60 days. Its curd head is dense, firm, and smooth. The diameter of the head is approx 7 inches. It does not need any blanching. In taste, it is sweet in flavor.
- Sicilian Violet– It is an Italian heirloom. This breed has a deep purple head with a diameter of approx 6-7 inches. It is insect resistant. Sicilian Violet contains antioxidant anthocyanins. Blanching is not needed.
- Veronica Romanesco Hybrid – This hybrid is a combination of cauliflower and broccoli. Its plant height reaches 24 inches. It is also called broccoflower. It is resistant to fungal disease and heat.
Benefits of cauliflower
- The antioxidants(Vitamin C and K, manganese) present in it helps in fighting heart disease and cancer.
- It helps to maintain colorectal health.
- Cauliflower is good for the digestive system too.
- For losing and maintaining weight, it can be useful.
- Reduce the risk of diabetes and kidney problems.
- It can be a low-calorie substituent diet.
- Choline present in it helps with sleep and memory.
Cauliflower is the most purchased vegetable. It is known for its benefits and goodness. It has different varieties and colours. The combination of antioxidants and phytochemicals helps in reducing inflammation and the risk of life-threatening diseases.