Cauliflower, like broccoli and cabbage, belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, which has been shown to be effective in fighting certain forms of cancer. Cauliflower is so closely related to broccoli that both are designated as the same variety of the cruciferous family.

As a member of the cruciferous family, it shares not only the wonderful phytochemicals to help fight diseases but also the same sulfurous compounds that can emit odors and stink up your kitchen. The smell becomes stronger the longer you cook the cauliflower so it is important not to overcook it. It is equally important not to undercook it, which affects the vegetable’s flavor.

Cauliflower likes cool moist areas, so the foggy coastal climates of the California central coast and the coastal areas of New York are prime cauliflower growing areas. California is the leading supplier followed by Arizona. New York, Michigan, Oregon, and Texas.

Selection and Storage:
Choose cauliflower with white or creamy white tightly packed heads, without loose or spreading florets. Cauliflower usually comes wrapped in plastic, so it is important to inspect the greens that wrap the underneath and sides of the cauliflower like giant hands. These are called the jacket leaves of the cauliflower, and should be green and fresh looking, without yellowing or withering. Another indicator of freshness is the firmness of the bottom. If it is soft, the cauliflower is no longer fresh.

The size of the curd (also called the head) does not affect quality. Sometimes the curds will have a purplish tint or granular appearance, which does not affect the flavor or quality. Avoid any heads with black specks, browning, or other blemishes.

Cauliflower should be placed in a plastic bag and stored in your refrigerator crisper. When stored properly, cauliflower will last up to five days; however, it is best when eaten within three days.

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