Cauliflower is a nutrient rich vegetable that is excellent for supporting a strong immune system and optimum health.
Cauliflower is incredibly high in vitamin C, K, and B-complex and minerals such as boron, calcium, molybdenum, and tryptophan. It is also a good source of high quality protein that is easily assimilated into the body.
Cauliflower contains powerful anti-cancer compounds such as indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane which are particularly beneficial for helping to prevent breast, cervical, ovarian, colon, stomach, and prostate cancers.
Cauliflower also contains a compound called Di-indolyl-methan (DIM) which has been shown to be effective in the treatment of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and cervical dysplasia.
Cauliflower also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties due to its omega-3 and vitamin K content and is an essential food for those trying to prevent chronic inflammation as in fibromyalgia, hepatitis, arthritis, cardiomyopathy, cystic fibrosis, IBS, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Cauliflower has also been found to help protect the lining of the stomach which is vital for preventing bacterial overgrowth of H. Pylori in the stomach.
Cauliflower is also known to be an effective detoxifier for the liver and spleen and can aid in cleansing toxins from the blood, lymph, tissues, and organs.
Raw cauliflower is an excellent alternative to white rice and can be made by placing cauliflower into a food processor and grinding until it reaches a rice-like texture.
This can then be used in nori rolls or as a base to a grain-free tabouli salad with fresh chopped tomato, scallions, cilantro or parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil or avocado.
Cauliflower can be enjoyed steamed, sautéed, or roasted.
Spices such as turmeric, ginger, red pepper flakes, and paprika mix exceedingly well with cauliflower and provide a nutritional and medicinal boost.
Cauliflower has a very mild flavor so spicy dishes can be fun and tasty as in these buffalo cauliflower bites, pictured.
Cauliflower can also be made in to a bread alternative, as it can be made in to flat breads, tortillas, breads and can also be made in to gluten-free pizza crusts.
Cauliflower can be readily found at your local grocery and health food stores.
Cauliflower is a cool-season crop and a descendant of the common cabbage. It is more difficult to than its relatives because it does not tolerate the heat or cold as well. For this reason, cauliflower is usually grown commercially.
If you plant to attempt growing cauliflower in the home garden, it requires consistently cool temperatures with temperatures in the 60s. Otherwise, it prematurely “button”—form small button-size heads—rather than forming one, nice white head.
Select a site with at least 6 hours of full sun. Soil needs be very rich in organic matter; add mature compost to the soil before planting. Fertile soil holds in moisture to prevent heads from “buttoning.”
Test your soil! (Get a soil test through your cooperative extension office.) The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 6.8.
Start cauliflower from seeds 4 to 5 weeks before the plants are needed. Plant the seeds in rows 3 to 6 inches apart and ¼ to ½ of an inch deep.
Do not forget to water the seeds during their germination and growth. Once they become seedlings, transplant them to their permanent place in the garden.
It is best to start cauliflower from transplants rather than seeds. Transplant 2 to 4 weeks before the average frost date in the spring, no sooner and not much later.
Space the transplants 18 to 24 inches apart with 30 inches between rows. Use starter fertilizer when transplanting.
Plant fall cauliflower about the same time as fall cabbage. This is usually 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost and also need to be after the temperature is below 75 degrees F.
In early spring, be ready to cover your plants with old milk jugs or protection if needed. For fall crops, shade them if they need protection from the heat.
Add mulch to conserve moisture. Make sure that the plants have uninterrupted growth. Any interruption can cause the plants to develop a head prematurely or ruin the edible part completely.
Note that the cauliflower will start out as a loose head and it takes time for the head to form.
Many varieties take at least 75 to 85 days from transplant. Be patient.
When the curd (the white head) is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, tie the outer leaves together over the head with a rubber band, tape, or twine. This is called blanching, and it protects the head from the sun and helps you get that pretty white color.
The plants are usually ready for harvest 7 to 12 days after blanching.
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