Cauliflower is popular for its crunch and slightly sweet taste, and it is really in a league of its own when it comes to nutritional value. What exactly makes it an excellent choice for everyone who takes care of their health?
Let’s start with the basics: 100 grams (or 1 cup) of raw cauliflower contains no fats, very few carbohydrates and only 25 calories. On the other hand, the same quantity of cauliflower offers you about 10% of the RDA (stands for ‘recommended daily allowance’) of dietary fiber that is highly beneficial to your intestinal health and substantial doses of vitamins C, K, B6 and folate. Cauliflower is rich in such minerals as potassium and manganese; it is full of water and helps you to stay well hydrated.
Cauliflower also contains choline: a phytonutrient that is reported to be important for brain development during the prenatal period. What’s more, according to a 2007 study, a diet that is rich in broccoli and cauliflower can significantly reduce risks of prostate cancer. While switching to a fruit and vegetable diet can help you to slim down, it is reasonable to decide on such non-starchy vegetables and fruits as string beans, apples and cauliflower. A 2015 study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that people who followed this strategy managed to achieve the best results and lose the most weight.
When choosing cauliflower, always look for heads that are firm and white and have no brown or yellow spots. (There are also green, orange and purple varieties of cauliflower; however, they are relatively rare.) Both large and small cauliflower heads are equally nutritious; thick green leaves that surround the head protect it and keep it fresh.
To remove insects and harmful pesticides, place your cauliflower upside down in the cold salt water and let it stay there for 15 minutes. Cut off the leaves; remove individual florets from the thick central stem so that they have similar size: this procedure will help you to cook all parts of your cauliflower at the same pace. If you have bought a small cauliflower head, you can cook it whole. Cauliflower should be stored with the stem side down in a perforated bag in the refrigerator: it will keep there for up to a week.
The best way to cook cauliflower is to leave it raw as cooking is known to destroy vitamin C and other nutrients. Slice or dice raw cauliflower florets and add them to salads to make your vegetable mixture crunchy. If you really want to cook cauliflower, you might decide on placing the florets in the steamer for 5-10 minutes so that they keep their shape. Cauliflower can be also boiled: it usually takes 10 minutes to prepare a whole cauliflower head, while florets normally require less time for cooking. Whether you boil or steam your vegetables, do not forget to test them with the tip of a knife: overcooked cauliflower will be unpleasantly soft and mushy. Also, remember that stirring the florets while cooking can lead to their breaking into smaller pieces.