Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) is one of the cultivated varieties of the cabbage plant family and is closely related to broccoli. Unlike broccoli, the cauliflower's leaves cover the flower head as it grows, keeping the florets—small tightly packed buds that make up the head—from producing chlorophyll and turning green. Typically, only the large bud or head is eaten before it blossoms.
Cauliflower originated in Eurasia, and European colonists introduced it into America, where it was cultivated in gardens by the late 1600s. By the late 18th century, recipes were published in American cookbooks for boiling, frying, stewing, and pickling cauliflower. By the 19th century, cauliflower cookery expanded to include making white sauces and creamy soups. The florets can also be baked and browned in a cheese sauce and folded into omelets or salads. Raw cauliflower is served with dips.
There are also orange varieties of cauliflower, and some markets now sell a cauliflower-broccoli hybrid called the broccoflower, which is light green in color and milder and sweeter in flavor than either of its parents.
See also Broccoli; Brussels Sprout; Cabbage; Collard Greens; Kale
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