Cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family, also called the cruciferous family. Other members include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy.
It is thought that cauliflower originated in China and the Middle East. Heads were originally only about the size of a tennis ball. Cauliflower can come in white, purple, orange, and green, though white is the most common.
To prepare, trim away the coarse bottom leaves and the thickest part of the stalk. You can leave the rest of the stalk if you like it, trim it all off if you don’t. You can roast or steam your cauliflower whole, or break it into smaller parts to cook. A shorter cooking time is the best way to preserve the flavor and texture of your cauliflower. The shorter time also helps to avoid the common cruciferous issue of a too-strong smell during cooking.
When steaming whole, start testing it at about 8 to 10 minutes, be sure to pull it off the heat while it still has some crunch. Cauliflower can also be roasted with olive oil in a 425° oven, or cut into florets and added to a stir fry. You can save the leaves for use in vegetable stock or even as an ingredient in a soup. To take the edge off for use in salads or stir fries, cook the veggie very lightly, until it is about half way done, and then plunge it into ice cold water to refresh its crispness.
Store your cauliflower in a plastic or paper bag in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh under ideal storage for about a week. If you don’t mind loosing some of the crispness, you can blanch your cauliflower for three to four minutes, let it cool and then transfer it to freezer safe containers for freezer storage and later use.