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Cauliflower

.]] Cauliflower is one of several vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea in the genus Brassica, which is in the family Brassicaceae. It is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. Typically, only the head is eaten – the edible white flesh sometimes called "curd" (similar appearance to cheese curd). The cauliflower head is composed of a white inflorescence meristem. Cauliflower heads resemble those in broccoli, which differs in having flower buds as the edible portion. Brassica oleracea also includes broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale, collectively called "cole" crops, though they are of different cultivar groups.

History

In the 1st century AD, Pliny included what he called cyma among his descriptions of cultivated plants in Natural History: "Ex omnibus brassicae generibus suavissima est cyma," ("Of all the varieties of cabbage the most pleasant-tasted is cyma"). Pliny's descriptions likely refer to the flowering heads of an earlier cultivated variety of Brassica oleracea, but comes close to describing modern cauliflower. It is found in the writings of the Arab botanists Ibn al-'Awwam and Ibn al-Baitar, in the 12th and 13th centuries when its origins were said to be Cyprus. François Pierre La Varenne employed chouxfleurs in Le cuisinier françois.Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham (1996) Savoring the Past: the French kitchen and table from 1300 to 1789, Touchstone, p. 118, . They were introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century, and are featured in Olivier de Serres' Théâtre de l'agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori "as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy",Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham (1996) Savoring the Past: the French kitchen and table from 1300 to 1789, Touchstone, p. 66, . but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV.Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne (2009) A History of Food, 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, pp. 625f, . It was introduced in India in 1822 from England by the British.

Etymology

The origin of the name is from the Latin word caulis (cabbage) and flower.

Horticulture

Cauliflower is relatively difficult to grow compared to cabbage, with common problems such as an underdeveloped head and poor curd quality.

Climate

As weather is a limiting factor for producing cauliflower, the plant grows best in cool daytime temperatures , with plentiful sun, and moist soil conditions high in organic matter and sandy soils. The earliest maturity possible for cauliflower is 7 to 12 weeks from transplanting. In the northern hemisphere, fall season plantings in July may enable harvesting before autumn frost. Long periods of sun exposure in hot summer weather may cause cauliflower heads to discolor with a red-purple hue.

Seeding and transplanting

Transplantable cauliflowers can be produced in containers as flats, hotbeds, or in the field. In soil that is loose, well-drained and fertile, field seedlings are shallow-planted and thinned by ample space (about 12 plants per . Ideal growing temperatures are about when seedlings are 25 to 35 days old. Applications of fertilizer to developing seedlings begins when leaves appear, usually with a starter solution weekly. Transplanting to the field normally begins late spring and may continue until mid-summer. Row spacing is about . Rapid vegetative growth after transplanting may benefit from such procedures as avoiding spring frosts, using starter solutions high in phosphorus, irrigating weekly, and applying fertilizer.

Disorders, pests and diseases

The most important disorders affecting cauliflower quality are a hollow stem, stunted head growth or buttoning, ricing, browning and leaf-tip burn. Among major pests affecting cauliflower are aphids, root maggots, cutworms, moths, and flea beetles. The plant is susceptible to black rot, black leg, club root, black leaf spot, and downy mildew.

Harvesting

When cauliflower is mature, heads appear as clear white, compact, and in diameter, and should be cooled shortly after harvest. Forced air cooling to remove heat from the field during hot weather may be needed for optimal preservation. Short-term storage is possible using cool, high-humidity storage conditions.

Classification and identification

Major groups

There are four major groups of cauliflower. ; Italian: This specimen is diverse in appearance, biennial and annual in type. This group also includes white, Romanesco, various brown, green, purple, and yellow cultivars. This type is the ancestral form from which the others were derived. ; Northern European annuals: Used in Europe and North America for summer and fall harvest, it was developed in Germany in the 18th century, and includes the old cultivars Erfurt and Snowball. ; Northwest European biennial: Used in Europe for winter and early spring harvest, this was developed in France in the 19th century, and includes the old cultivars Angers and Roscoff. ; Asian: A tropical cauliflower used in China and India, it was developed in India during the 19th century from the now-abandoned Cornish type, and includes old varieties Early Benaras and Early Patna.

Varieties

There are hundreds of historic and current commercial varieties used around the world. A comprehensive list of about 80 North American varieties is maintained at North Carolina State University.

Colours

; White: White cauliflower is the most common color of cauliflower having a contrasting white head (also called "curd") surrounded by green leaves. ; Orange: Orange cauliflower (B. oleracea L. var. botrytis) contains beta-carotene as the orange pigment, a provitamin A compound. This orange trait originated from a natural mutant found in a cauliflower field in Canada. Cultivars include 'Cheddar' and 'Orange Bouquet'. ; Green: Green cauliflower, of the B. oleracea botrytis group, is sometimes called broccoflower. It is available in the normal curd (head) shape and with a fractal spiral curd called Romanesco broccoli. Both have been commercially available in the U.S. and Europe since the early 1990s. Green-headed varieties include 'Alverda', 'Green Goddess' and 'Vorda'. Romanesco varieties include 'Minaret' and 'Veronica'. ; Purple: The purple color in this cauliflower is caused by the presence anthocyanins, water-soluble pigments that are found in many other plants and plant-based products, such as red cabbage and red wine. Varieties include 'Graffiti' and 'Purple Cape'. In Great Britain and southern Italy, a broccoli with tiny flower buds is sold as a vegetable under the name "purple cauliflower"; it is not the same as standard cauliflower with a purple head. File:Cauliflower broccoflower.jpg|White and green cauliflower File:Cauliflower romanesco.JPG|Green "Romanesco" cauliflower File:orange cauliflower.png|Orange cauliflower File:Purplec.png|Purple cauliflower

Production

In 2014, global production of cauliflowers (combined for production reports with broccoli) was 24.2 million tonnes, an 8% increase over 2013 world production. China and India together accounted for 74% of the total (table). Secondary producers, having 0.5–1.2 million tonnes annually, were the United States, Spain, Mexico and Italy.

Nutrition

100 grams of raw white cauliflower provides 25 calories, is low in fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and protein (table). It has a high content (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C and moderate levels (10-19% DV) of several B vitamins and vitamin K (table).

Phytochemicals

Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals, common in the cabbage family, that are under preliminary research for their potential properties, including isothiocyanates and glucosinolates.{{cite journal|journal=Breed Sci|year=2014|volume=64|issue=1|pages=48–59|doi=10.1270/jsbbs.64.48|title=Glucosinolate metabolism, functionality and breeding for the improvement of Brassicaceae vegetables|vauthors= Ishida M, Hara M, Fukino N, Kakizaki T, Morimitsu Y|pmid=24987290|pmc=4031110}} Boiling reduces the levels of cauliflower compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds.

Cooking

Cauliflower heads can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. When cooking, the outer leaves and thick stalks are typically removed, leaving only the florets (the edible "curd" or "head"). The leaves are also edible, but are most often discarded. The florets should be broken into similar-sized pieces so they are cooked evenly. After eight minutes of steaming, or five minutes of boiling, the florets should be soft, but not mushy (depending on size). Stirring while cooking can break the florets into smaller, uneven pieces. Cauliflower-based doughs for making pizza have been 3D printed.{{cite web | url = http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=9350&catId=1 | title = Vegan Cauliflower-Based Pizza Crust, Now in 3D |publisher = Veg news | accessdate = 21 April 2017}} File:Aloo gobi.jpg| Aloo gobi, an Indian dish prepared with cauliflower and potato File:Gekochter Blumenkohl.jpg|Cooked cauliflower

Fractal dimension

, a variant form of cauliflower]] Cauliflower has been noticed by mathematicians for its distinct fractal dimension,Walker, John. (2005-03-22) Fractal Food. Fourmilab.ch. Retrieved on 2013-09-03. Description of the Julia sets of the cabbage fractal. Iwriteiam.nl. Retrieved on 2013-09-03. predicted to be about 2.8. One of the fractal properties of cauliflower is that every branch, or "module", is similar to the entire cauliflower. Another quality, also present in other plant species, is that the angle between "modules," as they become more distant from the center, is 360 degrees divided by the golden ratio.

References

Further reading

External links

"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cauliflower&action=history
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