Cauliflower Power For The Body
Brad and Amy Smith grow exotic fruit on 30 acres, as well as vegetables on a quarter-acre in Moloaa. Brad has farmed since 1999, and the couple has farmed together for the last eight years.
What’s growing: Asparagus, avocados, atamoya, beets, carrots, chicu, cilantro, cream apple, jack-fruit, kale, lettuce, longan, lychee, mangosteen, onions (bulbing), rambutan, pak choy, parsley, pineapple, star fruit, tomatoes.
Cole crops are natural varieties of the species Brassica oleracea, which includes cauliflower. A compact head is composed of undeveloped flower buds, which are attached to a central stalk. The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, written by John Gerard in 1597, names cauliflower “Cole flowery.”
Besides white, cauliflower is available in shades of orange, green and purple. Orange and green cauliflower deliver heart-healthy beta-carotene, and green has a little more protein. Anthocyanins improve memory and make cauliflower purple, so eat it raw to get the most benefits.
Since cauliflower is rich in pectin – which is used to thicken jams and jellies -it makes a velvety, lowcarb soup and can be used to make gluten-free pizza crust.
Season: It takes 60 to 85 days to mature from a transplant. On Kauai, cauliflower is grown in the winter months, but too much water causes them to rot.
What to look for: Select cauliflower that is free from brown spots. Florets should be tightly interlocked.
Storage: Tightly wrapped, cauliflower will store in the refrigerator for up to one week. To freeze, prepare by dividing florets and blanching in boiling water with a squeeze of lemon juice for three minutes. Cool, package and freeze for up to one month.
Tip: Small leaves that cling to the head are delicate and can be cooked quickly. Dice large leaves and simmer until tender. The stalk, which is dense, white, crisp and tender, can be sliced thinly, sprinkled with sea salt and served as an appetizer.
Preparation: Milky cauliflower curds are mildly sweet and pair with delicate or bold flavors. Steamed cauliflower tossed in good butter, a little parsley and Hawaiian sea salt is simple and delicious. You also can pair cauliflower with strong flavors, such as aged cheese, a mustard butter, red pepper flakes, capers, green olives, saffron, curry spices, tomato sauce, feta cheese or garlic. Roasting cauliflower intensifies its flavor, but its true flavor is revealed when simmered with leeks in water.
Health benefits: Several dozen studies link cauliflower to the prevention of bladder, breast, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer. In one 2005 study, when cauliflower juice was added to breast cancer cells, they stopped growing. Cauliflower provides special nutrient support for the body’s detox system, its antioxidant system and its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in these systems increase risk of cancer. When imbalances in all three happen at the same time, the risk of cancer increases significantly.
Viva Rain produce can be found at: Grocery: Banana Joe’s Fruitstand, Papaya’s Natural Foods and Cafe, Harvest Market. Farmers Market: Waipa, Tuesdays at 2 p.m.; Kapaa, Wednesdays at 3 p.m.; Kilauea, Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.; Namahana, Saturdays at 9 a.m.; Hanalei, Saturdays 9:30 a.m. Restaurants: Monico’s Taqueria, Kintaro Japanese Restaurant, Kalypso Island Bar & Grill, Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe. For more information, call 346-3299 or email JusKruisin@hotmail.com.
Amy’s recipe is surprisingly flavorful when you consider there are only six ingredients, and that includes salt and pepper! I added parsley for extra nutrition and a little color. Serves four as a side dish.
* 1 small onion, diced
* 1 tablespoon coconut oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 head cauliflower
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, minced
Add butter and coconut oil to pan set over medium high heat. When butter simmers, add onion and sauté until translucent. Cut cauliflower into chunks and put in a food processor or blender. Pulse it until it breaks into rice-size pieces. Add to onions and stir until cauliflower is coated in oil. Reduce to medium low heat, cover for four minutes and then stir. Check for tenderness, toss in parsley and add salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Marta Lane is a Kauai-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.