Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Mighty Caulis-Floris

Each year the people who like to eat healthy seem to concentrate on rejuvenating one ancient vegetable. 
These folks are taking the time and trouble to educate us on all the goodness of it, eventually hoping that by the end of the year, after sharing every tiny detail of its health benefit we are clever enough to get that particular vegetable to be a part of our lifestyle.

With Kale now being an intrinsic part of my daily life, we are ready to face the mighty cauliflower. The Caulis or the stem has the higher share of the magical stuff. The floris or the flower takes its share from the root itself. Like everything else the raw vegetable gives you the maximum benefit.

Unsure of its true origins, there is a toss up between the 12th century Arab gardeners or the Romans almost a 1000 years prior. Commonly found over the soils of the Eastern Mediterranean region, the Spaniards and the Italians still include it in their daily diet. The Medici and other Royals from France and Italy displayed many an elegant dish at their Royal feasts made up of this flower-head. It is believed there is a chance that it originated in Cyprus as the French often referred to it as Chou de Chypre!

Imagination is a wonderful artform of the human mind; and taking a moment to stare at the Mighty Cauliflower suggests it is a clever vegetable. The hard rooted white base holds the delicately grape-like clusters of flowers while the strong green leaves naturally protect the delicate florets! Nature, it seems, is a genius.

Trivia:
The French call it a chou-fleur ; literal translation is cabbage flower.
Not all cauliflowers are white and green; there is an all-green variety and a purple one as well.
Canada has started growing an orange one, which has 25 times more Vitamin A then any other. 
Unlike other vegetables, the size does not affect the taste but age does. Be sure to find a young one.
Frost destroys the crop; yet it is a spring vegetable that takes 75 days to grow.

Health Benefits:
It helps alleviate arthritis pain and it is known to prevent prostate cancer 

It is now the right time to help bring this inexpensive and highly nutritious vegetable back to its former glory in our home kitchens. Let us start putting its reputation for being bland and tasteless behind and reform our ways to make this humble frowned upon floret into everything delicious.

For more Parsi Food recipes and its history and origin read my cookbook 
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

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