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School Nutrition Blog

Cooking with Cauliflower

It is officially summer time, which means that cauliflower is now in season. Here at Whitsons, we want to make sure that you get the most out of this amazing vegetable.

Cauliflower is one of many vegetables in the species Brassica oleracea, in the Brassicaceae family which also includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens. Cauliflower is highly nutritious and can be enjoyed cooked, raw or even pickled.

How to Buy: There are certain qualities to look for when choosing cauliflower at the grocery store. First, try to pick those with compact, off-white curds that have bright green, firmly attached leaves. Stay away from those with brown spots or loose sections that are more spread out. If you are planning on buying purple, green, or orange cauliflower, they should appear uniform in color. If the cauliflower has a strong smell then it will most likely have an unpleasant taste as well.

Handling and Storage: When you buy cauliflower at the store it usually comes in tightly wrapped cellophane (that helps to trap moisture), which can, in turn, make the cauliflower go bad at a faster rate. After you get home from the grocery store, it is helpful to unwrap it and transfer it to a sealed plastic bag; add a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. It is also important to store stem side down to prevent any access moisture from collecting in the florets, which could cause the head to spoil faster as well. Cauliflower should be stored in the refrigerator between 4-7 days. If you are already buying precut florets, then they should be stored for no more than 4 days. Directly before use, it is important to rinse the cut up pieces of cauliflower in a colander to remove any of the excess dirt. You can use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to pat them dry before cooking.  It’s important to not overcook Cauliflower; cook it just until tender to preserve the flavor and texture.

Nutritional Value: There is plenty of nutrients present in this vegetable! The first one is Vitamin C. This vitamin is important because it promotes skin and brain health; it is also powerful because it helps prevent us from becoming sick. It is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. Lastly, this vitamin helps in keeping your bones and teeth healthy, as well as increases the absorption of iron.

Cauliflower is also high in folate. This vitamin works closely with the vitamin B12 to help make new red cells, as well as increases the efficiency of iron essential in keeping us strong! It is also necessary for proper brain function and plays an important role in both mental and emotional health. Which in turn will help your kids learn better and stay more focused in school. Cauliflower also contains Vitamin K. This vitamin is also important for bone health and helpful in allowing your child heal quickly from those cuts and scrapes they get from playing outside. Lastly, cauliflower is also high in potassium. Potassium is essential because it aids in normal body functions including regular heart beats and keeping our bodies hydrated, as well as helping our blood pressure stay at healthy levels. 

How to Enjoy: Cauliflower can be used in a variety of ways when cooking. It can be served raw when cutting into florets and used for dipping or steamed and added to a salad with a light lemon vinaigrette.  Cauliflower can also be used as a replacement for mashed potatoes. All you need to do is steam the cauliflower until tender then cut into pieces and blend with low/reduced fat milk, yogurt, or sour cream. After everything is well whipped together, pour into a baking dish and bake until bubbly. These are just a few different ways to enjoy this incredible vegetable, for more nutrition food tips and recipes, follow us online and visit us on the web at www.whitsons.com.


Contributor: Katherine Ancona, R.D.


About Katherine Ancona:
Katherine Ancona is a Registered Dietitian for Whitsons Culinary Group. She received her Master’s Degree in Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science from Clemson University in 2013. While attending Clemson University, she led a team of undergraduate students in modifying recipes to be healthier. She is most interested in wellness, pediatric, and culinary nutrition, and she also serves as a volunteer for the Kids Eat Right Campaign. Katherine completed her dietetic internship at Oklahoma State University in 2014, and began working for Whitson’s Culinary Group as a Registered Dietitian in August of 2016.


References:

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-cauliflower

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b9-folic-acid

http://www.oregonlive.com/cooking/2014/05/9_tips_for_buying_storing_and.html


Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author and should not be construed as the opinions of Whitsons Culinary Group or any of its affiliates.  All content and material contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only, and no representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.  It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual.  It is not medical advice and should not be treated as such.  You should not rely on the information in this blog as a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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