Packed with rich nutrients, cauliflower or cabbage flower is one of the commonly used flower-vegetable. The flower heads contain numerous health benefiting phtyo-nutrients such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane etc., that help prevent prostate, ovarian and cervical cancers.
Botanically, it is a member of the cruciferous or brassicaceae family. It has got a similar nutritional and phyto-chemistry profile with broccoli and cabbage. Several cultivars exist other than common snow-white variety, including green, orange, purple, and romanesco heads.
You can eat cauliflower raw, steamed, stir-fried or cooked in casseroles.
- Lifecycle: annual, Biennial grown as an annual.
- Ease-of-care: difficult
- Height: 1 to 2 feet
- Spread: 1.3 to 3 feet
- Shape: cushion, mound or clump
- Flower color: White
Cauliflowers are pricey to buy so if you can grow your own, it’s really worthwhile. They take up quite a bit of space, need rich, deep soil and need plenty of watering, especially in summer, but they can be grown all year round.
Sunlight: full sun, Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Light shade can be beneficial in warm weather.
Soil conditions: requires well-drained soil, Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter, pH 6.0 to 7.5. Can tolerate slightly alkaline soil. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.
- Select a site with at lesat 6 hours of full sun.
- Soil needs be very rich in organic matter; add composted mature to the soil before planting. Fertile soil holds in moiture to prevent heads from "buttoning."
- Test your soil! (Get a soil test through your cooperative extension office.) The soil pH should be between 6.5 and 6.8.
- It is best to start cauliflower from transplants rather than seeds. Transplant 2 to 4 weeks before the average frost date in the spring, no sooner and not much later.
- Space the transplants 18 to 24 inches apart with 30 inches between rows. Use starter fertilizer when transplanting.
- Plant fall cauliflower about the same time as fall cabbage. This is usually 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost and also need to be after the temperature is below 75 degrees F.
- If you really want to try starting cauliflower from seeds, start the seeds 4 to 5 weeks before the plants are needed. Plant the seeds in rows 3 to 6 inches apart and 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch deep. Do not forget to water the seeds during their germination and growth. Once they become seedlings, transplant them to their permanent place in the garden.
- In early spring, be ready to cover your plants with old milk jugs or protection if needed. For fall crops, shade them if they need protection from the heat.
- Add mulch to conserve moisture.
- Make sure that the plants have uninterrupted growth. Any interruption can cause the plants to develop a head prematurely or ruin the edible part completely.
- Cauliflower requires consistent soil moisture. They need 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week; with normal rainfall, this usually requires supplement watering.
- For best growth, side-dress the plants with a nitrogen fertilizer.
- Note that the cauliflower will start out as a loose head and it takes time for the head to form. Many varieties take at least 75 to 85 days from transplant. Be patient.
- When the curd (the white head) is about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, tie the outer leaves together over the head with a rubber band, tape, or twine. This is called blanching, and it protects the head from the sun and helps you get that pretty white color.
- The plants are usually ready for harvest 7 to 12 days after blanching.
- When the heads are compact, white, and firm, then it is time to harvest them. Ideally, the heads will grow 6 to 8 inches in diameter.
- Cut the heads off the plant with a large knife. Be sure to leave some of the leaves around the head to keep it protected.
- If the heads are too small but have started to open up, they will not improve and should be harvested.
- If the cauliflower has a coarse appearance, it is too mature and should be tossed.
- If you want to store cauliflower, you can put the head in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. It should last for about a week.
- For long-term storage, you can also freeze or pickle the heads.
Health benefits of Cauliflower
It is very low in calories. 100 g of the fresh cauliflower head provides only 26 calories. Nevertheless, it comprises of several health-benefiting antioxidants and vitamins in addition to be very low in fat and contains no cholesterol.
Its florets contain about 2 g of dietary fiber per 100 g; providing about 5% of recommended value.
Cauliflower contains several anti-cancer phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol, which appears to function as an anti-estrogen agent. Together these compounds have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
Furthermore, Di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble compound present abundantly in Brassica group of vegetables has found effective as immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral compound by synthesis and potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors. DIM has currently been found application in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is in Phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.
Fresh cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C; 100 g provides about 48.2 mg or 80% of daily recommended value. Vitamin-C is a proven antioxidant helps fight against harmful free radicals, boosts immunity and prevents from infections and cancers.
It contains good amounts of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as folates, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3) as well as vitamin K. These vitamins is essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
Further, It is an also good source of minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium. Manganese is used in the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Potassium is an important intracellular electrolyte helps counter the hypertension effects of sodium.
Cauliflower Di Sicilia Violetto - Seeds
- Product Code: Cauliflower Di Sicilia Violetto - Seeds
- Availability: In Stock