Cauliflower

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We’ve had a very nice crop of cauliflower this fall. Cauliflower can be tricky to grow here. The curds can be damaged by if the temperature drops to 32, but they can also be damaged by warm weather. And if too much sunlight hits them they fade to a yellowish color that makes them unattractive to folks accustomed to them being snow white. We don’t even bother trying to grow it in the spring any more and I’ve been tempted to quit growing it in the fall. Unlike broccoli, it does not regenerate after cutting, so even if you manage to get it in, it’s not very good as a commercial crop.

Having said all that, we’ve been extremely pleased with how it worked out this year. Our customers have enjoyed lots of chemical-free local cauliflower (I think we’re the only source of it here), and so have we.

If the cauliflower starts losing its tight compact shape, or if loses it bright white color, we keep it for ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cauliflower if either of those things happen. They’re only cosmetic issues. But rather than try to educate customers on that, we just let nature select our cauliflower for us.

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To keep the curd from yellowing, it is necessary to “blanch” the plant. That means pulling the leaves up over the curd and tying them together with a rubber band. There are only a few left in the garden and we’re keeping them for us, so I’m not blanching them.

There are lots of delicious options with cauliflower. This fall we’ve had it roasted, curried, on pizza, in spinach lasagna as a faux ricotta, on Po Boy sandwiches as faux fried oysters (one of our current favorites), cooked with tomato sauce, potatoes and probably lots of other ways I’m not remembering right now. Cherie has shared pictures of some of the creations on her blog. Cauliflower greens are excellent cooked greens, and we’ve been enjoying them as well (as have our chickens, but they prefer them raw).

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A simple but delicious option–roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

So just as I was considering ditching cauliflower, along comes a bountiful season like this one.

I’m glad we kept it around another year.

 

 

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