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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24 comments on “Cauliflower

  1. Sue says:

    I used to have luck with it for a spring crop when I used a variety that matured rapidly, but they quit selling the seed (sigh), so I have not been able to find one that is ready before summer heats up. Up here, we have such a brief spring, so if it takes more than 50 days , we’re outta luck.
    I’ve not yet tried a fall variety. Perhaps that’s my only hope anymore.
    Glad you had such a bountiful year with them. They are wonderful—when they want to be-LOL!

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    • Bill says:

      We had one successful spring crop, but it was a fluke. Fall is our only realistic chance and that’s pretty iffy too. It’s probably not worth all the trouble (and risk) but when a year like this one comes around it’s great to be able to feast on garden-fresh cauliflower.

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  2. I have had very little luck growing it, but this year a friend gave me a lot and I was able to freeze 30 containers, so we are enjoying it now. It’s not as nice as fresh, but it’s still great and allows some variety in our veggies during the winter.

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  3. I’v never managed to have any luck with cauliflower here. It either warms up too fast or gets cold too fast. So I gave up.

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  4. Zambian Lady says:

    I didn’t know that cauliflower is that difficult to grow. However, difficult to grow or not, I enjoy a well prepared dish of cauliflower.

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  5. avwalters says:

    I used to pin the leaves with clothespins. At that time, my little city garden was right underneath the clothesline. On big laundry days, sometimes I’d have to raid the garden for the pins. It looked funny, pins above, pins below.

    Now my life is cauliflower free–too much trouble when I’m the only one in the house who likes it.

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    • Bill says:

      I like the clothespins idea. Sometimes the leaves pop out of the rubber bands and the sun can make them brittle. Maybe I’ll experiment on the few plants we have left.

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  6. All those ways to cook it, I had no idea. I’ve only ever tried curried or with cheese sauce. I too have had poor results growing it for myself, so usually buy it from my farmers’ market, and he offers it for a fairly short window of time – about a month – which is just coming to an end about now.

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    • Bill says:

      We’ve experimented some this fall because we’ve been swimming in cauliflower. The Po Boy sandwiches were really excellent. I’m sure it sounds strange (it did to me too) but the cauliflower, seasoned with cajun spices, has a texture similar to a fried oyster. I love fried oysters and honestly I think I’d prefer the cauliflower Po Boy.

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  7. Joanna says:

    I am so pleased I am not the only one who struggles to grow it. I think we might try under some shade cloth of some description. We have a short season, but also hot summers and so not helpful. Once more we shall try – maybe 😀

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    • Bill says:

      I certainly don’t claim to have any skills in that regard. We just got lucky this year.
      I’ll probably plant it again next year. I can be pretty hard-headed about things like that but I’ve had to give up on carrots and this years failed radicchio will probably be our last.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanna says:

        Radicchio grew but we have had a cool summer so not sure if we just hit lucky or not. We’ll see

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      • Bill says:

        Last night deer jumped over the double-fence I was recently bragging about. They mowed the radicchio to the ground. They obviously really enjoyed it. Unlike the kale and senposai, which they only partially ate, they left no trace of the radicchio. But no great loss since I’m fairly sure it wasn’t going to mature anyway.

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      • Joanna says:

        Always the way. 😦

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  8. gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

    thought of you especially when I (just) ran into [Consumers Union] While Congress finalizes a must-pass budget bill, corporations are still trying to sneak in language that would block the labeling of GMOs. We’re thrilled to see Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews standing up for the right to know what is in our food. ‪#‎JustLabelIt‬

    Stand up for transparency in our food!
    Giant food, chemical, and biotech corporations have spent millions to thwart the labeling of GMOs.
    FARMAID.ORG

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Yes, I read today that the attempt to sneak the DARK act into the appropriations bill was defeated. But apparently there is language in there eliminating some country of origin labeling. Because that belongs in the nation’s budget. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres says:

    My admiration for my local farm just grew exponentially. I had no idea it was that difficult to grow. And that does help to explain why some I find at market are pristine white, and others are edging a bit toward ivory. I do like it, but rarely eat it. I don’t know why. In our family, it always was prepared with broccoli and carrots. That trio is good cut up raw and left to marinate in salad dressing for a day or so, too.

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    • Bill says:

      I never would have guessed that it’s possible to grow cauliflower in Texas. Your farmers really are rock stars!

      Cherie has been experimenting a lot with cauliflower, taking advantage of our windfall. Tonight we had it in tomato sauce, along with stuffed winter squashes. Meal time is probably when I appreciate this life the most. 🙂

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  10. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Such a gorgeous crop Bill… Be it snow white or “antiqued”, lol!
    When my (semi-fussy; ) son came along, I came across a recipe on the Dairy Farmers of Ontario/ Milk Calendar for something that we wound up calling Cheesy Cauli-Taters… Set the bottom of your double boiler on and put the potatoes in to cook; meanwhile, prepare the cauliflorettes and steam them in the top, adding peeled garlic cloves. While veggies are cooking, shred the cheddar cheese and warm the milk. For fussy eaters, use a stick blender to pulverise the cauliflower before mashing it and the milk (+ s & p) into taters. Stir in cheese just before serving. YUM!

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