How to buy
Cauliflower is generally available all year round in New Zealand. When choosing a cauliflower, opt for one that has compact florets and a creamy white colour (if you’re buying a purple, green or orange cauliflower, it should be uniformly coloured). The vegetable should be free of blemishes and wet spots – however, you needn’t worry about any small brown flecks, as they can easily be cut off before cooking. The leaves should be fresh and vibrant, and if you flip the cauliflower over, the stem should be freshly cut. You can also give the vegetable a sniff – if it has a strong smell, it’s past its prime and will probably have an unpleasant taste.
How to store
Keep fresh cauliflower loosely wrapped in the refrigerator – this way it will last up to two weeks. You can also cut uncooked cauliflower into florets and store them in a sealed container in the fridge. They will last up to a week in a well-regulated refrigerator.
- Cauliflower rice is a healthy alternative to normal rice. Place raw cauliflower florets in a food processor and blend until the cauliflower resembles fine grains. To cook, toss the cauliflower rice with oil in a frying pan for five to eight minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
- For a warming side dish, bake cauliflower florets with cheese sauce. Boil the cauliflower first, then drain well and mix with cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden.
- Roast cauliflower florets on a baking tray with turmeric and olive oil for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. You can also replace the turmeric with garlic and parmesan if you feel like something different.
- Use cauliflower rice to make a pizza base. Combine cauliflower rice with egg, salt and pepper to make a dough. Flatten onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes on each side, before topping with your favourite pizza toppings. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted.
Low in calories yet high in vitamins and nutrients, cauliflower is considered by many to be one of the healthiest foods on Earth. It belongs to the Brassica family (which also includes vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale), and is high in fibre and a great source of antioxidants. It also makes a great low-carb alternative to grains and legumes.