I love cauliflower. And broccoli. I prefer them raw and crunchy, though I also like them cooked, or pureed into a soup. If I had to choose, though, cauilflower edges out broccoli for me. They are crunchier, sturdier, and doesn’t have as strong a smell. You also don’t get little green flowers stuck in your teeth after. I always have cauliflower in my fridge, it’s my vegetable staple.
I’ve often seen the purple, orange, green varieties of cauliflower, but I have never actually tried them. Not because I am not curious (though it’s not like I expect them to taste all that different), but because they’re usually more expensive, so you seem to be paying more for aesthetics than for a different taste. Eventually I knew I would give into my curiousity. This week the broccoflower was on sale at IGA, so I got a head:
The broccoflower is a cross between the cauliflower and broccoli. Selective breeding. On the other hand, the orange and purple varieties arose from natural mutations. (An interesting note – the orange cauliflower is actually Canadian in origin – it was born in Ontario’s Bradford Marsh, in 1970!) So, I guess for those wary of even the very slightest genetic modification in your foods – uh, you can chew on that. (I will not go into GMOs here. But let’s just say – I am a geneticist. I KNOW very intimately what genetic modification means.)
Due to the way they flower, the broccoflower is considered to be more closely related to the cauliflower, and is put in the same Botrytis group of Brassica oleracea (whereas the broccoli belongs in the Italica group of B. oleracea.) In fact, the texture is definitely cauliflower, and taste is more cauliflower than broccoli. Although, I would definitely say that there is a slight broccoli “sweetness” (some would say stench perhaps) and aftertaste, especially in the trunk parts.
I’d buy the orange ones, but right now I am suffering from carotemia because I’ve been eating too much squash lately, so I’m staying away from beta-carotene rich foods. Hahaha