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Cauliflower leaves are medium to large in size and long and rounded in shape. The leaves are light green to dark forest green, but the color and shape of the leaves fluctuate slightly with each cauliflower plant. The leaves are thick, fibrous, and contain a light green center rib. Cauliflower leaves are best when harvested young and tender, and are crunchy with a bright, mild, and fresh flavor.
Cauliflower leaves are available year-round.
Cauliflower leaves, botanically classified as Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, are members of the Brassicaceae family along with broccoli, kale, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. Cauliflower leaves grow on a cool season biennial and are the protective leaves covering the growing cauliflower florets. As one of the final cultivation steps, the leaves are often tied up around the head to blanch and protect the maturing head from the sun. The name cauliflower is derived from the Latin word “caulis” for cabbage and flower.
Cauliflower leaves are a good source for both fiber and vitamin C. It also contains a fair amount of vitamin A, folate, calcium, and potassium as well as selenium, which works with Vitamin C to boost the immune system.
Cauliflower leaves are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as steaming, braising, sautéing, or stir-frying. They can be added to soups, stews, and salads, or brushed with extra virgin olive oil and roasted as a vegetable dish. Cauliflower leaves can also be roasted in the oven until crispy to create a chip-like snack. Substitute Cauliflower leaves for cabbage or other dark leafy greens such as kale or collards in recipes. Cauliflower leaves pairs well with dill, garlic, soy sauce, sesame seeds, pork, chicken, beef, and mushrooms. Cauliflower leaves will keep up to five days when stored unwashed, in a plastic bag, and in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator.
Cauliflower leaves are rarely found still intact on the cauliflower head when purchased in grocery stores due to cosmetic requirements by retailers. The food waste movement has discouraged growers from removing the leaves so that the entire plant may be consumed. The launch of campaigns such as the "wonky fruit campaign" and "waste not want not" has encouraged the European Union to save over 300 million tons of food from going to waste every year because of their less desirable appearances.
The first record of Cauliflower dates back to the 6th century BCE and was believed to have originated in the region around Syria. It was then spread to the island of Cyprus, Europe, Asia, and eventually North America. It was especially popular in the court of King Louis XIV, where he demanded it to be served at the banquets in Versailles. Cauliflower can be found in markets in North America, Central, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Recipes that include Cauliflower Leaves. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Green Talk||Roasted Cauliflower Leaves|
|Pure Wow||Cauliflower Leaves|