Cauliflower Companion Plants: What Are They?
Companion Planting Cauliflower: What Are They?
The most common question asked by newbies is “What are cauliflowers?”
Well, it’s a very simple answer. A cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family (Brassicaceae). There are many varieties of cauliflowers available today. Some have leaves like spinach, some have stems like Swiss chard and others even resemble broccoli! All cauliflowers are members of the same genus, Brassica oleracea.
There are several different types of cauliflower. One type is called baby head or small heads because they grow only from one to three inches long.
Another type is called large heads because they grow up to six inches long and are often used in salads. A third variety is known as a ‘stalkhead’ because it grows straight up rather than branching out like other varieties do.
In addition to these types there are several cultivars of cauliflower. These include Redhead, Yellow Head, Green Giant and White Dwarf.
Each cultivar has its own characteristics such as leaf shape, size and coloration.
Some of the best ways to enjoy your favorite cauliflowers is either steamed or boiled. Steaming is the easiest way to prepare them since steam releases all their nutrients into the water.
Boiled cauliflowers lose a great deal of their nutrients to the cooking water. Most people prefer to eat them fresh, but they can be frozen for later enjoyment.
Cauliflower is not only delicious but it is also nutritious. It contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B-complex.
It also contains compounds that may help protect against cancer and heart disease. Cauliflower is a good source of fiber and has only thirty calories per serving.
Although you can eat your fresh or frozen cauliflower by itself, you can also flavor it in a variety of ways to add taste. You can cook it with other vegetables such as carrots or green beans.
You can also mix it with pasta or rice pilafs. The sky is the limit when it comes to cooking cauliflower!
One of the main concerns for people who are trying to improve their diets is how to incorporate vegetables into their diet. Cauliflower can be a delicious way to improve your diet and enjoy your vegetables.
They can be eaten by themselves as a healthy snack or even as a substitute for potatoes. If you are looking for a delicious side dish that is both nutritious and versatile, you cannot go wrong with cauliflower!
How to Pick Good Cauliflowers:
When picking out your cauliflowers you should look for ones that are firm and heavy for their size. They should have leaves that are green and not wilted.
The florets should be tightly packed. You should avoid any that have discoloration, cracking or those that are soft to the touch.
Cauliflowers are available all year round but they are more nutritious during the winter and early spring when they come from the farmer’s market or supermarket rather than being shipped in from another country.
Cauliflowers can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Cooking Tip: How to Avoid a Stink Bomb
When cooking your cauliflowers you will notice an unpleasant odor in your kitchen when you first start cooking them. The smell does go away as the vegetable cooks so there is no need to worry about it spreading through your whole house.
Some people have complained of the smell being too much to handle and there have been cases where the smell has permeated through the whole house. There have even been a few cases where people had to abandon cooking the vegetable because it became too powerful.
There is an easy way to cut down on the cooking odor. Just place a small bowl of vinegar in the microwave while you are cooking it.
The vinegar will help cut down on the odor without affecting the taste of the vegetable.
Lets look at a few of the more popular heirloom cauliflowers:
Albino – This is a pure white cauliflower that is highly nutritious. It has a nutty, sweet flavor.
Cheddar – This heirloom has dense, compact white heads that do not require pre-cutting.
Green Comet – This green cauliflower has a slight nutty flavor and a firm texture. It looks pretty when mixed in with other vegetables.
Purple Cape – This cauliflower has a purple head surrounded by thick, green leaves. It is sweeter than other varieties of cauliflower.
Ravered Precoce A Grappin – This French heirloom has green leaves tinged with purple and dense white heads. It is the earliest cauliflower to mature.
Snowball – This cauliflower has dense, creamy white heads. It has been a favorite in the US for over 100 years.
Vermont Sweater – This cauliflower has densely packed, white heads surrounded by green leaves. It is resistant to cold weather.
White Rock – This cauliflower has tightly packed white heads and a high yield. It is a good late season cauliflower.
Yukon Gold – This heirloom has yellowish-orange heads surrounded by dark green leaves. It was introduced to the US from Canada in the mid 1900s.
Brussels sprouts were originally grown in Belgium and northern France. They are an ancient vegetable that have been around since the time of the Romans.
The name “Sprout” came about because this vegetable is a little like a flower. Each little head on the stem looks like a small flower.
Even though they are related to cabbage they do not taste anything like it. They have a unique flavor all their own.
They are nutritious and easy to cook.
There are two basic types:
The single variety has a thick stalk that comes out of the bottom with a round “head” on top. The stalk can range in size.
It can be fairly small like a green onion or as large as a grapefruit. The head can range in size from that of a large egg to as big as a basketball.
The sprout that most people are familiar with is the type that has several small “heads” all growing on a thick stalk. These small heads resemble the buds of a rose when they first bloom.
This type tends to be the most popular and is the type most often found in grocery stores.
There are some specialty sprouts that look very similar to the single variety but have just one large head rather than several smaller ones. They tend to have a stronger flavor than the smaller sprouts.
Brussels sprouts are more delicate than cabbage or broccoli. They don’t keep as long and should be eaten fairly quickly after they are harvested.
They should be firm, have smooth leaves without any black spots. The bottom of the stem should be a light green.
Like other members of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts do contain some sulfur, so they shouldn’t be stored near fruit which causes them to prematurely rot. Keep them dry and cool.
Brussels sprouts are considered to be one of the most healthful vegetables. They are especially rich in vitamin C and folic acid.
They also have a fair amount of fiber and a small amount of cholesterol-lowering vitamin B.
Young sprouts can be eaten raw in a salad but older ones should always be cooked to make them more palatable. They can be boiled, steamed, microwaved or sauteed.
They also make a good addition to casseroles and stews.
Harvest the sprouts when they are about the size of a large marble. Do not over-harvest.
Leave the plant alone after it starts to produce sprouts or you may end up with small, tough and not very tasty sprouts.
When they first start growing they can look like little white buttons. It is fun to watch them slowly grow and develop.
Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop and will not produce well in hot weather.
Sources & references used in this article:
Selection of trap crop and companion plants for the management of pest insects in field vegetables by D George, G Port, R Collier – IOBC wprs Bulletin, 2007 – iobc-wprs.org
Companion planting–do aromatic plants disrupt host‐plant finding by the cabbage root fly and the onion fly more effectively than non‐aromatic plants? by S Finch, H Billiald, RH Collier – Entomologia experimentalis et …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library
Companion plants and how to use them by H Philbrick, RB Gregg – 2012 – books.google.com