Cauliflower is in the same family of cruciferous vegetables as broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It is made up of tightly clustered florets that begin to form but are stopped at the bud stage. It has a compact head called a "curd" with an average size of six inches in diameter, composed of the undeveloped flower buds. The flower buds are attached to a central stalk. During cultivation the coarse outer leaves grow naturally or are manually pulled over the curd to protect it from sunlight, preventing chlorophyll from turning the curd green.
Cauliflower grows in a variety of colors including white, green, purple and orange. However, white cauliflower is the most commonly used and heartiest variety. Typically, only the head is eaten while the thick green leaves are discarded. The stem can be eaten or used in vegetable broth.
Cauliflower is very nutritious and may be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. It is very low in calories. 100 g of fresh cauliflower provides only 26 calories. Cauliflower is high in Vitaimin C and potassium. It also contains high levels of glucosinolates. Glucosinolates activate the body's detoxification process and research suggests they may also play a role in preventing various types of cancer.
SW Desert includes Yuma Arizona and Coachella & Imperial Valleys in California