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Cauliflower question

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Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/18/2011, 4:46 am

Hi, I have a question about cauliflower. I was looking around on a website were they sell all kinds of nice vegtable seeds. They also had a mini cauliflower variety. They didn't state how big this cauliflower was, but looking at the picture, it shows that two cauliflowers fit in one hand. Of course, this is a perfect size of cauliflower for a SFG box.

Then I started to wonder (I've never grown cauliflower myself). These seeds are more expensive compared to "normal" cauliflowers. Would it be possible to cut and eat a "normal" cauliflower before it is so big? Can you pick from a cauliflower what you need and leave the rest in the ground (like lettuce)? Or maybe you can plant them closer together so that they stay small? And would this be possible with other cauliflower-like vegtables (like broccoli)?

by the way: I also wanted to share that I picked my first home grown salad cucumbers. They taste way better then the ones from the store.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Lurach on 5/18/2011, 7:36 am

I don't have an answer to your cauliflower questions, but congrats on your cucumbers! =)

~Lu~

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/18/2011, 9:15 am

What a terrific question. I have not grown cauliflower since I was young. Back then it seemed fussy, needing to be blanched to be white. I love the new colored cauli's that just grow and have a packet of mixed colors that I hope to start today. I can hardly wait to hear the answer to your question.

Bea?

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/18/2011, 9:43 am

This was our first year to actually harvest califlower, we bought the plants, and I'm not crazy about the taste, but it's warm here and califlower is a cool weather crop. I do know one thing to look for is "self-blanching", that means you don't have to go out and cover it, and rubber band the leaves to keep it covered. I would not worry so much about size, I'd worry about taste and ease of growing. Sorry I'm not much help, maybe someone with more experience will sound off in a bit.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  quiltbea on 5/18/2011, 12:58 pm

You wait for the whole head to form before cutting it out.

If you don't have the self-blanching type (blanching is getting it white) then you can easily pull the outer leaves across the top of the head when its about 4" across and clip with spring clothes pins to keep direct sun off it.

Be sure to open it after a rain so it can dry out before closing it up again.

Its fully mature when its 6-12" across, firm, with no flower heads starting to form.

I grow one cauliflower per square with no probs.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/19/2011, 4:06 am

O, I wasn't aware that the white color is from bleaching. I know the taste is important as well, but I am not so crazy about eating cauliflower that I want to eat it all week long because it was so big. That is what I love about SFG: You just grow what you can eat. I know you can freeze the left over cauliflower, but at a certain point your freezer will be to small, and it decreases the quality of your cauliflower in the end.

So I am still curious if there is a cauliflower expert around here, that can tell me more about keeping a big cauliflower small, or about the best small cauliflower varieties (and related vegetables.)

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/19/2011, 9:29 am

@Zephyros wrote:snip... I wasn't aware that the white color is from bleaching. ....

Not "bleaching" BLANCHing. Blanching is light deprivation to prevent chlorophyll from doing its thing. (hope that makes sense, just got up, coffee brewing)

Debs...who is thankful for spell check

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  HieronRemade on 5/19/2011, 9:58 am

So if it's not self-blanching and I don't blanch it myself, the cauliflower will be green? But does that change the taste? I'd just as soon let it go if all it's going to do is be green; I could care less about the color as long as it tastes ok.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/19/2011, 9:59 am

You are wake enough Debs. It does make sense. Thing is: In dutch we have only one word for making things white. Doesn't matter if it is clothes or plants that you want to make white. The dictionary gave two options and was not clear on when to use what and for spell check, both are right because they are both existing proper written English words.

It is amazing, language

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/19/2011, 10:28 am

Whoops, sorry Zeph, I did not even catch that English was a 2nd language for you. You are very good. I work with Distance Learning students (like home school except that the curriculum is over the internet and I grade their papers....which is why I am ALWAYS on line) Most of my students are Ukraines in America. I go through stages, one year most were Latino. Another year there was a Greek, a few from India, Brazil, a Russian and a couple of girls from Colombia. They do not think English is amazing. That is a new thought for me.

The reason bleaching is incorrect is because it involves the use of chemicals. But blanching is also a cooking term. So I see your dilemma. Blanching is commonly done to cauliflower, asparagus and sometimes rhubarb. It is meant to make the vegetable more tender and pale in color. I would sink in Holland. You are doing very well!

By the way, extra cauliflower makes lovely overnight pickles. Google it.

@HieronRemade I am told that it doesn't make a difference in the taste. I have not grown Cauli in forever because of blanching. My children are grown now and I have time to fuss and putz in the garden (did I stumble into the Euro page and did not realize it? If so I apologize for words like putz....which is very casual work with lots of daydreaming time.

Debs....happy to get to know you!

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/20/2011, 4:49 am

My motto is: If you want to learn a language properly, than put yourself into a country where you have no choice than using the language. Which I did. And if a movie is in English (or other language) we Dutch people put subtitles underneath it (90% of the time). So we are familiarized with a other language than our own very young. Grammar is a whole different story (for me at least). And my work involves having a lot of non-dutch speaking colleges. It is good that you put the definition of putz in your post, because off course it wasn't in the dictionary.

I found some overnight pickles recipes, but they weren't about cauliflowers. If you do that, how long can you store them? And how to adapt them for the cauliflower.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Barkie on 5/20/2011, 5:17 am

@HieronRemade wrote:So if it's not self-blanching and I don't blanch it myself, the cauliflower will be green? But does that change the taste? I'd just as soon let it go if all it's going to do is be green; I could care less about the color as long as it tastes ok.

No mate, if the cauli is a "white" one and you don't bend leaves over the head (the curd) to protect it from the sun I hear it goes brown. It would taste the same but the colour would be a gray beige brown I think. You can get green, orange and purple varieties as well as the standard creamy white ones.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Barkie on 5/20/2011, 5:57 am

@Zephyros wrote:
I found some overnight pickles recipes, but they weren't about cauliflowers. If you do that, how long can you store them? And how to adapt them for the cauliflower.

Hi, I must say you write English well. Yes, language is amazing!

I'm not a cauliflower expert but I know that there are many different named varieties and some produce smaller heads than others and you could harvest them while they are small. If there isn't one small enough though then the mini-cauliflower seed might be cheapest from an online seed merchant.

There is a type of pickle that has cauliflower in called piccalilli. I just searched for "pickled cauliflower" and found http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,pickled_cauliflower,FF.html if this helps.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/20/2011, 7:29 am

The recipes look nice and not so hard. But the hardest part is that they use American standards for the amounts and the telegraphic style to describe what you have to do.

No mate, if the cauli is a "white" one and you don't bend leaves over
the head (the curd) to protect it from the sun I hear it goes brown. It
would taste the same but the colour would be a gray beige brown I
think. You can get green, orange and purple varieties as well as the
standard creamy white ones.

In that case I would rather have a white one instead of grayish brown. It looks much nicer on your plate. Your eye want something too you know. Maybe a nice mix of those green, orange and purple varieties looks great on your plate too. I expect you don't have to blanch those. And no-one would believe they are eating cauliflower, because you never see them in a store. You probably can trick a cauliflower-hater to eat some of it. I like it, growing things that you can't buy in a store. It makes it more worthwhile when you grow it.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  quiltbea on 5/20/2011, 10:21 am

I've grown the purple cauliflower Violet Queen and I find the heads are a bit smaller than the normal whites and the flavor is a little different, also. It fades in color during cooking.
This year I'm also going to try the orange Cheddar variety. I hear the head turns green when you cook it.

Here's one of my Violet Queens last June.
By the way, many white cauliflowers today are self-blanching so you don't have to bother with hiding the head from the sun. It'll say that on the package. They stay white from beginning to harvest.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  HieronRemade on 5/20/2011, 4:14 pm

Well lucky for me I just checked and mine are self blanching...I thought maybe they wouldn't be since I got an heirloom variety.

@quiltbea - I love that purple broccoli! Is that an heirloom I could save the seeds from? Either way I'm definitely trying it next year or maybe this fall!

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  quiltbea on 5/20/2011, 4:49 pm

Cheddar and Violet Queen Cauliflowers are F1 Hybrids so you can't save seed for the following year. You don't know what you'll get.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/23/2011, 5:10 am

The purple cauliflower looks really pretty. I even would grow it, just for the nice purple color.

It fades in color during cooking.

Does it mean that the flower head is just turning paler purple, or does it loose it's color completely? Have you tried to steam it? My mom bought a package of crimson red beans, and the package states that you only keep the color of the beans when you steam them (we haven't tried it because they are still growing). Might this also be the case for the cauliflower (and maybe other interesting colored vegetables)?

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Barkie on 5/23/2011, 1:34 pm

@Zephyros wrote:The purple cauliflower looks really pretty. I even would grow it, just for the nice purple color.

It fades in color during cooking.

Does it mean that the flower head is just turning paler purple, or does it loose it's color completely? Have you tried to steam it? My mom bought a package of crimson red beans, and the package states that you only keep the color of the beans when you steam them (we haven't tried it because they are still growing). Might this also be the case for the cauliflower (and maybe other interesting colored vegetables)?

My Purple Graffiti cauliflower seed packet says add lemon juice when cooking to keep the colour. Doesn't say how much.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  HieronRemade on 5/23/2011, 3:14 pm

I looked this up on Ebay a few days ago after first seeing this thread and the description said it turns a bright green when cooked. For some reason that seems unlikely to me, but I don't see what reason the seller would have to lie about it, lol.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Furbalsmom on 5/23/2011, 4:51 pm

All of the purple snap bean seeds I bought said they would turn green when cooked and the color change would indicate that they were blanched if you were preparing for freezing. At least they will be pretty when used raw in a salad.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/24/2011, 4:02 am

It makes me feel a bit sad when I hear that all those nice colors disappear when you cook it. I really like all those weird colors on your plate. Especially when I think about the faces of dinner guests. Most of the time they probably won't believe you and think you've added some artificial color. Maybe we should start a tread on how to keep the colors. I mean: what is life without all those nice colors?

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  squaredeal on 5/24/2011, 4:16 pm

With respect to your dwarf, or miniature, variety of cauliflower, I have been combing the net for two days and have not found anything. All sorts of varieties of "bush" or container veggies are out there but cauliflower is excluded from those lists. I did find a "baby" cauliflower, snowball variety, but only because it was harvested early. Reading further into the descriptions, the plant guide recommended 18" per plant - hardly a "baby". You have me extremely curious. And now I want to grow some cauliflower!

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Zephyros on 5/25/2011, 2:40 am

You have me extremely curious. And now I want to grow some cauliflower!

So, for the curious people: if you want to see a picture of those cauliflowers you can follow this link Vreeken's Zaden. Type 138600 in the search bar (under the picture of the shopping cart). I noticed it didn't except the precise link. Unfortunatly for all of you, this is a Dutch website, fortunately however is that a picture can say more than a thousand words. Although the name is also stated in English.

Verlangt een voedzame, goed bewerkte en vochthoudende grond. Uitplanten op 50 cm.
Snelgroeiend soort met kleine witte bloemkooltjes, die voor het kleine
menu gestoofd of rauw in salades worden gebruikt. "Klein maar fijn" is
zeker waar: de smaak is zacht-zoet aromatisch.

English translation is:

Longs for a nutritious well processed and water-holding soil. Plant spacing is 50 cm. Fast growing variety with small white cauliflowers, that can be used in stews or raw in salads. "Small but nice" is indeed true: it taste soft-sweet aromatic.

I'm sorry if it is a bit lousy. Some of the words are typical dutch and I don't know if I choose the right words for the translation. I hope you can make sense of it, nevertheless. I' am a bit in doubt if the plant spacing is correct. As you can see on the picture their diameter is far less than 50 cm and suggest that you might grow them closer to each other. Earlier, I noticed that they use the same plant space for all varieties of the same vegetable (at least on their website. I think they copied a lot of things from one variety to the other variety to save time in making the website), even though I know you can plant some of them closer together. Although they might have cut away some of the leaves before making a picture. If I would buy them, I would try and see if you can plant them closer together.

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Re: Cauliflower question

Post  Barkie on 5/25/2011, 5:24 am

Had time for a look, varieties which might be most suitable for a small SFG and/or small heads appear to be;

Igloo - can be grown closely spaced for mini heads sow March for July harvesting

Snowball - semi upright (so will take up less space)

Lateman - a smaller variety to sow March to May for July to October harvesting.

I'd like to know what results people have had with cauliflowers grown in MM? It will help me to work out how many boxes to make.

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