Monday, June 23, 2014

What Kind of Cauliflower are YOU?

If you were a cauliflower, what kind of cauliflower would you be?

Back in the stone age when I was a child, cauliflower was white. Now, they come in colors - orange, green and purple. And they each have their own personalities, don't you think?

For quite some time, I had wanted to do a side-by-side taste test of the three colored varieties of cauliflower, but I hadn't gotten around to it. So when my friends at Frieda's Specialty Produce offered me some, I said, sure, I'll take one of each.

Besides wanting to do a taste test, cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. A temporary overabundance wasn't a problem.

So, I munched them raw and I sampled them cooked. I imagined that I could taste subtle differences, with the green edging towards broccoli flavor, the orange having essence of squash, and the purple having just a tinge of sharpness.

But, in a blind taste test, I couldn't tell them apart. At all. Maybe there are subtle differences, but perhaps I was completely swayed by the colors.

When it comes to food presentation, color can make a big difference, though. While I love plain white cauliflower, sometimes it just doesn't dress up that plate of chicken and mashed potatoes, so I turn to carrots or a green vegetable. Or ... brightly colored cauliflower.

All three are bright and happy ... but let's look a little closer at their personalities.

I been searchin' for a heart of gold ...

The gold/orange cauliflower is the model of consistency, with its color continuing from outer curds (yes, that's what they're called) all the way to its core. The outer curds were darkest, and there were some slight variations from the outer part of the stem to the center of the stem, but this is the only one of the three where the color was actually more prominent at the center of the stem than at the edges of the stem.

But how does it handle the heat of the kitchen?

Gold cauliflower: raw, cooked, and pickled.

When cooked, the color takes on a slightly more yellow-gold color as opposed to the slightly peachier hue when it's raw, but it's not a stunning conversion. When the cauliflower is faced with the acid test of being pickled, the color gets slightly lighter, but it remains fairly close to the original color.

If you're a gold cauliflower, you're reliable and consistent, and you cope well in every situation. While some folks might say your style is a little cheesy, you prefer to think of yourself as classic. You avoid drama and have a heart of gold. Your friends all say you're a peach.

It ain't easy being green!

Green cauliflower secretly wants to be white. Some of the curds at the edges of the head were a pale creamy yellow-green color, as were a few curds that were in well-shaded spots in the head. The cauliflower is green throughout, fading gently to a very pale green in the center.

The bright green color makes a great accent on a plate when you've got potatoes filling the role of white food and you don't want to move further down the alphabet to beans or broccoli.

Green cauliflower: raw, cooked, and pickled
When faced with the heat of cooking battle, green cauliflower brightens - but don't overcook it or, like many green vegetables, it can join the army-green troops. When it's in a pickle, green cauliflower lightens and loses some of its bright green, taking on tinges of yellow and olive.

If you're a green cauliflower, you're easy to live with, not very flashy, but a little quirky when you've had a few drinks. If you're a green cauliflower you're a true and reliable friend who does not crave the limelight, but is always around to support others.

The Chameleon

Purple cauliflower is the party animal in the group, changing its appearance depending on lighting and situations. From lavender to dark purple when raw - depending on how you're looking at it, the purple cauliflower was the only one whose color was only skin-deep. It had a bright white core.

Purple cauliflower: raw, cooked, and pickled
When heated, purple cauliflower threw off its party colors and darkened considerably to a blue-purple, and it was the only cauliflower of the trio that left color behind in its cooking liquid. The longer the cauliflower was cooked, the more blue it became. Cooking it in the microwave rather than on the stovetop preserved more of the purple color.

When pickled, purple was the life of the party, first fading to a pale lavender, then deepening to a magenta-purple with hints of royal coloring as it cooled. Just like the cooked version, the color of the pickled version varied depending on how long it was in hot liquid and how much acid was in the pickling liquid.

If you're a purple cauliflower, you're the fun one to be around, and ready to adapt to any situation. But while you can be the life of the party, you don't want the notoriety - you're very difficult to photograph. Since your personality is so varied, you can be hard to get to know well and outsiders might think you're fickle or shallow, but your true friends can see through to your pure heart.

So... which cauliflower are you?

Disclaimer: I receive produce from Frieda's on a regular basis, but I am not required to post. I kinda doubt this was on their minds ... hehe.