Days back, cauliflower was about the most boring looking vegetable, but today it is one of the wanted vegetables, and more and more people are eating it due to its lovely taste and health benefits. Cauliflower is a cool season crop and resembles the cabbage. Its botanical name is brassica oleracea and it’s grown for its edible head.

The head is usually a mass of flowers which are unable to produce fruits or seeds as they possess only female organs. The origin of cauliflower as not yet known but its ancestor, wild cabbage is thought to have originated from ancient Asia Minor.

In Kenya broccoli grows well in Central Kenya, Rift valley, parts of Eastern and Western region. Harvesting is done when the florets at the outer edges of the broccoli head begin to loosen up. The farmer cuts the stem at an angle to prevent water settling in the stem and occasioning rot

KENYA CAULIFLOWER VARIETIES

1. Cheddar AGM- has orange-yellow flower heads

2. Skywalker AGM-has large white curds.

3. Clapton- has large white heads

4. Graffiti AGM- has deep purple heads

CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

Cauliflower is a cool season crop and does well in well drained organic soils with a ph of 6.5 and above. Organic matter in the soil helps in holding moisture. Cauliflower is not difficult to grow, but its sensitive to extreme temperatures therefore requires very keen maintenance.

Pests and diseases that attack this vegetable include, beet armyworm, blackleg, black rot, cabbage aphid, cabbage looper, cauliflower mosaic, club root, cucumber beetles, cut worms, diamond back moth, downy mildew, flea beetles, powdery mildew, ring spot among others.

HEALTH BENEFITS

1. Rich in vitamins and minerals-They include vitamin k, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium and manganese, all of which are critical important in the general body growth and functioning. Manganese is used in the body as a co factor for antioxidant enzyme, while potassium is important in intercellular electrolyte which helps counter hypertension effects of sodium,

2. Detoxification-Cauliflower helps body detoxification in a number of ways by activating detoxification enzymes. It also contains antioxidants that support detoxification.

3. Brain health-It contains choline which is key to brain development. In addition, it diminishes age related memory loss and the brains vulnerability to toxins during childhood as well as in adulthood.

4. Digestive health-It is a good source of dietary fiber for digestive health. This roughage helps in digestion, bowel movement and absorption of nutrients by the body.

5. Fighting cancer-Has sulforaphane that is known to kill cancer stern cells, thereby slowing tumor growth.

6. Anti-inflammatory benefits-As an excellent source of vitamin K this provides us with one of the hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients. Vitamin K acts as a regulator of our inflammatory response.

7. Di-indolyn-methane (DIM) found in cauliflower is effective as an immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent, DIM is currently been found applicable in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus.

MARKET TREND

When choosing cauliflowers, take the one that has its head firm and tightly close, the white variety should be very pale, with no dark sun burns spots. In retail market, an average-sized head of cauliflower goes for about Ksh 80.

Exciting ways of incorporating cauliflower into your meals

There are many ways in which Kenya cauliflower can be incorporated into a meal,

  1. Steaming cauliflower for use in quick cooking foods like omelets
  2. Adding them in salads as dressings.
  3. Add a yummy taste when added in soups and stews.
  4. Roasting cauliflowers for a real taste.

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