The History of Cauliflower

“A cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” –Mark Twain

Cauliflowers aren’t young.  Its history and ancestry traces to the wild cabbage and has similarities in appearance with kale or collards.

This vegetable is believed to have originated in ancient Asia Minor and has undergone a lot of transformations.  It was popular in Europe, specifically in France in the 16th century and was first introduced in North America in the late 1600s.

Cauliflowers were loved in the court of Louis XIV.  They have also been well-accepted in Brittany in sweetbread stews, mushrooms and veal.

Three cauliflower varieties were described in Spain during the 12th century.  As many as a dozen cultivars were known one hundred years ago.

Although this vegetable has been mentioned in American writings as early as the 1800s, it was only in the 1920s that the cauliflower became commercially available in America.

Today, the cauliflower is used in a number of dishes – thick cauliflower soups are loved in Eastern Europe, In Sardinia, they make a salad out of this ‘pale’ flower and combine it with olive oil, garlic and capers.

In India, it is included in a curry made out of potatoes and onions.  Significant growers of cauliflower include France, India, Italy, United States and China.