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Flaxseeds 101 – The Basics

Flaxseed have become more popular in recent years, as we’ve learned just how healthful these tiny seeds are. Below is a compilation of information about these little gems, from their history to recipes and ideas on how to include them in your meals. I hope this helps!


Flaxseeds 101 – The Basics

About Flaxseeds
The scientific name for flax, Linum usitatissimum, tells us a lot about the flax plant and its value to humans for literally thousands of years. The “Linum” part of this name reveals the fact that the plant has been woven into the fabric “linen,” which has been made for over 3,000 years. The “usitatissimum” part of its name is Latin meaning “of greatest use” in Latin. And nothing could be truer than that. Flax has not only been used as a food source, but also for being woven into fabrics and used in the making of sails, bowstrings, and body armor. If that’s not enough, flaxseed is also used in the making of linseed oil, which is used as a wood finish and preservative.

Evidence shows that flax cultivation was common practice as far back as 2,000 BC, and possible back to 4,000 BC in the Mediterranean Sea region and in parts of the Middle East.  Early evidence shows that flax cultivation may have existed during the Neolithic Era, about 10,000 BC. It appears that flax has always been used for both culinary and textile purposes.

Even into modern day, flax is being used for culinary and domestic use. Most flax production in North America is made into different grades of oil. Non-food grade flaxseed/linseed oil is used in wood finishes, paints, coatings, and other industrial supplies. Food grade flaxseed/linseed oil can as be used in livestock feed, or as a culinary oil. Canada is the world’s largest producer of oilseed flax, followed by Russia, France, and Argentina.

Fiber flax is the other major variety of flax. France and Belgium are major producers of fiber flax. While cotton, wool and silk remain the most popular natural fibers in the global textile market, the global flax market has grown in recent years due to increased production of linen products in China.

In addition to flax oil and linen production, the demand for flaxseed as a food has been increasing. Since flaxseed is considered to be a very nourishing food and many sources are proclaiming the health benefits of flaxseed, the demand for flaxseed is expecting to grow even further.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Flaxseeds are loaded with nutritional benefits and are listed among the “superfoods.”

Flaxseeds are an exceptional source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA has been found to help keep cholesterol from clinging from blood vessels of the heart and reduces inflammation in arteries. With that, flaxseeds have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, the fiber in flaxseeds has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, further decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Flaxseeds have been shown to help lower blood pressure, especially in those who already have elevated blood pressure.

Also, flaxseeds are very high in lignans. Lignans are fiber-related polyphenols that act as antioxidants and also phytoestrogens. They are known to help reduce our risk for cancer and improve overall health. Specifically, flaxseeds have been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women. Flaxseeds have also been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men. Animal studies have shown that flaxseeds reduce the rate of colon and skin cancers. So, no matter who you are, you stand to benefit by including flaxseeds in your diet!

Flaxseeds are also a good source of dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble), protein, Vitamin B1, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, and potassium. The soluble fiber is a type of mucilaginous gum that enables the seeds to thicken liquids. These fibers also help to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

How to Select Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds can be purchased whole or ground. When purchasing whole flaxseeds, make sure there is no evidence of moisture in the package. If purchasing the seeds from bulk bins, be sure there is a fast turnover from the bins. Otherwise, they may not be as fresh as you would want. Bear in mind that whole flaxseeds are hard to chew and digest, so it is recommended that they be ground before being eaten. Many people grind their flaxseeds in a spice, seed, or coffee grinder just before using it, which helps ensure they get maximal health benefits from their seeds.

Ground flaxseeds are available for purchase and are a nice convenience for those who can’t take the time to grind their own seeds.

How to Store Flaxseeds
Optimally whether whole or ground, flaxseeds should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

If purchased ground, flaxseeds should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. They are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage once ground, so their oils need to be protected by cold temperatures and airtight containers. This same principal applies to home-ground flaxseeds. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 months, and up to 12 months in the freezer.

Whole flaxseeds can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark area for 6 to 12 months. However, storing them in the refrigerator or freezer ensures they will be at their maximal freshness for the longest period of time, which is 12 months.

Flaxseed oil is highly perishable and should always be stored in the refrigerator. Only opt for flaxseed oil that was sold in opaque bottles that help protect it from the light.

How to Prepare and Preserve Flaxseeds
If you buy whole flaxseeds, they should be ground before being used. Many people use spice, seed, or coffee grinders for this process. Most people grind only the amount they need for immediate use. If you prefer to grind more at one time, store the extra ground seed in an airtight container in the freezer.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Flaxseeds
Flaxseeds have gained in popularity in recent years as a valuable health food for everyone to include in their diet. They have emerged as an important source of omega-3 fats especially for vegetarians, with only one tablespoon providing 1,597 mg of the essential fatty acids. If you aren’t in the habit of including flaxseeds in your foods, the following tips and ideas are provided to help you out.

* Top fruit with yogurt, then sprinkle with round flaxseed.

* Add some ground flaxseed with flour when measuring dry ingredients for baked goods.

* Flaxseed oil is highly perishable, so it is not recommended that it be used in cooking. But it may be added to dishes after they are cooked.

* For a nutritional boost, sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto hot or cold cereal.

* Add ground flaxseeds to a smoothie or shake for a nutritional boost.

* Add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to a smoothie or shake for added omega-3 fats.

* Add some ground flaxseed to your burgers or meatloaf (whether they are meatless or meat-based).

* Sprinkle ground flaxseeds on cooked vegetables (such as carrots) for a nutty flavor and nutritional boost.

* Finish your favorite creamy soup with a sprinkle of ground flaxseed for added color, nutrition, nutty flavor, and thickening.

* Add ground flaxseeds to baked goods, like muffins and breads, for a nutritional boost.

* When using flaxseed in a hot dish with liquid in it, add flaxseed at the end of cooking time to keep it from thickening the liquid too much.

* Add some ground flaxseed to salad dressings. They will not only add a big nutritional boost, but will also thicken them, making them adhere to your salad ingredients better.

* To use flaxseeds as an egg replacer in baked goods, mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with three tablespoons of water. Allow the mixture to rest briefly as the water thickens. Then add it to your batter in place of an egg and proceed from there as usual.

* Whenever you’re “breading” something (coating it with bread crumbs), add some ground flaxseed to the breading mixture for an added nutritional boost.

* Make a delicious smoothie by blending together 1 banana, 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries, 1 cup milk of choice, and 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed. If desired, it may be further sweetened with 1 or 2 Medjool dates, 1 to 2 teaspoons of honey, or sweetener of choice.

* Sprinkle a little ground flaxseed onto mayonnaise or mustard after spreading it on bread for a sandwich.

Foods, Herbs, Spices That Are Known To Go Well With Flaxseeds
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds:
Nuts in general (esp. peanuts, peanut butter, walnuts), sesame seeds

Vegetables: Carrots and carrot juice, fennel, kale, squash (winter), vegetables (in general), zucchini

Fruit: Apples and applesauce, avocados, bananas, citrus fruits

Grains: Flour (any grain, and in baked goods), grains (in general), oats, oat bran, oatmeal, rice, wheat

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cottage cheese, yogurt

Other: Honey, oil (esp. olive)

Herbs and Spices: Coriander, herbs in general

Flaxseeds have been used in…
Baked goods (quick breads, yeast breads, crackers, muffins, pie crusts), cereals, desserts, French toast, granola, juices, meatless burgers and loafs, pancakes and waffles, pizza crust, salads (i.e. as a topping), smoothies, soups

Recipe Links Using Flaxseed
Chocolate Protein Balls https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/233985/chocolate-protein-balls/?internalSource=staff%20pick&referringId=17642&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub&clickId=cardslot%201

Bran Flax Muffins https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/16877/bran-flax-muffins/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=17642&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

No Bake Energy Bites https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/239969/no-bake-energy-bites/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=17642&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

15 Ways to Use Ground Flaxseed https://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/ground-flaxseed-recipes?slide=280737#280737

17 Recipes That Will Make You Want to Eat More Flaxseed https://yurielkaim.com/flaxseed-recipes/







Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


Cranberries 101 – The Basics

Cranberries are popular in American cuisine, especially during the fall months when they are freshly harvested. They are traditionally served with most Thanksgiving feasts. Not only do we enjoy cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving, but we also love cranberry bread, cranberry salad, cranberry beverages, and dried cranberries in trail mix.

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with cranberries this year, read on! I have a LOT of suggestions to do with cranberries along with suggested flavor combinations of foods that go well with cranberries. Look no more!!


Cranberries 101 – The Basics

About Cranberries
Unlike many foods we routinely consume today, cranberries are native to North America. Interestingly, the plant has not spread widely across the globe. Today, over 80 percent of the world’s cranberries are grown in the United States and Canada, with most of those being grown in the United States. In 2014, about 840 million pounds of cranberries were produced in the United States, while about 388 million pounds were produced in Canada. Our main cranberry producing states are Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Cranberries are also grown in New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington.

Cranberries are grown on very low-lying vines that thrive on a combination of peat-based sandy soil and wet conditions. The area where cranberries grow is usually referred to as a “bog” or “marsh.” Wetland habitats are places where cranberries naturally grow. They usually take 16 months to fully mature. They are often planted in late spring or summer and mature during the fall of their second year.

Cranberries are closely related to blueberries, with both fruit belonging to the Ericaceae family of plants. The two berries have similar properties, yet unique benefits as well. We may see white and red cranberries in the grocery store. They are actually the same variety, with the white ones having been harvested about two to four weeks early. The white cranberries are milder and less tart in flavor than the red ones, but they lack some of the healthful phytonutrients that generate the red color in the more mature berries. The color of the mature berries can range from pale red to crimson to scarlet to deep purple.

Most of the cranberries grown in the United States are processed into juice, dried, or made into sauce. Only five percent are sold fresh. Due to their sharp, sour flavor, fresh cranberries are rarely eaten raw and unflavored.

Nutrition Tidbits
Cranberries provide an array of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Among other nutrients, cranberries are a good source of Vitamins C, E, and K, along with pantothenic acid, manganese, copper, and fiber. One cup of cranberries has a mere 46 calories.

For the greatest nutritional value, use your cranberries when fresh and uncooked. Many of their nutrients are lost during the cooking process, especially when heated to 350°F or above.

Cranberries have long been known for their benefit against urinary tract infections. Historically, Native Americans are known to have used cranberries as a treatment for bladder and kidney diseases. Compounds in cranberries prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder. As reported in an article at https://www.webmd.com, scientists have found that this effect can be seen within eight hours of drinking cranberry juice.

Also, some scientific evidence suggests that cranberries may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure. They may also reduce the risk of cancer by slowing tumor progression, and protect dental health by preventing bacteria from adhering to teeth and helping to protect against gum disease.

How to Select Cranberries
Fresh cranberries are usually harvested between mid-September and mid-November, so the freshest berries would be found during this time frame.

Look for fresh, plump, brightly colored berries that are firm to the touch. Firmness is a prime indicator of freshness when shopping for cranberries. The richer the color, the higher is their phytonutrient (anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin) content.

How to Store Cranberries
Before storing your cranberries, pick through them, removing any that are soft, discolored, pitted, or shriveled. Store them in the refrigerator (unwashed) until you are ready to use them. Fresh, ripe cranberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

How to Preserve Cranberries
Fresh cranberries may easily be frozen for later use. Simply place your washed and drained berries on a tray. Place them in the freezer. When the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag, label the bag and return them to the freezer. Cranberries will keep for 6 to 12 months in the freezer. Once they are thawed, they should be used immediately.

Cranberries can be purchased dried, but they are usually sweetened during their processing, and many of them were also coated with oil. The added sugar and oil greatly increases the calorie content of the cranberries. Furthermore, some people need to avoid added oils and sugars in their foods. Some producers do dehydrate cranberries without added sugars and oils, so know what you’re wanting when you shop and read labels carefully. If you have a dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s directions for drying your own cranberries.

Fresh vs Frozen vs Canned vs Dried vs Juiced
Fresh cranberries are found only during the fall months when they are harvested. They are relatively inexpensive, so if you use a lot of cranberries, it’s wise to stock up during this time and freeze or dry some for later use. As with so many foods, regarding nutritional aspects, fresh is best.

Frozen cranberries can be found in some grocery stores. They can be used in many recipes calling for fresh cranberries, however their texture may be softer when thawed then when fresh. Usually frozen cranberries are added to smoothies or cooked foods calling for the berries.

Canned cranberries are usually found as cranberry sauce, whether it be whole berry or the jelly variety. Canned cranberry sauce is delicious, but heavily sweetened. So, if you’re monitoring your added sugar intake, this option may not be the best for you.

Dried cranberries can be found in most grocery stores. However, most of them are heavily sweetened and they often also have oil added to them. All this makes them taste pleasant, masking the natural tartness of the cranberries. You’ll need to shop around if you’re looking for dried cranberries without the additives. Some companies do offer them dried without added sugar or oil, but not many. If your local grocery stores does not carry them, they can be found online.

Cranberry juice is found in most grocery stores. It is often blended with sweeteners and sometimes other liquids to reduce the tartness of the cranberries. One-hundred percent juice varieties are now available; however, they are a blend of a number of different fruit juices including cranberry juice. Such juices may have no added sugars, but the concentration of fruit juice makes them high in naturally occurring sugars. Again, if your diet calls for sugar restriction, such juices may not be the best for you. Some stores do carry 100% cranberry juice, without added sweeteners or other juices to mask the tartness of the cranberries. So, if you’re opting for cranberry juice, read labels carefully to be sure you purchase the type of juice you’re looking for.

How to Prepare Cranberries
Cranberries should be stored unwashed in the refrigerator. Wash them just prior to being used. Place the cranberries in a strainer and give them a quick rinse under cool, running water. Allow them to drain, then use them as desired.

When using frozen cranberries that will not be cooked, thaw them well and allow them to drain before being used. If you’ll be cooking your frozen cranberries, simply use them in the frozen state for the best flavor. Note that this may increase your cooking time somewhat.

Cooking/Serving Ideas
Fresh or dried cranberries are often used in many sweet and savory foods, baked goods, salads, relishes, snacks, and dishes from breakfast to suppertime desserts, especially during the fall months when they’re in season. In addition to the numerous suggested recipes listed below, the following are some quick ideas for using cranberries. Enjoy!

* Add some frozen cranberries to your favorite smoothie.

* Add some fresh cranberries when you juice vegetables for a healthful addition.

* Add some cranberries, whether fresh or dried, when you’re making your favorite quick bread, muffins, cookies, and even pancakes.

* Add some cranberries to the pot when you cook your favorite grain. This would work well with rice, quinoa, wild rice, millet, and buckwheat.

* Make a simple cranberry jam by mixing ground cranberries with a small amount of maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or even other fruits like apples, oranges, pears, pineapple, and/or pomegranates.

* Make a savory cranberry chutney by mixing ground cranberries with onions, garlic, ginger, and apple cider vinegar.

Here are some quick ideas for using cranberries as provided by The World’s Healthiest Foods website at http://www.whfoods.com

* Take advantage of cranberries’ tartness by using them to replace vinegar or lemon when dressing your green salads. Toss the greens with a little olive oil and then add color and zest with a handful of raw cranberries.

* To balance their extreme tartness, combine fresh cranberries with other fruits such as oranges, apples, pineapple or pears. If desired, add a little fruit juice, honey or maple syrup to chopped fresh cranberries.

* For an easy-to-make salad that will immediately become a holiday favorite, place 2 cups fresh berries in your blender along with 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks, a quartered skinned orange, a sweet apple (such as one of the Delicious variety) and a handful or two of walnuts or pecans. Blend till well mixed but still chunky. Transfer to a large bowl. Dice 3-4 stalks of celery, add to the cranberry mixture and stir till just combined.

* Combine unsweetened cranberry juice in equal parts with your favorite fruit juice and sparkling mineral water for a lightly sweetened, refreshing spritzer. For even more color appeal, garnish with a slice of lime.

* Add color and variety to your favorite recipes for rice pudding, quick breads or muffins by using dried unsweetened cranberries instead of raisins.

* Sprinkle a handful of dried unsweetened cranberries over a bowl of hot oatmeal, barley, or any cold cereal.

* Mix dried unsweetened cranberries with lightly roasted and salted nuts for a delicious snack.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Cranberries (Fresh and Dried)
Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, nutmeg, pepper (black), salt, vanilla

Other Foods That Go Well With Cranberries (Fresh and Dried)
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, almond butter, chestnuts, chicken, hazelnuts, nuts (in general), pecans, pork, pumpkin seeds, turkey, veal, walnuts

Vegetables: Arugula, beets, Brussels sprouts, chiles (jalapeño or serrano), kale, onions, pumpkin, squash (winter, esp. butternut), salad greens, spinach, sweet potatoes

Fruit: Apples, apple cider, apple juice, apricots, currants, dates, figs, lemon, lime, orange, pears, persimmons, pineapples, pomegranates, raisins, raspberries, tangerines, watermelon

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (soft), milk, yogurt

Grains: Bread crumbs, corn (popcorn), cornmeal, farro, oats, quinoa, rice (esp. brown, wild), wheat

Other: Agave nectar, caramel, honey, maple syrup, miso, sugar, vinegar (esp. balsamic), vodka, wine (esp. port)

Cranberries have been used in…
American cuisine, baked goods (esp. breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, quick breads, scones), cereals (esp. hot), cobblers, compotes, crisps, drinks (cocktails, juices, punches), granola, muesli, pancakes, pilafs, puddings (esp. bread, rice), relishes, salad dressings, salads (esp. grain, green), salsas, sauces (cranberry), sorbets, soup (fruit), stuffings (corn bread), trail mixes

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Cranberries

Combine fresh cranberries with…
Apples + oranges
Apples + raisins
Balsamic vinegar + ginger + honey + miso + orange
Brown sugar + lime + oranges + walnuts
Cinnamon + ginger + oranges + vanilla + walnuts
Cloves + ginger + oranges
Dates + orange
Maple syrup + vanilla
Nuts + wild rice
Oatmeal + walnuts
Oranges + pears + pecans

Combine dried cranberries with…
Grains (i.e. couscous, oats, quinoa, wild rice) + nuts (i.e. almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts)
Oats + vanilla
Orange zest + wild rice
Pears + pecans
Pecans (or walnuts) + wild rice

Recipe Links
Holiday Cranberry Relish http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=324

Perfect Oatmeal http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=107

Cranberry Sauce http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=155

40 Best Cranberry Recipes for All Your Fall Meals https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g909/cranberry-recipes/

50 Things to Make With Cranberries https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-things-to-make-with-cranberries

16 Savory and Sweet Recipes to Make with Fresh Cranberries https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/g309/fresh-cranberries/

Cranberry Chutney https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13524/cranberry-chutney-i/?internalSource=rotd&referringId=1049&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub

Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/217051/cranberry-and-cilantro-quinoa-salad/?internalSource=streams&referringId=1049&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub&clickId=st_recipes_mades

Jamie’s Cranberry Spinach Salad https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/14469/jamies-cranberry-spinach-salad/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringId=1049&referringContentType=Recipe%20Hub&clickId=cardslot%207

10 Things to Do With Fresh Cranberries https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/article/10-things-to-do-with-fresh-cranberries

28 Mouthwatering Cranberry Recipes https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/article/10-things-to-do-with-fresh-cranberries

25 Sweet and Savory Cranberry Recipes That Go Beyond the Sauce https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/thanksgiving-ideas/g22854655/cranberry-recipes/

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Salsa and Blue Cheese Cranberry Scones https://www.uscranberries.com/recipes/roasted-butternut-squash-soup-w-cranberry-salsa-blue-cheese-cranberry-scones/

Cranberry Gingerbread Cupcakes https://www.uscranberries.com/recipes/cranberry-gingerbread-cupcakes/

Roasted Cranberry, Wild Rice and Kale Salad https://www.uscranberries.com/recipes/roasted-cranberry-wild-rice-and-kale-salad/

Cranberry Crisp https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-crisp/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.






Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.


Cauliflower 101 — The Basics

Cauliflower is growing in popularity in the United States. With the low-carb movement, people are discovering ingenious new ways to prepare this vegetable that our grandmothers would never have dreamed of! In the video below, I cover a lot of basic information about this interesting cruciferous vegetable, from what it is, to nutritional aspects, to how to prepare it and what foods and flavorings go well with it. To see my notes, please look below the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!

Cauliflower 101 – The Basics

About Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, so it is related to cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other such vegetables. There are many different types of cauliflower, including different colors in orange, green and purple. In the United States, most cauliflower sold is white with a fairly large compact head (or “curd”) with undeveloped flower buds that resemble broccoli florets.

The history of cauliflower dates back about 2,000 years. It appears to have originated in the area of modern day Turkey. Many cultures prefer a loose curd variety of cauliflower over the tight compact head type often seen in our grocery stores. Cauliflower is more popular in other parts of the world than in America, although popularity is increasing with the new ways of preparing it with the “low carb” trend. China and India produce 74% of the world’s cauliflower.

Nutrition Tidbits
Like other vegetables in the cruciferous family, cauliflower is low in calories and high in specific nutrients. One cup of raw cauliflower has only 25 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 77% of the RDI for Vitamin C, 20% of the RDI for Vitamin K, and notable amounts of some B vitamins and potassium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Also like other members of the cruciferous family, cauliflower is high in antioxidants that help to boost our immunity, reduce inflammation, and help to protect against cancer and heart disease. Cauliflower also is one of the plant foods (along with its cousin broccoli) that contains choline, a compound that protects our nervous system and helps ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people who are following low carbohydrate diets are now using cauliflower in ingenious ways to create interesting food alternatives such as cauliflower rice, pizza crust, hummus, tortillas, and mashed in place of potatoes.

To learn more about the nutritional wonders of cauliflower, visit Dr. Michael Greger’s website, https://nutritionfacts.org/ and watch some of his videos where cauliflower is discussed https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=cauliflower

How to Select Cauliflower
Look for cauliflower with a clean, firm, compact head that is creamy white in color. It should feel heavy for its size. Avoid those that are soft, have brown areas, or dark spots on the curds. Those with more leaves will usually be fresher.

How to Store Cauliflower
Store uncooked cauliflower in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Place it stem side down to protect the florets from excessive moisture. It will usually keep well in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

How to Preserve Cauliflower
Fresh cauliflower can be frozen, fermented, pickled, and dehydrated.

To freeze cauliflower: Blanch cauliflower pieces for 3 minutes in boiling water, or steam for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Then immediately place it in ice water to quickly cool it down. Leave the cauliflower in the ice water for as long as it was boiled or steamed. Then drain well and place in freezer containers or bags. It will keep for 10 to 12 months in the freezer. Here’s a link to an excellent explanation on how to freeze cauliflower. http://pickyourown.org/freezing_cauliflower.htm

Fermented cauliflower: The website https://www.culturesforhealth.com is renowned for information and products for culturing foods. At this link, they share a way to ferment cauliflower with carrots and garlic: https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/lacto-fermentation-recipes/lacto-fermented-cauliflower-carrots-garlic/

Pickled cauliflower: Cauliflower pickles can be added to salads or used to flavor or accompany many foods. Here’s a delicious-sounding recipe with instructions on how to pickle cauliflower: https://www.freshpreserving.com/pickled-cauliflower-br2760.html

Here’s another link with instructions on making quick refrigerator cauliflower pickles or canning pickles https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/pickled-cauliflower-with-carrots-red-bell-pepper

Dehydrated cauliflower: There is mixed information available on how and even whether cauliflower should be dehydrated. Some sources say it doesn’t need to be blanched; however, when you read the “fine print” they do state that it will darken after being dried if not blanched. Others state it should be blanched first, which I agree with, since blanching will stop the enzyme activity that will continue the aging process even after being dried. Follow your dehydrator manufacturer’s instructions on how to dry cauliflower in your machine.

Fresh vs Frozen
Cauliflower is available in most grocery stores both fresh and frozen. Fresh cauliflower is obviously more versatile than frozen, since it can be used both raw and cooked. Frozen cauliflower is a great convenience since it’s already washed, cut up and blanched. It will only be suitable for use in cooked dishes, but since it’s already blanched, it will require very little cooking time. Overcooking frozen cauliflower will make it soggy and mushy, so cook it quickly with as little water as possible (if you’re using water).

How to Prepare Cauliflower
The simplest way to wash cauliflower is to cut or break it into desired size pieces, then wash it. First, remove the leaves then remove the florets by cutting the central stem out where it meets the floret stalks. The florets can easily be removed and cut down or broken into smaller pieces, if desired.

If you are making cauliflower “steaks” then simply cut through the entire head into the desired width of slices needed for your recipe. The leaves and any undesired stem pieces can easily be removed after slicing.

Submerge the pieces into a bowl of water to rinse away any dirt or tiny insects that may be in there. It would be unusual to find insects in grocery store-purchased cauliflower. However, if the cauliflower was picked from your garden or bought at a farmer’s market, insects may be among the florets. In this case, soak your prepared pieces for 15 minutes in a bowl of salt water or a bowl of water with either lemon juice or vinegar mixed in. This will kill any insects that are lurking inside and also helps to remove any trapped dirt. After soaking, rinse the cauliflower well in fresh water, then proceed with your recipe.

Most people just eat the cauliflower florets. However, the stems and leaves are also edible, so include them if you want to enjoy the full benefit of the vegetable. Some people reserve the leaves and stems for soups or vegetable stock.

If you are opting to cook the cauliflower whole, then submerge the entire head for 15 minutes in a bowl of water, or one with salt or vinegar added, depending on where it was purchased. Rinse it well under running water afterward.

How is it usually eaten…raw or cooked?
Although cauliflower is edible both raw and cooked, it seems that Americans enjoy this vegetable cooked more than raw. Roasting has been the latest favorite way to prepare cauliflower.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Like broccoli, cauliflower contains sulfur compounds that can be released with extended cooking. To prevent that strong sulfur odor and flavor, cook cauliflower quickly and with as little water as possible. This will also help to retain its crispness.

Cauliflower can be boiled, steamed, roasted in bite-size pieces or steaks, sautéed, stir-fried, made into soups, crumbled into rice, mashed like potatoes, braised, added to stews, battered and fried, added to casseroles, baked into mock bagels, breads and muffins, and served raw in salads.

Below are some serving ideas from the website https://producemadesimple.ca/goes-well-cauliflower/

Cauliflower Serving Ideas:
• Top hot cooked cauliflower with melted butter and season with your choice of chives, dill, nutmeg, minced parsley, or lemon juice for a delicious side dish.
• Try roasting it with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Nuts pair nicely with cauliflower and can be roasted alongside the florets, if desired. Toss together in a bowl before serving.
• Raw cauliflower is delicious on a crudité platter and makes a crunchy addition to seasonal salads.
• Add chopped cooked cauliflower to a quiche, or stir it into scrambled eggs.
• Roast cauliflower and broccoli together, tossed with garam masala and olive oil.
• Cauliflower can be used to create kid-friendly dishes thanks to its ability to take on the flavors and seasonings of a recipe.
• Cut down on the carb content of decadent dishes like pizza and pasta by replacing the flour, grain or glutinous component with cauliflower.
• Bring classic Indian flavors to the table with a cauliflower aloo gobi.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Cauliflower
Basil, bay leaf, cardamom, chervil, chives, cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, dill, garam masala, ginger, marjoram, mint, mustard, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley, saffron, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric

Foods That Go Well With Cauliflower
Because of its neutral flavor, cauliflower goes well with just about anything. It’s only limited to your imagination! Here are some suggestions:

Produce: apples, asparagus, bell pepper, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, citrus, corn, garlic, lime, lemon, kale, mango, mushrooms, olives, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, squash, and tomatoes

Dairy: yogurt, cream, milk, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, browned butter, and butter

Other: beef, anchovies, pork, tofu, chickpeas, grains, pine nuts, walnuts, seeds, rice, almonds, tahini, and wine

Recipe Links
Asian Sautéed Cauliflower http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=182

Cauliflower, Fennel and White Bean Winter Salad https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cauliflower-fennel-and-74484

Five Ways to Eat Cauliflower https://www.thekitchn.com/five-ways-to-eat-cauliflower-99565

Recipe Roundup: Roasted Cauliflower (links to many recipes for roasted cauliflower) https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-roundup-roasted-caulifl-74401

25 Ways to Cook with Cauliflower https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/ways-to-cook-with-cauliflower/

Everything Bagel Style Cauliflower Rolls https://thefeedfeed.com/lexiscleankitchen/everything-bagel-style-cauliflower-rolls

Everything Bagel Cauliflower Steaks https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/everything-bagel-cauliflower-steaks/

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/54675/roasted-garlic-cauliflower/

Cauliflower Parmesan Crisps https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/cauliflower-parmesan-crisps/

Our 41 Best Cauliflower Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-favorite-cauliflower-recipes-gallery

Crispy Sea Salt & Vinegar Cauliflower “Popcorn” https://www.blissfulbasil.com/crispy-sea-salt-vinegar-cauliflower-popcorn/#wprm-recipe-container-23883

30 Life-Changing Cauliflower Recipes for Every Comfort Food Craving https://blog.bulletproof.com/cauliflower-recipes-keto-paleo-2g3c/

13 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes https://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/13-healthy-cauliflower-recipes/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=cauliflower%20recipes&utm_campaign=f-h-13-healthy-cauliflower-recipes&gclid=Cj0KCQiAk-7jBRD9ARIsAEy8mh50R8Si3aHqZtGX266QI_icxPG4IXNrHiUVaQkazB7dFEBZXomlkgIaAk2ZEALw_wcB

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.