Monday, November 15, 2021

History and origin of cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable that belongs to the Cabbage family, which is also the Brassicaceae family or Cruciferae. Its scientific name is Brassica oleracea var. botrytis.

The name of cauliflower has originated from the Latin words ‘Caulis’ and ‘Floris’ which means stem and flower, respectively. As suggested by its name, cauliflower is actually a flower. The editable part of the plant is the head of underdeveloped, tender flower stems and buds.

Cauliflower is thought to be domesticated in the Mediterranean region. Cauliflower originated in the island of Cyprus from where it moved to other areas like Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Spain and north western Europe. The cauliflower went through many transformations and reappeared in the Mediterranean region, where it has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 BC.

Abu -Zacarìa (Ibn-el-Awan) wrote at Sevilla during the XII century, the gathering of the “berzas de los cristianos” (Christian kale) and the cultivation of the “berza siriacas” (Syriac kale), which could be similar to both cauliflower and broccoli.

In the middle of the 16th century, the first illustration and description of cauliflower was presented by the herbalist Dodoens (1544).

It gained popularity in France in the mid-16th century and was subsequently cultivated in Northern Europe and the British Isles. It was found in North America around the end of the 1600s. Recipe books from the 18th century suggest that individuals from that time period enjoyed boiling, frying, and stewing cauliflower. Interestingly enough, in the 19th century people even boiled cauliflower in milk to make the flavor a bit gentler.

The first cauliflower cookbook was published by Arthur A Crozier in 1891 and since that point remained a popular ingredient for a variety of dishes.
History and origin of cauliflower