Cauliflower Fail: Yes or No?

Browning Cauliflower

Browning Cauliflower
January 26, 2013

I’ve been trying to deny the inevitable for a week now.  My cauliflower is done-for.  Gone. Kaput. Or at least it looks that way

It didn’t occur to me to protect the plants from frost damage. Cauliflower is a winter crop in warm climates.  Shouldn’t it withstand the elements? The plants look okay, but all of the cauliflower heads turned brown.

Upon further reading, I’m wondering if I missed a step, something known as blanching. It sounds counter-intuitive: instead of allowing the flower heads, called curds, exposure to the sun, you cover them. The articles I’ve read suggest folding the leaves over the curds and holding them in place with twine.  Leaves should be tied loosely to allow air to circulate.

Apparently I’ve spent one too many years eating vegetables from the supermarket. Or not.  At this point, I suppose time will tell. The browning will continue or abate. The curds will grow or wilt.  Meanwhile I just evicted some gray scaly pests from the broccoli plants.  In a word: ick!

Stay tuned.


Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and Cauliflower
November 9th

Broccoli and cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower
December 17, 2012


December 18, 2012

17 thoughts on “Cauliflower Fail: Yes or No?

  1. i can empathise… my cauliflower heads seemed to turn brown overnight. as they are still only very small i decided to leave them to grow, the rationale being that the new spurts would be unaffected.
    by the way, i had protected my plants with fleece, though perhaps not well enough.


  2. Those folks at Organic Gardening would have you think it’s all easy breezy. Darn it hey? Looked so nice in December. That’s neat that you can grow a ‘self-blanching’ variety, that might be worth a whirl. You make me wonder now, who could they possibly hire to evict ‘grey scaly pests’ from acres of cauliflower? Must they spray it in a commercial setting? I wash everything religiously with bacterial killing soap (mostly to rid it of all traces of hand holding by strangers) but I wonder what I don’t wash away. Another good reason to grow your own, if you can.


    • I know, right?! I should look for those special self-blanching varieties. I just never knew.

      Part of why organic produce is pricey is due to all the pests that get first dibs. I suppose a huge infestation would wipe out any crop, but at a large scale, they must be able to manage. Non-organic does involve spraying, a whole other can of worms. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for your supportive words, Boomdee.

      Good for you for your diligence in food prep. We’ve had so many cases of salmonella and other nasties in recent years. You can’t bee too careful.


      • I have read somewhere that one of the things we don’t usually wash, but should the most, is bananas. Some countries they are imported from have lax laws regarding pesticides and the worst bugs…ergo…I wash the heck out of them too. You’re right, you can’t be too careful. I’m getting to be like Monk…I refuse to use the baskets at Safeway, they are so so dirty and the carts are a mess too. I have my own plastic containers I put in the cart to fill. Who knows if the EVER, wash the carts….I doubt it.


        • Something that has caught on here is sanitizing wipes near the shopping carts. The idea is to take one and wipe down the handle bar.

          I never thought to wash a banana since we always peel them. I started washing cantaloupe for the same reason though. Anything on the skin travels inward with the cut of a knife. Ick!


          • Oh ya, that’s a good point too. …oh man, it’s almost a full time job making a stir fry….LOL
            Some stores here are offering wipes at the door too. I’ve really noticed them with this crazy flue season…I also take an extra one to wipe off the nasty conveyer belt at the checkout….I’m sure they think I’m mad.


              • Oh, yes good idea. Sharon must be even more vigalent than ever. Now they’re saying you can get this strain more than once…..very worrisome. I only got a shot one winter, they came to the office. Unfortunately it didn’t work that year. It was 99/2000 and we missed New Years, we were both deathly ill. I was sooooo disappointed….not everyone gets to celebrate the turn of a century…


  3. Hey, mine have turned out the same. I cut one from the garden today and it was leggy and brownish. My solution was to clean it, trim it and…eat it raw! It tasted very cauliflowery so that is ok. I haven’t researched how to wrap it in the leaves so perhaps that is the answer for future reference.


    • Really? That is so reassuring. It looks terrible right now. I was crestfallen when I first saw it.

      I was thinking as I read further that my definition of easy to grow is that you plant, water and harvest. I didn’t know about making a special tent out of the leaves. I will give it a try again next year, tent included, to see how they do.

      I love eating it raw so I’ll wait till they get a bit bigger, then I’ll go your route. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.


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