If you think the cauliflower looks a lot like broccoli, well you’re spot on. Like it’s green cousin, the cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family and its white buds can be cooked, boiled, pickled, or eaten raw. Unlike other members of this plant group, though, the stems and leaves are not usually used for culinary purposes, except to flavor stocks.
There are four major groups of cauliflower species: Italian, Northwest European biennial, Northern European annuals, and Asian. And although the white cauliflower is the most recognizable of the bunch, this vegetable also comes in orange, green, and purple varieties: the orange cauliflower originated from a natural mutant plant in Canada; the green is also referred to as Romanesco; and the vibrant purple version is a result of an antioxidant that is also found in purple cabbage and red wine.