What's the story with purple cauli?

By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach

This week I was delighted to attend the Fresh Awards, an annual event run by Sydney Markets. It's an huge occasion which celebrates the best produce and flowers growers, greengrocers, florists and wholesalers in NSW.

Given that it's an event to celebrate fresh produce, each year there's always a spectacular show of fruit and vegetables on display and at the end of the night, many of us return home with a swag of produce to enjoy in the week ahead. This year I armed my husband with some leeks, carrots and a beautiful purple head of cauliflower.

The benefits of purple pigment in fresh fruit well knows but for those of us used to brilliant white heads of cauliflower, the purple looks pretty strange. So what causes cauliflower to turn purple and is it any good for us? To answer the second question first, the answer is a loud resounding yes. Arguably purple cauliflower is even better than the white stuff, you have all the benefits of cauliflower, plus anthocyanin, the plant pigment which turns cauliflower purple.

Anthocyanins are pigments that give colour to everything from beetroot to blueberries, red wine to autumn leaves. They are primarily for the plants benefit and protect plants from external conditions such as sunlight and extreme cold but have knock on benefits to humans when they eat foods containing anthocyanins.

Research shows that anthocyanins may help fight cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries. As powerful antioxidants they appear to also prevent cancer cell proliferation and inhibit the formation of cancerous tumours.

In addition to all that, purple and white cauliflowers are rich in the sulphur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates, which have significant anti-inflammatory properties.

In the case of the purple cauliflower I carried home, it is a hybrid developed by crossing heirloom varieties. It's not genetically modified and it's nothing to be scared of.

As for what they taste like - well that's something worth trying for yourself.


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