“CAULI-FLOUR” – Trader Joe’s stole my idea (and I’m not even angry).

Grated cauliflower is now available in several stores. This is great news overall, with some reservations.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports on the price hike and possible shortage of cauliflower due to the crucifer’s increased popularity. Not a good thing in the immediate future, but an encouraging trend health wise: its new-found popularity can only help cauliflower become more readily available and affordable in the future.

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And the future is already here!

Cauliflower crust aficionados will be happy to learn that they can buy ready-grated cauliflower at Trader Joe’s: at first it lived in the frozen section, but now “riced” cauliflower is also available in the fresh produce aisle. Green Giant is selling its own version too, and by the time this post is published, I am confident that there will be more offerings.

Cauliflower - white
Good old cauliflower – at Safeway about $4 / lb

Green Giant Cauliflower Crumbles - $3.49 / 16 oz
Green Giant Cauliflower Crumbles – $3.49 / 16 oz

Organic Trader Joe's riced cauliflower - $1.99 / 12 oz
Organic Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower – $1.99 / 12 oz

So how does packaged cauliflower compare to the real thing? Let’s take a look, taking into account:

1 – Practicality – YES, YES, YES!
Even though it’s not difficult to shred cauliflower, the operation can be messy or painful (have you ever grated your knuckles?). Grating adds one step to a process that is already a little complicated. So if you don’t have infinite amounts of time, riced cauliflower is definitely worth it.

2 – Nutritional value – looks OK, but read the fine print.

Stems vs. florets
Don’t discard the stems: they possess as much nutritional value as the florets. The stems contain more chloroplasts and the associated chlorophyll and carotenoids, they also have more fiber. The maturation of nutrients in the stem and in the floret are different and complement each other.

It doesn’t look like much nutrition can be lost in the process of grating. In fact, one advantage is that the stems are probably blended together with the florets, which has more nutritional value than eating the florets alone.

However, Green Giant proudly boasts that its product “can be steamed in its pack” (always scary) and uses a “patent pending process to extend shelf life” (I don’t know about you, but this makes my hair stand on end): Additives are a problem in all packaged foods; under certain conditions, they don’t have to be listed with the ingredients. My daughter is not allergic to fresh carrots, yet she has had serious allergic reactions to packaged carrots, although the only ingredient listed was “carrots.”

We need to know a little more about the industrial processes involved in bringing the product to market. Real food with the least possible processing is always preferable; packaged cauliflower may be an acceptable alternative, if produced in a reasonable manner.

3 – Price
A quick survey doesn’t reveals huge price differences. But note that the price of fresh cauliflower fluctuates a lot these days.

In any case, compared with a box of cereals (roughly $4/lb), cauliflower is well worth it, no matter under what form you buy it.

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Don’t Eat Cauliflower to Lose Weight!

A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal (Feb.2, 2016) is calling attention to the astonishing possibility of a cauliflower shortage. According to the article, cauliflower has become very popular in the U.S. lately: this is mainly because many people who cut carbohydrates in an effort to lose weight are turning to cauliflower as a low-carb substitute to starchy foods.

To which I say:
Don’t eat cauliflower to lose weight!
Eat cauliflower because:

Cauliflower - orange

  • It is replete with nutrients. As a member of the cruciferous family, it is rich in sulphoraphanes, which have many beneficial properties: in particular they protect against UV radiation, contribute to joint health and help the immune system fight cancer.

But don’t focus on any single micronutrient in your food: just eat real food such as (but not limited to) cauliflower and know that it brings you many of the micronutrients that your body needs to thrive!

Cauliflower - green

  • Yes, cauliflower has a low starch/sugar contents. Consuming less starch will probably result in weight loss for those who need it: starch and sugar are converted into body fat, and the insulin resulting from high blood sugar tells your metabolism to go into “storage” mode.

Sugar and starches are very nefarious to your body in many other ways. So the benefits of replacing starchy foods by non-starchy vegetables go way beyond weight loss.

  • Cauliflower tastes great and is, in fact, very versatile. (See recipe in upcoming post.) In comes in several colors that bring different nutrients to your body. So try them all!

And if indeed, one head of cauliflower seems expensive, think of how much more nutrition it brings compared to those boxes of cereals that people routinely buy.

Chestnut Season is too short!

Chestnuts belong to the “nuts and seeds” family, but contrary to most edible nuts, they contain almost no fat. (This, by the way, is not a virtue: our body needs fats.) The simple, hearty soup presented here is everybody’s favorite and makes a good fall or winter starter.


Fall is good! If only because this is the time when Trader Joe’s carries pre-cooked, vacuum packed chestnuts. Look for them in the vegetable section of the store and make sure to load up when you find them, because they will disappear too soon.

Pre-cooked chestnuts keep for a long time, and can be frozen with no loss of flavor or texture.

(!$#@!) Unfortunately, because it took me so long to get started with this blog, chestnuts are no longer available at Trader Joe’s. Draeger’s carries them year long, at a premium of course. I’ve been told that Costco has them too. Asian supermarkets sell roasted-peeled chestnut, but I haven’t tested them yet.

Chestnuts belong to the “nut and seed” family, but contrary to most edible nuts, they contain almost no fat. This, by the way, is not a virtue: our body needs fats of all kinds in order to be healthy.
For a given weight, they are no starchier than other nuts but you tend to eat more of them. They are gluten free. But beware if you treat them as a vegetable: their starch content is similar to that of starchy foods like potato, sweet potato or plantain.
Their nutritional profile is not great but they make a nice treat on a cold winter day, especially if you’re planning on going out to chop wood.