Today is the first day of my life that I have seen Green Cauliflowers for sale. An article in the Daily Mail from 2008 describes green , purple and orange cauliflowers as not genetic engineering but derived from selective breeding. Although the colours seem unusual it is not the first time that plant breeders have changed the appearance of vegetables.
Until the 17th century most carrots eaten in Europe were white, yellow or purple. The orange pigment was added by Dutch plant breeders looking for a way to celebrate Holland’s royal family.The last few years has seen the introduction of purple carrots to supermarkets in Britain, along with yellow tomatoes and purple potatoes.
In America, where colour cauliflowers have been available for several years, they have been a big hit with foodies. The orange cauliflower has higher than normal levels of beta carotene, a form of vitamin A that encourages healthy skin.The purple colour comes from anthocyanin, which may help prevent heart disease by slowing blood clotting.
Tests of the orange cauliflowers in America found that they contained 25 times the concentrations of beta carotene in normal cauliflowers.
So what do we know about green cauliflowers? There are two types of Broccoflowers. The first type seen here has all the attributes of the white cauliflower but with green curds. The second type is more a visual cross of cauliflower and broccoli. They are hybrids of cauliflower and broccoli, both members of the species Brassica oleracea, making them fully cross compatible. The cross is easily made by hand pollination or natural pollinators. Green cauliflower can also be found under the name broccoflower or cauliflower broccoli. Green cauliflower is higher in protein, at 2.95%, than either white cauliflower, 1.92%, or broccoli, 2.82%
The photograph below seems in fact almost to show both types of green cauliflower.