Cauliflower is becoming a popular vegetable among the urban elite. However, it remains unknown to the average Ugandan.
For a long time, most of the cauliflower consumed in Uganda was imported from neighbouring Kenya. But today, a number of Ugandan farmers have started growing the high value vegetable and are earning a lot of money from it. The farmers supply it to supermarkets and restaurants.
Patrick Iga, a prominent farmer in Luwero district, says the name cauliflower means ‘cabbage flower’. According to Iga cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family alongside others such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale (Sukuma wiki).
The vegetable contains important substances that may reduce your risk of some types of cancer.
Iga says cauliflower is cultivated for its edible head. The white, edible part of cauliflower is called the curd. The curd is formed from a mass of abortive flowers with fresh edible stalks. The variety most common in Uganda is white, although a purple variety also exists.
In Uganda, cauliflower is mainly grown in Kabale district in the southwest where conditions favour it. The vegetable has narrower leaves than cabbage.
Allan Kaweesi, a vegetable seller and businessman in Kawempe, Kampala, says cauliflower can grow in most of the areas where cabbages can grow, except that cauliflower is affected by extreme cold or heat. Like cabbage, cauliflower has to be started out in the nursery.
He says the seedlings can be transplanted after a month. Cauliflower matures at 3.5 to 4.5 months after transplanting.
The leaves should be tied on top of the curd to prevent browning of the curd because this lowers quality. This should be done as the head expands and before harvesting.
According to Iga, browning of the curd affects the flavour. Brown coloured curds are better. Cauliflower is a fat and cholesterol free food. It is low in sodium, high in vitamin C and is a good source of folate.
Cauliflower can interfere with iodine absorption in the body, so those with thyroid problems should avoid eating it.