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Nov 18, 2006 05:02 PM

Romanesco cauliflower

So I bought one of these incredibly beautiful cauliflowers the other day because I couldn't resist it. This led to a discussion with a friend who is convinced it's simply a genetically modified freak, not an old heritage variety of brassica. Anyone know for sure? I'm really curious now.

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  1. I find them difficult to eat because they almost look intelligent.
    I picture them growing in even larger spiral clusters on top of larger spiral clusters
    on clusters fractally all the way down to the center of the universe.

    But that's just me.

      1. re: Eldon Kreider

        Oh I'll have no trouble figuring out what to do with it - I'm just wondering if it's a new (artificially created) veg or an old one.

        1. re: Nyleve

          If you believe this French site, Romanesco has been cultivated for 2000 years:

          Delicious Organics lists organic Romanesco as available for a short period of time each year: (


          Some of these old vegetables have enjoyed a resurgence in the last 20 years or so.

      2. I don't think it's a genetically modified freak (or at least a particularly recent one). I remember seeing one growing in a friend's garden in France fifteen years ago.

        1 Reply
        1. re: butterfly

          I was just in Tuscany and saw them all over the place in local markets. Thank you.

        2. Thanks for that. I will be forwarding the information to my friend who tried to convince me that it was an unnatural vegetable.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            Tell him my friend calls nectarines abominations of nature. Leave the poor Romanesco alone and pick on a real freak!

            1. re: Pei

              We will abuse nectarines, as advised. Thank you. In the meantime, will devour Romanesco.

              1. re: Pei

                What's freaky about nectarines? I can see feeling that way about the various pluot/aprium varieties, but nectarines?

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Well, she personally hates them because in her book peaches should be fuzzy, sweet, and eaten soft and pulpy.

                  The nectarine, with its shiny skin, crunchy texture, and tanginess, is to her a mutated peach that belongs in the reject pile.


                  But you know, she hates crunchy Asian peaches too. She only likes her beloved southern peaches (from South Carolina, no less. NOT Georgia!).

            2. Mmm...fractal broccoli.