How to choose: Cauliflower’s curdlike head should be firm, compact, and milky white, thanks to ribbed leaves that cover it while growing. Trim any brown spots. Keeps at least a week when refrigerated in a plastic bag.

Preparation tips: Cut around the main stem, releasing branches (don’t cut through buds). Blend steamed, very tender florets with roasted garlic and minced parsley for a lower-carb mashed-potato alternative. For delicious nutty tones, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and oven roast, turning, until crisp-tender, about 30 minutes; accent with chopped olives and bitter greens.

Health benefits: Although Mark Twain called cauliflower “nothing but cabbage with a college education,” it earns superior marks for vitamins C and K, plus folate.

—Elisa Bosley