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I recently made cauliflower puree following this recipe.

I put florets of cauliflower in a microwave oven safe pot, together with some butter and some milk, and cooked it till more or less tender. Then I added salt, pepper, a bit of nutmeg and some cheese (I used cheddar and emmental).

At that point in time it was fine, like I had it before. About two days later, I wanted to eat the leftover puree (which I stored in the refrigerator), but its flavor had changed. There was now a distinct sharp flavor present, which reminded me of horseradish or perhaps mustard.

Does anyone know why and/or how the flavor changed?

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7  
Sorry, I've been putting mustard in it. I forgot to tell you. – Joe Mar 17 at 21:18

The flavor / odor notes you're experiencing are probably sulfuric compounds. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain sulfiric compounds that are released on cooking. That's why the stir-fried crisp-tender broccoli tastes so different from the limp overcooked olive green florets. Similar to how spicy salsa fresca grows ever spicier after a couple days in the fridge, your puree is slowly continuing that "cooking" process.

It's still okay to eat, but you'll be less aware of the flavor change if you use it in a more highly spiced dish once it's a couple days old.

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Cauliflower is from the same botanical family as mustard and horseradish. They all produce sulfuric compounds in different amounts. The odor of the sharper family members such as mustard is primarily based on those compounds.

My best guess is that your cauliflower already had some less-pungent sulfuric compounds present. When sitting, they either oxidized or reacted with something else present in the puree to form the more pungent ones. So now you can detect the smell.

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I think the cheese and nutmeg has infused the purée with their flavors a lot more than when you made it.

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1  
The asker says their puree has a flavour of mustard or horseradish, not cheese or nutmeg. – David Richerby Mar 17 at 18:43

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