17 Jul 2006

Don't Write Off Cabbage !

Many were put off as children by waterlogged, overcooked cabbage. They are much more popular now due to being served raw, steamed or lightly cooked so they remain tasty and keep their crunchy texture. Plus they are inexpensive, nutritious and healthy. They are a delicious addition to any meal.

Cabbages are part of the Cruciferae family which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale. The cabbage varieties are red, green, Savoy and Chinese. They have been recorded as far back as 200BCE in many parts of the world.

Nutrition wise they are very high in vitamin C, folate, omega_3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. They also contain high amounts of vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine) and A. Cabbages also contain the minerals manganese, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.

Cabbages have been known for their medicimal properties for hundreds of years. In recent studies it has been found that foods in the Cruciferae family inhibit the growth of breast, lung, stomach and colon cancer. Raw cabbage juice is used in the treatment of peptic ulcers and their high folate levels are excellent for pregnant woman. People with pre-exisiting or untreated thyroid problems are warned not to eat too much cabbage as the goitrogens in cabbage may interfere with their thyroid function.

When purchasing cabbage choose heads that are very firm. Do not purchase cut cabbage as it will have lost much of its vitamin C but rather purchase the smaller varieties of it to suit your needs. Store by wrapping in clingfoil or in a container like Tupperware in the refrigerator where it will keep fresh for a couple of weeks.

Cabbage can be used raw in salads and the juice added to vegetable juices like carrot juice. They can be steamed and stirfried or added towards the end of cooking to soups and stews. Enjoy!

Recipes of the Day

Pressed Red Cabbage Caraway Slaw
from The Raw Gourmet
This is a highly flavored and impressive dish. If you enjoy this, try the same method with Asian sauce and experiment with different vegetables.

6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about 1/2 large cabbage)
1 large onion, sliced very thin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp caraway seeds
2 tsps Liquid amino's, or nama shoyu or additional sea salt

Place vegetables in bowl. Sprinkle the sea salt, caraway seeds and Liquid amino's evenly over vegetables. With your hands, knead and toss the salad, crushing the vegetables in your hands for 5-6 minutes. Serves 4-6

Aunt Nettie's Cabbage Stir Fry
from Vegetarians in Paradise

1/2 head green cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 cup (237 ml) red cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsps canola oil
1 or 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large skillet or wok and stir fry over high heat until vegetables are just softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve it up to 4 hungry folks.

Spicy South Indian Cabbage (Cabbage Poriyal)
from Syvum Vegetarian Recipes

Cooking time (approx.): 8 minutes
2 tbsps oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split black gram (you could use lentils or dal instead)
4 green chillies chopped
6 curry leaves
2 medium onion(s) chopped finely
1 medium cabbage shredded
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove grated
4 tbsps grated coconut
a pinch of turmeric powder and salt to taste
1 tsp lime juice

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Drop in the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add the split black gram and fry till it is light brown. Add the green chillies, curry leaves and the chopped onions. Fry on medium heat for about 3 minute(s) or till the onions are pale.
Add the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients except the salt and lime juice. Stir-fry on high heat till the cabbage is well coated with the oil and looks glossy. Mix in the salt, cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes or till the cabbage is yet crunchy but cooked.
Mix in the lime juice. Keep covered for 2 minutes.
Serve hot with: Coconut Rice (Nariyal Chawal), white rice or Indian bread (Roti, Chapati, Pooris). Serves: 4



Chandira said...

I still find overcooked white cabbage, drowned in butter and black pepper, great comfort food from my childhood.. :-)

KleoPatra said...

Very into cabbage when it's part of slaw. I think people tend to overcook it and it loses not only vitamins but flavour... my mom is/was notorious for doing that to a lot of veggies. I love my mom though!!

Dirty Butter said...

I can't believe I actually found a vegetable you don't have a post about! I was looking to see what you had to say about Bok Choi, which I have learned is a Chinese Cabbage. Hubby brought home a big stalk of it last week to try in our salads. I was afraid it was in the lettuce family and have been leary of eating much of it. I am relieved to find that it is a cabbage, though.

We're trying to eat the maximum of Super Foods each day that we can, so any advice for these salads of ours would be appreciated.

Jackie said...

Funnily I was going to do a post on bok choy this month. My main hold up is what I know as bok choy is loose leaved and tastes like spinach whereas the chinese cabbage which leaves are tight like our cabbages are often called bok choy in some places.

Need to sort that out before I post anything LOL