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Food of the Month: Cabbage

Did you know that cabbage is the world’s most popular vegetable? In the U.S., however, it ranks behind vegetables like potatoes, corn and green beans. According to Jo Robinson, author of “Eating on the Wild Side,” we eat on average 8 ½ pounds of cabbage a year which is 1/5-1/2 as much as people in Europe. Cabbage is an amazing and versatile vegetable that can add lots of nutrition to your meal if you can get over it’s smell. When cooked, cabbage produces hydrogen sulfide which is a foul rotten egg smell. However, steaming cabbage for 5 minutes or less will produce significantly less of this foul smelling gas.

What is it?

Cabbage belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables that is so well-known for it’s cancer fighting properties. It comes in several colors including green, red or white. Although many varieties of cabbage exist, the smooth-leafed, green-headed cabbage is most common. However, red cabbage wins the anti-oxidant prize amongst cabbage varieties. It has six times more anti-oxidant activity as green cabbage and three times more than savoy cabbage.

Health Benefits

Cabbage contains a whole host of vitamins including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Most notably cabbage is high in Vitamin C which is essential to the absorption of non-heme iron, the iron found in plant-based foods. Cabbage is also rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber which are important to creating and maintaining a healthy gut bacteria. Lastly, cabbage is rich in anti-oxidants which help the body decrease inflammation and ward off diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

How to Store

Cabbage has a low respiration rate so it can be stored in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for weeks without losing many of it’s nutrients. However, long storage does change the sweetness of the cabbage. In fact, just a few days in the refrigerator will decrease the sugar content of the cabbage by 30 percent according to the book “Eating on the Wild Side.”

How to Use

Pickled
Fermented as in sauerkraut
Steamed
Stewed
Sautéed
Braised
Eaten raw in coleslaw. Take a look at this delicious coleslaw recipe for an idea on how to eat it raw!

 

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