Everyone, rejoice! World Cabbage Day is just around the corner on Feb. 17! What will you do to celebrate?
If you are feeling a bit wild, you could attempt to break one of the various world records held regarding cabbage. For instance, try testing your green thumb and grow a cabbage larger than Steve Hubacek’s 127 pound Alaskan grown cabbage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIU9uhz5coQ).
If you are looking for an easier way to celebrate, you could simply join in on bringing back cabbage, which has fallen out of fashion.
In the 1920s, cabbage consumption in the United States was 22 pounds per a person each year. In 2010, consumption was only at 8 pounds a person, with the greatest demand in March for the boiled cabbage often overlooked in a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef meal.
Nevertheless, there are many reasons why we should bring cabbage back.
It stores well, provides multiple dishes per head and can be prepared in more ways than expected. Read on for some great background on cabbage along with what you can do with it beyond your corned beef and cabbage or sauerkraut.
Cabbage received its name from the Old French word “caboce,” which means head. Maybe this is also why somewhere down the line the story of cabbage patch kids came to life.
The first documented use of cabbage was for medicinal purposes in ancient Greece and Rome. In fact, cabbage leaves are still used by some lactating mothers to help ease breast engorgement, but there is still insufficient research on its effectiveness in this application.
Additionally, sulfur-based compounds found in cabbage and other Brassica family vegetables called glucosinolates are continuously being researched to determine if they might play a role in cancer prevention.
Cabbage also contains a significant amount of Vitamin K and fiber. When it comes down to it, you may just want to keep in mind that cabbage can be incorporated into your diet to help increase your vegetable intake and boost your overall health.
Selection and Preparation
You can choose either green or red head cabbage in most grocery stores. It is available year round and stores well.
Ideally, you should select a firm, dense cabbage. Look for brightly colored leaves free of blemishes.
When you are ready to use the cabbage, remove the outer leaves. For cut cabbage, begin by cutting the head into quarters along the length of the core. The core should then be removed from each quarter.
One of my favorite ways to eat raw cabbage is shredded over salmon fish tacos, or as the base of a “taco bowl.”
I prefer my sliced cabbage undressed, but if you find it needs something extra, try mixing it in the following dressing for any kind of taco:
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs olive oil
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp coriander
Dash of cayenne pepper
(Shake all ingredients together)
Another way I like to eat cabbage is braising it with some vinegar as a side dish. Here is a great example of how you can braise cabbage:
You can also steam whole leaves of cabbage until slightly soft to use as a wrap.
I like to place some brown rice, black beans, roasted beets and balsamic vinegar inside to bring as a packed lunch.
Finally, I just discovered the concept of roasting cabbage from this recipe by Martha Stewart. This seems like a great alternative to roasting Brussels Sprouts, which are often more expensive than cabbage:
Please feel free to use the comment section to share your own cabbage adventures or your favorite way to prepare it. Happy World Cabbage Day!
References and other links to check out:
Young, Ed. The cabbage in your fridge still runs on a daily clock. National Geographic: 2013. Retrieved from: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/20/the-cabbage-in-your-fridge-still-runs-on-a-daily-clock/
Mangesi L, Dowswell T. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: 2010, Issue 9 (Art. No.: CD006946). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006946.pub2 - See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD006946/treatment-for-breast-engorgement-in-breastfeeding-women#sthash.nGPvOQhO.dpuf
National Cancer Institute. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. National Cancer Insiitute: 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/diet/cruciferous-vegetables
Agricultural Research Service. Basic report: 11109, cabbage, raw. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
Cabbage. In Word origins: 2006. Retrieved from: http://0-literati.credoreference.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/content/entry/acbwordorig/cabbage/0
Boriss H. & Kreith M. Cabbage profile. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center: 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/vegetables/cabbage-profile/’
Jule O'Dea is in her last semester of the Human Nutrition-Dietetics program at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Once she graduates she plans on entering community nutrition. She is especially interested in sustainable food systems. In her free time Jule likes to see live music, ski and fly fish.