Eat Local! Cabbage
December 31, 2016
Cabbage has been grown and eaten as a part of many different cultures for centuries. It’s believed that cabbage was first cultivated and introduced to Europe by migrating Celtic tribes prior to 1,000 B.C. Cabbage was a popular vegetable in northern Europe throughout the Middle Ages and has been used for both food and medicinal purposes throughout history. The Greeks and Romans also believed cabbage to have healing powers for many diseases.
Today, we know that cabbage is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin K. High amounts of cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, help to protect cellular DNA and prevent against cancer as well as boost the immune system.
Cabbage is a cool weather crop and can survive a hard frost of about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There are several different types of cabbage; the most common ones include pale green (a mild flavored cabbage); red/purple cabbage (rich in antioxidants); Savoy (crinkled texture); and Napa, or Chinese cabbage that is popular in many East Asian dishes. Choose cabbage that is firm, shiny, and has crisp leaves. Use within 2 weeks for optimal flavor. The vitamin C in cabbage begins to break down after it is cut, so use immediately after cutting to maximize nutrient absorption.
Cabbage adds color, texture, and variety to many different foods. It makes a great addition to soup, stir fry, or sliced up and used as a base for salad or slaw. Cabbage can also be fermented (known as sauerkraut) to provide gut-healthy probiotics.
1 head of Napa cabbage, sliced (if desired, mix purple cabbage and green cabbage for an extra pop of color)
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
3 Tbs. minced cilantro
2 medium cloves garlic, pressed
6-8 oz. cooked organic chicken breast, shredded or chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
Directions: Whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Combine cabbage and chicken. Pour vinegar dressing over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Fold in cilantro and slivered almonds and serve as a cold salad.
By Natalie Colla, RDN, LDN. Natalie Colla is a dietitian at Kootenai Diabetes & Endocrinology.