Cabbage is a healthy food that is often maligned because it was, is and hopefully will always be. It is an important family member of the Brassica, which includes turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Why is cabbage important? Let’s review cabbage facts, some you know and others you may not.
The entire lineage of Brassica family plays a prime role in our daily nutrition. All are chock full of vitamins E, C and K; plentiful sources of fiber; contain a plethora of minerals including potassium, calcium and phosphorous; and also supply iron. In general one member of the Brassica family should be eaten each day. In particular, cabbage is inexpensive and easy to find at produce markets.
Cabbage Health Benefits
Cabbage is a good diet food, which assists the body with burning off fat calories, although I don’t resonate with the all cabbage diet that once was the rave. Its vitamin E content promotes healthy skin and utilizes oxygen. If you aren’t “regular”, here’s a trick my husband uses – drink two cans of cabbage juice and get ready to run. (Literally.)
Eating Mediterranean Style
I’ve eaten Mediterranean style for about six years now to maintain a healthy cholesterol level without taking statin medicines. Cabbage is versatile to cook with or simply served raw as coleslaw. If you’ve never been a cabbage fan, perhaps you’ve only eaten it overcooked. In days past, cabbage was placed in a huge pot of water, with a slab of salt pork and cooked all day, causing it to taste like a bland, but salty blob. And who could ever forget the lingering aroma of all-day cabbage?
Try combining cabbage with ½ cup water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, squash, carrots, onion, garlic and your choice of herbs for a healthy, low fat dish. Cook about 10-12 minutes in the microwave. Or, pour olive oil over the mixture and sizzle in your oven until crispy but not overdone.
Pickled cabbage or sauerkraut is delicious when paired with pork chops, polish sausage, fish or as a condiment for hot dogs. It’s easy to marinate cabbage or you can buy it buy ready-made. When making sauerkraut at home, be sure and include onion because in tandem, the two make powerful cancer-fighters.
Perhaps you aren’t fond of coleslaw because similar to incorrectly cooked cabbage, you’ve only sampled the sticky-sweet and sour variety, overdressed with globs of high fat mayonnaise. From all my experimentation to develop a healthier, yet tasty dressing, this one is my favorite: combine ½ cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon caraway seed and salt/pepper to taste. Prepare the evening before so that ingredients can marinate overnight in refrigerator. (Remember to add onions to your coleslaw.)
Cabbage Fact for Wise Women
According to a Texas old wife tale, passed to me from my auntie, when a woman wants her husband to “listen-up” to her unvarnished truth, she lets him know “how the cow ate the cabbage”.
When I place hands on hips and flash my husband THE look, the one that speaks volumes without words, he’ll grin and say, “Am I about to get the cabbage Bonnie?” How can one remain cranky with such a sweetheart?