|Extremely Versatile Cabbage
Cabbage is one of the most ancient of the more common vegetables.
It has been in circulation for more than 4000 years. Centuries
of cultivation have produced other forms of this brassica family:
kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Cabbage comes in several varieties: red, green or white,
with smooth or crinkled leaves, a round, oblong or conical
head. Most of us buy this conical shape called Wakefield
Most parts of the world grow and eat cabbage. Any soil or
climate will produce this hardy vegetable in as little as
3 months growing time, and cabbage yields a greater amount
of green vegetable per acre or plot than any other plant.
For centuries Germans have been pickling cabbage to make
sauerkraut; pickling being a basic method of food preservation
before modern technology. Our fondness for sauerkraut began
when German settlers brought it with them from their homeland.
Koreans also use a very powerful pickled cabbage dish called "kimchi."
Of course we cannot speak of cabbage without remembering
that babies are found under cabbage leaves!
NUTRITIONAL AND MEDICINAL INFORMATION
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A and some
vitamin B, minerals, calcium, and phosphorus. The green outer
leaves have as much as 40% more calcium than the inner leaves.
Cabbage is low in calories 3 1/2 ounces raw = 24 calories
and 3 1/2 ounces cooked and drained = 20 calories!
Cabbage is ideal roughage to aid digestion. It also contains
sulfur and this and the roughage may cause intestinal distress
for some people. Enzymes from the health food store may help
this. Chinese cabbage has a high sodium content, lower sulfur
content, and does not produce as much gas as red and white
cabbage. Raw cabbage juice may be taken for vitamin C when
citrus fruits are prohibited. Try combining the juice with
celery or tomato juice for a milder taste.
If you are eating excessive amounts of raw cabbage you
might NOT be getting the iodine you need, as there are elements
in the cabbage that prevent proper utilization of iodine.
This can throw off thyroid production in individuals with
an existing low iodine intake. A kelp supplement could be
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and contains several
Indolesblock cancer-causing substances
before they can damage cells; Phenolic acidshelp
resist cancer by inhibiting cell proliferation induced by
carcinogens in target organs; inhibit platelet activity;
decrease inflammation and act as anti-oxidants; Sulforaphaneinduce
protective enzymes, suppress tumor growth. Studies of people
who eat a diet high in cruciferous veggies show lower rates
of cancer than those who dont.
Cabbage contains choline which is used by the brain to make
acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory
Cabbage is a good source of B-6, or pyridoxine, a vitamin
responsible for a whole host of beneficial effects, from
aid in digesting proteins and fats and alleviating nausea,
to reducing muscle spasms. B-6 works as a natural diuretic
and helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Raw cabbage contains vitamin U, reputed to play an important
role in healing ulcers. Dr. Garnet Cheney, clinical professor
at the University of California, found 4 to 5 days of drinking
raw cabbage juice reduced most symptoms in his ulcer patients.
Medical opinions vary on this.
On a lighter note, raw cabbage with vinegar has been recommended
by some as a fine hangover cure!
Dr. Bernard Jensen tells us cabbage is effective in overcoming
constipation and sauerkraut is even better! Try raw sauerkraut
juice mixed with a little tomato juice for a good laxative.
It is high in vitamin C and lactic acid.
Service women in the army in New Zealand insist on cabbage
salads as cabbage is considered one of the best foods for
keeping a clean, clear complexion.
BUYING, STORING AND COOKING
Red or green cabbage is best when the heads are heavy for
their size. Choose firm, compact heads free of rot and blemishes.
White heads mean over-maturity. Refrigerate uncooked, unwashed
and uncut cabbage in a plastic bag. Firm, hard cabbages will
keep a week or more, soft ones a few days. Cooked, covered
cabbage will keep 1 to 4 days. One pound of raw cabbage =
2 1/2 cups cooked or 3 servings. One pound of raw = 2 1/2
cups shredded raw or 4 servings. Cook cabbage soon after
slicing to avoid loss of vitamin C. Do not overcook. Shredded
cabbage cooks in 3 to 4 minutes in 1/2 inch of boiling water.
Cabbage is extremely versatile. Raw or cooked, use this
healthy veggie often for salads, great winter or summer soups,
casseroles or sauerkraut. Find several recipes you enjoy
and use these in your menu regularly. I like to make several
batches of the Cabbage Tomato Soup (below) for my freezer.
On a busy day I add cooked beans (usually navy or lima) and
serve with a salad and whole grain bread or crackers for
a nutritionally complete meal.
CABBAGE TOMATO SOUP
Stock up the freezer with this hearty soup each fall!
- 4 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
- 1 diced onion
- 2 thinly sliced carrots
- 1 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped up
- 1 cabbage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
- optional: -cooked legumes (eg. lima, navy, garbanzo)
chopped garlic cloves chopped green peppers
Place broth, onions, carrots, and tomatoes in a large pot
and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, braise the cabbage in a large
skillet in the butter for about five minutes over medium
heat, coating evenly with the butter. Add to the soup mixture
and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Serve as is or add cooked beans
and heat through. Whole grain bread, buns or crackers with
this soup containing beans is a complete meal. This soup
freezes well. To reheat use medium low heat being careful
it doesnt stick as it tends to be quite thick.
LAZY CABBAGE ROLLS
Easy, yummy, and freezes well!
- 1 pound ground meat of choice beef, turkey, chicken,
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
- 14 ounces of canned tomatoes, crushed
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked, washed and drained
- 2 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Saute meat, stirring to break up. Add onion, garlic and
worcestershire sauce; cook until golden. Pour off all fat,
stir in tomatoes, 1-1/2 cups of the tomato juice and the
Place the cabbage in a large casserole. Pour meat mixture
over cabbage and mix well. Cover and bake at 325 F for approximately
2 hours or until rice is tender. Check after 1 hour and add
remainder of juice and a bit of water if necessary to keep
casserole moist. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.
Quick and keeps well!
- Finely chopped cabbage
- Finely chopped kale (optional)
- Finely chopped celery
- 1 large grated carrot
- 2 diced green onions
- handful of raw sunflower seeds, raw or soaked overnight
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. tamari sauce or Brags vegetable seasoning
- 1 tsp. liquid honey
- dash of tabasco (optional)
Prepare vegetables and dressing separately. Add dressing
to salad before serving.
Variation: for a creamy dressing: 1/2 cup healthy mayonnaise,
1/2 cup yogurt, pinch of curry or to taste, pinch of salt.
CABBAGE TOMATO SKILLET*
Easy to make!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 5 cups of shredded cabbage
- 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, peeled if desired
- 1/2 cup chopped onion, or more if desired
- 1 tsp. salt
Melt butter in large skillet. Stir in rest of ingredients.
Cover, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring often
if necessary. Uncover and simmer a few minutes to reduce
4 6 servings
(This is a lighter dish than the usual creamed cabbage.
You may add 1 cup cooked peas to the cabbage)
- 1 medium cabbage about 2 pounds, trimmed and thinly
- boiling salted water
- 2-4 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup milk of your choice or light cream (try cashew
milk for dairy free)
- freshly ground pepper
- ground nutmeg to taste
Plunge the cabbage in a saucepan full of boiling salted
water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and press out excess moisture.
Put the cabbage into a saucepan. Add the butter, depending
on taste add milk or cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer
covered over low heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes
or until the cabbage is heated through.
FRENCH CABBAGE SOUP**
This soup can be made in advance and reheated.
- 3 cups potatoes, chopped
- 3 quarts water
- 1 medium cabbage about 2 pounds, trimmed and chopped
- 6 whole crushed peppercorns
- 6 sprigs parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. marjoram
- 2 mashed garlic cloves
- 2 onions chopped
- 2 carrots quartered
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 2 peeled turnips, chopped (optional)
- 1-2 cups cook red or white beans
Place all ingredients in a soup kettle and simmer for about
2 hours. Season to taste with salt. Serve with whole grain
bread or crackers.
*taken from Nutrition, Cooking and Healing by Paulette
**adapted from The Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook by
References: Foods That Heal, Dr. Bernard Jensen; The
Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton; Anti-Aging
Bible and The Vitamin Bible, Earl Mindell; Powerfood, Stephanie
The above information regarding nutritious food is not intended
to replace any instruction from medical or health professionals.
Paulette Millis lives and works in Saskatoon as a nutritional
consultant. Her cookbook, Nutrition, Cooking and Healing, is
available in health food stores or by calling (306) 244-8890.