Cabbage

Cabbage has a long history and was developed from wild cabbage, a vegetable that was closer in appearance to collards and kale since it was composed of leaves that did not form a head. It is thought that wild cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland and Russia. Sturdy, abundant and inexpensive, cabbage is a long-standing dietary staple throughout the world and is so widely cultivated and stores so well that it is available throughout the year. However, it is at its best during the late fall and winter months when it is in season. Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves is suggestive of worm damage or decay that may reside in the inner core as well. There should be only a few loose outer leaves attached to the stem. If not, it may be an indication of undesirable texture and taste. Avoid buying precut cabbage, either halved or shredded, since once cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content. Store in the crisper for one to two weeks in a plastic bag. Raw cabbage is usually sliced into thin strips or shredded for use in salads, such as coleslaw. It can also replace iceberg lettuce in sandwiches. Cabbage is often added to soups or stews. Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases sugars, which leads to the characteristic ‘cabbage’ aroma. Sauerkraut, a dish made from fermented cabbage, has a colorful legacy. Dutch sailors consumed it during extended exploration voyages to prevent scurvy. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipe into the U.S. As a result of this, people of German descent were often referred to as ‘krauts.’ You’ve likely heard about the anti-cancer properties of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts, but several recent studies suggest that cabbage may be in a class by itself. Breast, lung, stomach and colon cancers don’t have a chance against the super-ingredient sulforaphane, a phytochemical that works by stimulating cells to eliminate cancerous substances. Cabbage is also a food rich in glutamine, an amino acid that plays a major role in immune function both in the intestines and in the body as a whole. And, red cabbage also contains indoles that are substances that may bind to cancer-causing chemicals and activate enzymes that destroy them. To prevent the red color of red cabbage from bleeding into other foods, just add vinegar. *** Super Coleslaw for Two 1/2 cup shredded cabbage 1/4 cup shredded carrot 1 small apple, unpeeled, chopped 1/4 cup raisins, optional 1 tablespoon non-fat plain yogurt 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise Dash vinegar Combine cabbage, carrot, apple and raisins in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, mayonnaise and vinegar. Add yogurt sauce to cabbage mixture and mix in a bowl. Chill. Next week: Broccoli Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published tradebooks. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. For any questions contact Susan at trijrsL@msn.com or www.fruitandveggienurse.com

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