Underrated Alert: Cabbage
By Chelsea Fisher
Cabbage has long been recognized for its many medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and soothing agents largely accredited to its glutamine content– an essential amino acid. Cabbage leaves are still used regularly as wraps for infected and inflamed skin and wounds.
The American Institute of Cancer Research notes that the phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage may induce detoxification of carcinogens, limit production of cancer-related hormones, block carcinogens and prevent tumor growth.
Though the Allies used “Kraut” as a slur against Germans in WWII, and in Hebrew the term “rosh kruv” or cabbage head implies stupidity, the French had it right all along, using “mon petit chou” or “my little cabbage” as a term of endearment. The humble cabbage deserves plenty of respect for its nutritional properties.
When buying cabbage make sure it’s firm and heavy. Try not to choose cabbage with cracks or wilting leaves. The length of time you can keep a cabbage in the refrigerator depends on its type. Generally green and red cabbage will keep for two weeks, while others will only keep for one. Make sure to store the whole head in a plastic bag in the fridge. If you’ve already cut the cabbage, use it within a few days.
Use cabbage raw and shredded in salads as a nutrition-packed replacement for iceberg lettuce. Leaving shredded cabbage in a salad dressing for a bit will help tenderize it and add taste. Raw cabbage can also be used in coleslaw, of course, but hold the mayo if you are on a restricted caloric diet. Toss it instead in a light olive oil and vinegar dressing.
One caveat: Raw cabbage can be hard to digest for just about everyone, and raw vegetables are not recommended for those undergoing chemo. Luckily, cabbage is also delicious in stir-fried dishes like our Indian-Style Stir Fried Cabbage. Cabbage will still retain many of its healthful nutrients after cooking. Also try using pickled cabbage, aka sauerkraut, as a relish. It has all the great nutritional properties of cabbage, plus its sharp taste goes well with grilled chicken sausage or Indian Style Chicken Burgers.