Food for Thought
Kale may be the dark leafy green on the red carpet right now, but cabbage is a close relative that is stepping into a starring role on smart plates and in great recipes.
Part of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables which, in addition to kale, includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and collards, cabbage is one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables; more than 100 types are grown throughout the world, with the majority cultivated in China, India and Russia.
Cabbage is not just for cole slaw anymore (by the way, “cole”—from the German Kohl, for cabbage—refers to cole crop, the family of cruciferous vegetables to which cabbage belongs). Look for it as the main ingredient in trendy, handcrafted pickled and fermented products such as Korean kimchi and gourmet sauerkraut, for sale in local farmers’ markets. In this month’s Recipe for Health, cabbage literally holds the whole dish together as a delicious wrapper.
- Cabbage gives great nutritional bang and is very low in calories. A large, raw head of green cabbage contains just 312 calories.
- This veggie packs some powerful phytochemicals. Research has shown that specific antioxidants in cabbage can protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers and can reduce LDL cholesterol.
- A 1-cup helping of fresh chopped cabbage can provide 54% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
- Cabbage is also a good source of thiamine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and manganese.