CABBAGE

Depending on how it is prepared, cabbage can be either crisp and refreshing, or disgustingly slimy (of course, I admit that is entirely my opinion). 

sauerkraut chopping cabbagePersonally, I prefer the crisp and refreshing and really only enjoy cabbage, either raw or as sauerkraut.
Cabbage is a member of the brassica family and has a variety of cultivars. The impetus for today’s flavor is the purple and green variants, which are the kind I use to make sauerkraut. Cabbage is for all of its variable palatability is actually one of the most widely used vegetables throughout Europe and Asia, with over 69 million tons a year being produced and consumed. Although, where the cabbage originally hails from is sketchy to pin down, archeologists seem to agree that the wider cultivation of the green and purple version can be attributed to the Celts and then to the Romans, where it has since made its way around the world into any number of cultures and their cuisines. Of course, different varieties of cabbage have different varieties of cabbage have a little bit of a different historical trajectory.

cabbage 3Sidenote: Cabbage is not only delicious and nutritious to eat, it is also really beautiful in the landscape, especially the colored varietels. They have majestic, waxy green leaves that unfold around the middle head, looking like a giant flower. 

From a culinary perspective, cabbage is actually a pretty innocuous and versatile veggie. It can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, and salads or featured as a main component of a meal, like stuffed cabbage roles. (ugh!) Quite personally, as I’ve already stated, I like to make my cabbage into sauerkraut, which is a satisfyingly simple kitchen endeavor. If you're interested in trying a simple sauerkraut adventure try this recipe from day 96: Simple Sauerkraut

cabbagestirfryFrom a health perspective, as a brassica, cabbage has a wide variety of nutrient value. Things like Vitamin C, lutein, and other phytonutrients that support full health can be found in all the varieties of cabbage, varying with color density and the environment they were grown in. Current studies suggest that phytochemicals found in cabbage help lower cholesterol, manage blood glucose levels, repair damage to the gastrointestinal tract, as well as boost immune function. The glucosinolates in cabbage play a very important role in prevention of various cancers, including colon, pancreatic, prostate, and bladder. How you prepare your cabbage has a huge impact on the availability and viability of the nutrients. Studies demonstrate the microwaving it in particular damages pretty much any of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients. Two best ways to maintain the vibrant and health giving qualities of cabbage? Steaming or fermenting, with other methods of preparation close behind.