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What's in Season: Cabbage

01/05/2015 12:53PM ● Published by Style

Cabbage has the fewest calories and the least fat of nearly all vegetables, is a good source of vitamins C, K and B6, and provides dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, folate and copper. Related to broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, cabbage is part of the cruciferous family with green, purple and red varieties.

The veggie has been around for centuries and was a prominent part of European cuisine during the Middle Ages. The Greeks even used it as a laxative and an antidote for mushroom poisoning; during World War I in Britain, its leaves were used for trench foot and as compresses for ulcers and breast abscesses.

Today in the U.S., cabbage is pickled, fermented, steamed and eaten raw. Its strong flavor is what makes it so delicious in a variety of recipes, including Sautéed Savoy Cabbage (find the recipe at stylergbr.com), which features fresh ginger, apples and mandarins.
In order to retain as many nutrients as possible, many chefs warn against overcooking. To avoid having your kitchen smell like cabbage during the cooking process, try steaming it in a small amount of water for a short time, avoiding aluminum pans. Fresh cabbage smells and tastes different than cabbage that has been shipped and stored for a length of time, due to the high water content—just one more reason to purchase produce fresh and locally.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

When selecting cabbage, check the bottom portion to make sure the leaves aren’t separated from the stem, which could indicate the vegetable is not as fresh. Red and green cabbage should appear tight and compact and feel heavy for its size. Store in a plastic bag in the crisper section of the refrigerator (if left uncut, cabbage can usually be kept for about two weeks).

— Susan Belknap

For details on where to buy Placer County farm-fresh produce, wine, meat and local products, visit placergrown.org.

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