If it seems like cabbage must be good for you, well, you're right. It may not be one of the star players of the food guide, but this classic winter vegetable is full of nutrients. Red or green, raw or cooked, try adding it to your diet today. Not sure you like cabbage? Maybe you just need a new recipe -- try one of the selections below to start, or visit the CanadianLiving.com recipe section for more ideas.
Selection and storage
Cabbage is an old favourite in many parts of the world, and is an especially well-known feature of many eastern European cuisines. It is well suited to the Canadian climate and local crops can be found across the country both during the cabbage harvest season (throughout the summer and fall) and during the winter.
When purchasing cabbage, look for firm, heavy, bright-coloured heads with tightly packed leaves. Keep cabbage well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to about two weeks. Try not to cut it until you need to in order to keep it fresh.
Cabbage, like all cruciferous vegetables (others include broccoli, kale and collards) is considered to be extremely healthy. One cup of raw cabbage, according to Health Canada, contains 1.3 g of fibre, 182 mg of potassium, 24 mg of vitamin C and 32 micrograms of folate; half a cup of boiled, drained cabbage contains similar, though slightly lower, amounts of the same nutrients. But cabbage's strongest health benefit lies in its anticancer properties, as a number of studies have found that cruciferous vegetables help prevent cancer. For instance:
• Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that men who ate at least three half-cup servings of cruciferous vegetables every week had a 41 per cent lower risk of prostate cancer than those who ate less than one serving per week.
• One study from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University found that by eating cruciferous vegetables during pregnancy and nursing, women may be able to lower the risk of cancer in their children.
• According to research from scientists at the International Agency for Cancer Research, eating cruciferous vegetables can reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, it is best sliced thinly into salads, noodle dishes and other recipes -- a food processor will make the task easy. Cooked, it can be boiled, steamed, added to stir-frys or mixed into soup -- just make sure not to cook it too long for optimal flavour and nutrition. For more ways to cook cabbage, check out the recipes below.