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Cabbage

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Preview of Cabbage

Available

August 30 - April 15

Harvest Period

August 30 - October 30

Cabbage has a long history that stretches back to ancient cultures. Greek mythology tells a story where cabbage sprang from the tears of a king who was about to be killed by Dionysus, the wine god, because the king uprooted the god’s grape vines. Modern cabbage is derived from the wild mustard plant, common in Mediterranean countries.

  

What to Look For

 

Look for firm, heavy heads with tightly packed leaves that are free of blemishes or wilting.

 

Cleaning and Preparation

 

Rinse the cabbage and discard the outer leaves.  If the whole head is to be used, cut out the tough core in the center before cutting or shredding.  If whole leaves are to be used as wrappers for stuffing, then peel off one layer at a time without coring.

 

The health benefits of cabbage are best observed in raw or short-cooked cabbage dishes like coleslaw, steamed or sautéed cabbage and sauerkraut.  To promote the production of beneficial glucosinolates, slice or chop the cabbage and let sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking for less than 5 minutes.

 

Storage

 

Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks in a moisture-proof bag, or for many months in a root cellar or other cold-storage area.

 

Nutritional Information

 

In some circles, cabbage has earned a bad reputation because when overcooked it can release an unpleasant odour. For some it can cause intestinal distress. When properly prepared, however, cabbage is delicious and offers powerful nutritional benefits. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, folacin, and glutamine (an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties). Cabbage, like other brassica vegetables, contains high amounts of active phytonutrients called glucosinolates, which our bodies metabolize into the powerful anti-carcinogens sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol

 

Red cabbage contains significantly more protective phytonutrients than white cabbage and is high in the antioxidant anthocyanin.

 

One cup of chopped raw, green cabbage (90g) provides 22 calories, 0g fat, 5g carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, and 1g protein.

 

How To Use

 

Using cabbage in soups and stews or preserving it in dishes like sauerkraut allows us to enjoy cabbage throughout the year. In winter, raw cabbage chopped into a salad can satisfy the craving for crisp, fresh greens available only in summer months.

 

Cabbage can be frozen, if it is to be used in cooked dishes as it will lose its crispness.  Cut the cabbage into coarse shreds, thin wedges, or separated leaves. Blanch for 1 minute, cool, drain, and pack into freezer bags or containers.

 

In European folk medicine, cabbage was used to treat inflammation. Some claim a paste made of ground cabbage leaves can successfully relieve engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

 

Varieties

 

Green cabbage varieties available in Ontario are Polar Green, Green Express, Charmant, and Sunup.

Red varieties include Ruby Ball, Red Acre, and Red Perfection.

Savoy cabbages grown in Ontario include Savoy King, Chieftain, Ice Prince and Ice Queen.