Cabbage is one of the most versatile and nutritious vegetables. It can be eaten raw, combined into soups or salads, stuffed, steamed, pickled, sautéed, stir-fried, baked, boiled or braised. It is inexpensive and available year-round.
With more than 400 different varieties grown throughout the world, one acre of cabbage can yield more edible vegetable than any other plant. Georgia grew 74 million worth of cabbage in 2015.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, turnips and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables got their name because their four petals resemble a cross.
One cup of raw cabbage has 18 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 13 milligrams of sodium, is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and potassium, and contains at least small amounts of most healthy nutrients.
Through the ages, cabbage has been used as a folk medicine to reduce inflammation due to injury or illness, to treat headaches, ulcers, boils, warts, blisters, sore throat, acne, constipation, edema and sore feet. It has even been worn to prevent sunstroke. Cruciferous vegetables may also be helpful for preventing cancer.
When selecting cabbage, look for a compact head that is heavy for its size. Uncut cabbage can be stored in a plastic storage bag in the refrigerator for at least one week; however, it will have a stronger flavor and odor the longer it is kept.
Use cut cabbage quickly. If you must store it for a day or two, sprinkle the cut side with a little water and refrigerate it again in a closed storage bag.
Spices and herbs complement the flavor of cabbage well, so you may be able to use less salt when preparing it. Try caraway seed, celery seed, dill weed, garlic, thyme, mustard seed, nutmeg or white pepper.