LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2014 – St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and festive time that celebrates an occasion with traditional favorites such as corned beef and stewed cabbage.
The cabbage becomes a comfort food that people are drawn to because of taste, familiarity and tradition. However, cabbage is a great vegetable that should be included in your diet all year long.
It’s important to remember the great health benefits from cabbage. No matter the color — cabbage comes green, white and purple — it is loaded with vitamin C, and studies have shown it has cancer-fighting components that help prevent colon and rectal cancer. Cabbage is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that help your body fight free radicals.
Though foods are always better in their whole state, many are enhanced by slight cooking methods. Not sure if you want to drink cabbage tea, but it can be used in many remedies to cure things like the whooping cough, constipation, common colds and, believe it or not, even frostbite.
Studies have shown that by concocting and steeping a few ingredients with the cabbage, you make a tea that can fight off these common ailments. Breast-feeding moms swear by the application of cold cabbage leaves to relieve pain from blocked milk ducts! A poultice can be used for inflamation and arthritis and to draw infection from wounds.
Cabbage is part of the cruciferous family; the leaves create a cross formation at the base. The Brussels sprout, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens and kohlrabi are just a few on the long list of cruciferous family veggies, all of which offer some of the great properties that cabbage offers but are slightly more popular.
Any of these should be added, along with the cabbage, to your weekly menus.
Whether it’s chopped in a salad, steamed with other vegetables or sautéed with meats, cabbage is a terrific additive to many dishes. By reading the ingredient list on popular recipes, you’ll find it’s already prevalent.
Examples are pulled pork sandwiches with cabbage slaw, garden salads and moo-shu chicken or pork.
On St. Patrick’s Day the cabbage becomes a vegetable we eat by choice. Whether on the day of the green or any time of the year, cabbage makes a healthy and tasty addition to your menu.
Choose regular cabbage, not savoy or Napa cabbage.
Choose a cabbage that is heavy in weight.
Look for a soft yet vibrant color of green.
Make sure there are no brown spots, bruises or torn areas.
When making cabbage for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner, make sure you have water, the broth from your corned beef or a combination to cover it.
Cut the cabbage into eighths (quarters if smaller), and remove the core by slicing at a V along the hard white center. Rinse very well.
There are two methods for cooking. Put the sections into a pot, cover with water or broth and cook covered for 10-20 minutes until the leaves separate, turning a deeper shade of sea green. You will smell it when it is ready!
The other option is to peel the leaves back and separate them. Place a steamer rack set in water and steam the separated leaves covered until soft. You need to watch it and probably add more water before it is finished. This method can also be used to warm up quartered potatoes or steam sliced carrots with the cabbage.
Either method, cook the leaves until very tender. The odor of the cabbage can be offset by either adding a few caps of apple cider vinegar to the water or to a pot of simmering water.
Serving cabbage, the simpler the better. Melt unsalted butter and toss with the cooked leaves. You can add parsley to the butter. A favorite in many households is to sprinkle apple cider vinegar on the leaves just before serving. Arrange the leaves on a plate with small peeled red or white potatoes that have been tossed in butter and parsley, served alongside freshly steamed carrots.