CABBAGE, anyone?

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OK, I don’t want to hear any bellyaching about cabbage, “Ohhhh, it gives me gas,” or “I just don’t like cabbage or anything that smells like cabbage,” or “it stinks up my house when I cook it.”  Get over it!  Cabbage is wonderful.

My heritage is Pennsylvania Dutch.  Born and raised in Dutch country with traditional Dutch cooking, our New Year’s Day supper was always pork and sauerkraut.  Loved it!  But, I’ll cover that in another post sharing with you memories of cabbage fermenting in 5 gallon crocks in the cellar.  Mmmmm.

There are hundreds of ways to eat this vegetable, but one of our favorites happens to be a cole slaw recipe which I will gladly share with you after I trumpet the benefits of including this wonderfully nutritious vegetable in your diet – daily is not too often.  Sautéed and mixed with your morning scrambled eggs, simmered in a light lunch soup with garlic and tomatoes, or a robust stew with pasta for suppertime are just a few of the amazing ways to pack your diet with this delicious member of the brassica family.

First, let’s talk about the cousins of cabbage.  Yes, I’m sure you are familiar with most of them.  Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy (a friend begs my shrimp/bok choy/noodle bowl when constipation is a problem), broccoli, and last but not least, the famous sweetheart of super foods, kale.  So many ways to enjoy this treasure of the vegetable world that nobody should go through life lacking its benefits.

And those benefits are numerous indeed.  I’ll cover the highlights here for you, but check out the website nutrition-and-you.com for greater detail. These are percentages of RDA per gram of cabbage.  A small, one pound head of cabbage is 454 grams, so a person would consume several grams in one helping.

  • folates                                 13%
  • niacin                                  1.5 %
  • pantothenic acid               4%
  • pyridoxine                          10%
  • riboflavin                            3%
  • thiamin                                5%
  • vitamin A                             3%
  • vitamin C                              61%
  • vitamin K                              63% 
  • a host of minerals including potassium (helps control heart rate and blood pressure), manganese (used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase), iron, and magnesium.

Cabbage also packs phytochemicals, potent antioxidants known to protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers.  Additionally they help reduce LDL, the “bad cholesterol” in the blood.

(Medical disclaimer)  Cabbage family members contain “goitrogens”, a compound that can cause swelling of the thyroid gland in people with thyroid dysfunction.

Now, that you are absolutely sold on the greatness of cabbage, here’s my favorite cole slaw recipe.

HERE ARE THE INGREDIENTS

  • about 1 pound of shredded cabbage (a small head)
  • up to 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (adjust this to your taste)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS 

Nothing fancy here – place the cabbage in a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients in a smaller bowl, taste it and adjust the dressing to your liking, mix well with the shredded cabbage, chill before serving.

 

Gabby’s garden

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I just got my winter garden planted last week.  Below is what it looked like about a month ago.  Summer heat and humidity along with a flooded yard took its toll.

But, our Florida weather turned beautifully fall within two days, I pulled weeds, spaded the 4 X 10 raised bed, pulled more weeds and raked the soil.  On October 25th the seeds were sown for my winter garden.

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I’m a Yankee gardener from many years ago.  My Grandpa raised over 5 acres of vegetables to huckster at nearby markets and he had several acres of orchards which included Northern Spy, Macintosh, Rambo, Delicious, Cortland and Rome Beauty apples plus numerous varieties of pears and plums.  Grandma had a quince tree in the yard from which she made a delicious jam.

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So, for me, gardening in Florida was a challenge because unlike up north in Pennsylvania, summertime in Florida is best spent sipping mint juleps by the pool rather than toiling in the vegetable patch.  Bugs, blights, birds, and awful humidity guarantee minimal returns on the gardening labor.

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On October 25th I planted kale, radishes, carrots, red beets, and spinach in the raised bed.  In the pots I planted sugar peas.  The radishes and kale poked through the ground within 4 days.  That’s what the above pictures show.  The spinach and red beets emerged today, just 6 days after planting.

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To all my relatives and friends up north enduring the first fingers of frost and chilly temperatures bracing for the wintertime snows and frozen gardens, HAPPY GARDENING from sunny Florida.