Cancer does not like cabbage but you should! They can be the most beautiful and tastiest of the brassica family and yet all too often they are overlooked in favor of more glamorous veggies. The important thing about cabbages is not to overcook them otherwise you will end up with soggy cabbage and that institutional aroma.
You can enjoy cabbages by
- Eating raw in a coleslaw salad along with grated carrot, grated apples and some raisins and chopped walnuts. Toss in a mixture of salad cream, a little milk and some olive oil for a delicious side dish.
- Quick cooking either by steaming for a short time; blanching in the minimum of salted boiling water for just a few minutes until tender; or stir frying in hot oil which seals in the taste and the smell. If you add a bay leaf to the cooking water, this will help cut down on any odors.
A cabbage will keep in the fridge for up to a week or longer but once shredded it will lose its freshness. When choosing to buy, look for a fresh cabbage with a generous amount of outer leaves that is heavy in weight. Check the bottom of the cabbage to ensure that the leaves have not begun to separate from the stem which is a sign of age. Look for the dark green Savoy cabbage which can be added to soups and stews; for red cabbage which can be eaten raw or lightly steamed as an accompaniment to poultry and meat; and for crunchy white cabbage which is ideal for coleslaw or sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut is an excellent way to boost your gut health
Here is a recipe you can use and you will need:
- 1 half gallon glass jar for storage
- 1 medium sized cabbage shredded (preferably in your food processor)
- Optional extras: half a daikon raddish, shredded carrots, juniper berries plus a tiny amount of red pepper flakes
- half cup of pure filtered water with 1 tablespoon of natural sea salt dissolved
- 1 cup water kefir as a starter (although not absolutely necessary, this will help to speed up the process)
Incidentally, water kefir is a lacto-fermented beverage made from sugar water, juice or coconut water. Here is a link
to how to make your own.
Pack all the cabbage and optional extra ingredients into the jar as tightly as possible using 2 or 3 cups at a time. Between each addition, use a potato masher to compact the cabbage even further before adding more and compacting again. Carry on until the jar is completely full. Mix the salt water and water kefir and slowly pour over the cabbage mixture, giving it time to soak all the way through until the top of the cabbage is completely covered. Cap the jar with a plastic lid so that it is not quite air tight and place it in a pan (because the jar will leak) and cover with cloth to block out the light. Leave it on the kitchen counter for 3 days but check daily and add more water as necessary to ensure the cabbage is covered. After 3 days in the summer or 4 to 5 days in the winter, place in the refrigerator for another week or two. You can start to eat it as soon as it is in the refrigerator but if left a bit longer, the flavor develops more. Don't be put off by the fact that naturally occurring bacteria on the surface of the cabbage leaves thrive in this environment, chemically changing the cabbage and increasing its B vitamin content. We all know how long fresh cabbage can last in the refrigerator. Fermented cabbage lasts much longer than that – for weeks if not months.
Anti-cancer and other health benefits
In historical times eating cabbage was known as the “drug of the poor” because of its healing properties
- The cabbage is anti– inflammatory so arthritis and other conditions will benefit.
- The cabbage is also known for its lactic acid that acts to disinfect colon.
- The cabbage is renowned for helping to relieve headaches.
- The cabbage is known for helping to treat skin conditions including eczema.
- Drinking cabbage juice from the stem is a good cure for ulcers.
- Cabbage is abundant in Vitamin C and a richer source than oranges.
Back to the anti-cancer aspects, it is said (according to several supporting research studies) that cabbage reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. This is because of the high levels of fiber and other nutrients in cabbage, helping to keep intestines healthy by increasing our transit movements while inhibiting tumor growth and protecting cells from free radicals.
Try to include cabbage in your diet at least twice a week for its many health benefits and good taste, summer or winter.