A few things have been going on here this week (as usual), a broken arm being just one of them (fortunately not as usual). In my house that means trying eat as well as we can to keep those calcium levels up, and eating leafy green vegetables are one of the best ways to do just that. Luckily it’s just the right time of year to be able to gorge yourself on them, should you choose to.
Over the last few weeks I’ve had not only a lot of kale in my veg box, but also a fair amount of cabbage. All types; red, savoy, white and I’m not complaining either. Cabbage, one of the brassica family, is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, and for good reason. Not only is it an exceptionally good source of dietary fibre, it is also rich in phytonutrients and vitamins including vitamin A, C and K therefore helping to prevent cancer and heart disease as well as boost your immune system. Add to this its anti-inflammatory qualities and help in preventing macular degeneration and you have some very good reasons to be eating as much of it as possible.
Obviously the best way to be eating these green and red gems would be raw, but pickled (think sauerkraut or kimchi) is another good option. Strangely enough, despite the pickling process (or should I say because of) both sauerkraut and kimchi increase your body’s ability to access the nutrients, and if prepared yourself have a wide variety of beneficial microbes that help protect your gut. It doesn’t help though if you want to eat cabbage now, and not leave it fermenting for several weeks. Boiling green vegetables often conjures up childhood memories of smelly school kitchens and leaves them over cooked, with all the health benefits lost. Quite apart from that, it can be a really boring way to serve them. This recipe is definitely not boring, but is still really quick and easy. I’ve adapted it from the traditional bavarian braised cabbage, which can cooked for up to half an hour (some recipes call for even longer) and it is a really delicious way to use up any cabbage you might have. It uses caraway seeds, which are also full of fibre, flavonoid anti-oxidants and minerals, but don’t panic if you don’t have any in the cupboard, I’ve made it just as well using cumin seeds instead. Incidentally, if you do happen to have any cabbage left over, it keeps in an airtight container in the fridge really well and can be eaten like a salad for lunch, or warmed through again quickly. If anything, the flavours only get better.
Bavarian Inspired Cabbage.
One white cabbage (but I think I’d also try it with a savoy, or any other green cabbage if that’s what I had)
A tbspn or so of olive oil
A good tbspn (or to taste) of caraway seeds
A few tbspns of good quality vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Soften your onion for five minutes or so in the oil with the caraway seeds, then turn up the heat and let it start to brown gently.
Shred your cabbage finely, then add it into the pan with the onion and caraway. Keep the heat up and let the cabbage start to wilt and also turn slightly brown.
Add the stock and let cook for a few minutes (not long, 2 or 3 should be fine) and season to taste.
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.