Welcome to our new blog food series “Harvest of the Month.” Every month, we will share a seasonal fruit or vegetable, discuss its health properties, and provide a recipe to get you cooking!

5804619February’s “Harvest of the Month” is cabbage. For a lot of people, cabbage may not come to mind as a favorite vegetable. However, most can’t imagine a traditional St. Patrick ’s Day feast without it!

Cabbage is used in cuisines all over the world due to its versatility. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C and K and also a decent source of multiple B vitamins. Cabbage is part of a group of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables which contain compounds called glucosinolates. When consumed and digested, glucosinolates break down into biologically-active compounds that are currently being studied for their potential anti-cancer effects in humans. In cell and animal studies, these compounds have been found to help protect cells from DNA damage, inactivate carcinogens, reduce inflammation, and inhibit tumor cell migration.

Cabbage was not only grown and cultivated as a food for many years, but also for its medicinal purposes. Historically, cabbage juice was used to treat gastritis, stomach ulcers and pain, and the leaves were used topically to relieve swelling and to heal wounds. By the Middle Ages, cabbage was already a staple in European cuisine, but nowadays more cabbage is grown in China than any other country. There are many types of cabbage including green, purple, Savoy, Napa, and Bok Choy.

The major reason that cabbage is used all over the world is because of the many ways it can be prepared. It is often pickled or fermented (think sauerkraut in Germany and kimchi in Korea), but can also be steamed, stewed, sauteed, braised, and used in salads. Cabbage is great eaten raw such as in broccoli and cabbage slaw. The slaw is great as a side dish or could even be used to top a green salad or piece of lean meat like pork tenderloin. The lightly bitter taste of the cabbage is a great complement to the sweet dried cranberries and maple-balsamic dressing of this simple and delicious recipe.

Make sure to come out and get a nutritious boost by trying a free sample of the broccoli and cabbage slaw when this recipe is showcased on Thursday, February 19 at retail areas all around the University of Vermont Medical Center.

For all things cabbage including recipes, visit the Vermont Harvest of the Month’s website.

Recipe for Broccoli or Cauliflower Slaw

Ingredients: Slaw

  • 1 head broccoli or cauliflower
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: Dressing

  • 1/2 cup oil (olive if possible)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions: Slaw

  1. Trim broccoli or cauliflower and slice into small pieces.
  2. Slice cabbage into thin strips.
  3. Toss broccoli and cabbage with seeds and cranberries or raisins.
  4. Press garlic and mix in. Set aside while making the dressing.

Instructions: Maple Balsamic Dressing

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisk until mixed.
  2. Let chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  3. Shake well before adding to the slaw.

Instructions: Combining Slaw and Dressing

  • Pour dressing over slaw.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine.
  • Serve & enjoy.

Bridget Shea, RD, is a clinical dietician at The University of Vermont Medical Center. 

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