By Nancy Taber
Mid-March is when winter storage vegetables get their moment in the sun for Saint Patrick’s Day. Along with orange carrots, white potatoes and corned beef, the traditional Irish Boiled Dinner menu includes boiled green cabbage, all colors of the Irish flag.
For a lot of people, Saint Pat’s boiled dinner and coleslaw at summer picnics might be the extent of their cabbage consumption, but there are great reasons to mix more cabbage into the regular menu.
Cabbage (along with the carrots and potatoes) has plenty going for it as a low-calorie food that’s high in fiber, antioxidants like Vitamin C, B vitamins, and other vitamins and minerals.
And it’s not just for Boiled Dinner! Yes, it’s great boiled. But also, great braised, sauteed, roasted or grilled. Chef’s tip: Just don’t overcook it! Cook just till tender, and if adding to a slow cooker, wait till 30 minutes before serving to add the cabbage in.
It’s also easy to shred and use raw in fermented side dishes like sauerkraut and kimchi.
Try cabbage in its different colors and forms – red, green, savoy, napa, pointed… Cabbage is in the same brassica family as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and kale, all of which share its healthful qualities.
New York is one of the top three cabbage growing states in the US, and top two in sauerkraut processing. Most of that crop is grown right here in the area from the northern Finger Lakes up to Lake Ontario. Fans of sauerkraut may want to set aside a weekend in August to attend the annual Sauerkraut Festival in the village of Phelps, now over half a century old!