Cabbage is one of the oldest known vegetables and is said to have originated from China. It has been long thought to have many medicinal benefits and uses in various cultures. In Captain Cook’s famous first voyage many of the crew members were saved from gangrene when the ship’s doctor made poultices of cabbage to apply to their wounds.
Rich in phyto-nutrient anti-oxidants, this cool season leafy vegetable belongs to the “Brassica” family, a broad family of common vegetables that also include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and broccoli. It is one of the widely cultivated crops around the world.
There are several varieties of cabbage including Green, Red, Chinese and Savoy. Cabbages have compact heads and come in many sizes, shapes and colours. Their heads can be firm or loose; flattish, conical or cylindrical and they can range in colour from white to green or red. Chinese cabbage, also known as Wombok, is becoming increasingly available in Australia. This cabbage type is a more elongated than other cabbage varieties with pale green broad leaves that have white veins. Their leaves are often less tightly packed than other cabbage types. Wombok is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine.
Cabbages are about 90% water and a very low in energy providing 75-120kJ per 100g and a great source of fibre 2.7g per 100g. They are an excellent source of Potassium and contain some B-Vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium, but they provide more than 100% of an adults’ RDI of Vitamin C in 100g serve. Dark varieties, such as purple cabbage, also provide Beta Carotene which your body can change to Vitamin A.
This versatile and nutritious vegetable can be used fresh in salads such as coleslaw or Vietnamese Chicken Salad. It is delicious finely sliced and quickly sautéed with garlic and lean bacon pieces, or as part of a healthy Asian stir fry.
Check out this recipe for Speedy Chow Mein!
PLEASE NOTE: Fruits & vegetables in season may vary depending on where you live. Check with your friendly greengrocer.
Source: Nutrient Reference Values for Australia & New Zealand 2006; NUTTAB 2010.