The Many Wonders of Cabbage

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Cabbage is one of only a few vegetables that remain available all winter long, which means that, while cabbage may be delicious, it also often gets upstaged by more "exciting" greens. Which certainly isn't fair, considering how wonderful this vegetable truly is! Organic cabbage is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. It has also been shown to be an anti-carcinogenic, especially when eaten raw. This nutritional powerhouse is available in several different forms, many of which can be very inspirational when it comes to the kitchen!

Red Cabbage

Red cabbage has been shown to be an even stronger anti-oxidant than other forms of cabbage. This crucifer is most often braised and/or glazed, to bring out its sweet flavors, and is frequently seen in German, Polish and Austrian cuisines.

Jamie Oliver pairs it with apple for his red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar, and another version adds Christmas spices. Brown sugar, apple and crème fraiche unite for Nigella Lawson's braised red cabbage in the Viennese fashion.

Of course, the best way to get all of the nutrients of red cabbage is when eating it raw, like in our easy organic cole slaw with dried cranberries.

Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage, contrary to what its name may lead you to believe, does not hail from northern California. On the contrary, this cabbage is a native of the Beijing region of China and gets its name from colloquial Japanese: nappa refers to the leaves of any vegetable.

From the Organic Authority Files

Napa cabbage's pale, lettuce-like leaves are often used in Asian cuisines, including Korean recipes, where it is the main ingredient of the most common form of kimchi; the Momofuku recipe for kimchi is an excellent place to start, though everyone has his or her own version of the recipe. It makes a great vegetable addition to fried rice, like in shrimp and egg fried rice, adding both flavor and texture. A simple, Chinese-influenced side of grilled napa cabbage with Chinese mustard glaze is a great addition to any Chinese main dish. And much like the lettuce wraps of this cuisine, napa cabbage has become the go-to wrapper for breadless sandwiches in American cuisine, like for our perfect lettuce wraps.

Brussels Sprouts

As their name suggests, Brussels sprouts hail from the city in Belgium of the same name. These tiny cabbages are often abhorred by many, especially those who have memories of choking down boiled versions as a child. Of course, when prepared correctly, Brussels sprouts are just as delicious -- if not more so -- than the other members of the crucifer family!

The secret to perfect Brussels sprouts is to color and caramelize their exterior while keeping their interior slightly toothsome. Once boiled, Brussels sprouts take on an upleasant flavor, but perfectly cooked sprouts are nutty, pleasantly bitter, and just a bit sweet.

Pan-seared sprouts are one way to go, topped with nutty Parmesan cheese. For meat-lovers, a bit of local, all-natural bacon is a great way to add flavor, with bacon Brussels sprouts. Adding maple syrup and herbs brings out even more of their sweet and savory notes.

Roasting Brussels sprouts is yet another way to achieve that perfect caramelization; our very own Brussels sprouts with shiitake mushrooms and crispy shallots are roasted with maple syrup before being tossed with other fall ingredients. Our roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon and parmesan add a lighter touch to the vegetable, perfect for a weeknight dinner, while roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberry-pistachio pesto is a perfect recipe for your Christmas table.

Brussels sprouts don't have to be served whole, or even halved: our Brussels sprout hash brings out even more caramelization.

Slow-cooked, tender Brussels sprouts are, however a possibility: just don't boil them! Steamed Dijon Brussels sprouts are tender, with the added zing of white wine and Dijon mustard. Heavy cream mellows out their bitter edge. In Italy, Brussels sprouts are gratinéed, for the perfect, warming comfort food.

Image: alexbrn

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