During the winter months, many Ottawans look to continue eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. But, what is in season this time of year? Cabbage. Cabbage is a great meal option in the winter – it is in season, full of nutrients and can be used creatively in recipes. Varieties of cabbage include green, red, savory, and several Chinese cabbages.

Green Cabbage
Green cabbage has pale to dark exterior leaves with pale green to white interior leaves. It can be eaten raw, or cooked in stir fries, sautéed, boiled, added to soups, or made into a wrap. Eating green cabbage raw has a peppery flavor, while cooking it makes it taste sweeter.

From a nutritional standpoint, green cabbage is high in vitamin C (32% RDA per cup), folate (10% RDA per cup), and fiber (2.1 g per cup).

Red Cabbage
Red cabbage has red to purple outer leaves (the color of the leaves influenced by the pH level of the soil where it was grown), with white streaks on the inside. Flavor characteristics of red cabbage are similar to green (peppery if eaten raw, sweeter when cooked). With cooking, the color of red cabbage will fade and may bleed into the other foods it is cooked with.

Nutritionally, red cabbage has a higher content of vitamin C (84% RDA per cup) compared to green cabbage. It has a high content of vitamin A (22% RDA per cup) and is a great source of fiber (1.9 g per cup).

Savory Cabbage
Savory cabbage is shaped like green cabbage, with a lighter green or yellowy-green color. Savory cabbage leaves are more delicate and have a milder flavor than green cabbage.

Like other cabbages, savory cabbage is high in vitamin C (36% RDA per cup), vitamin A (14% RDA per cup) and is a good source of dietary fiber (2.2 g per cup)

Chinese cabbages
There are many varieties of Chinese cabbages, which include bok choy, choy sum, gai choy and napa.

From a nutritional perspective, bok choy has a high content of beta carotene (24% RDA per cup), vitamin C (49% RDA per cup), folate (17% RDA per cup), iron (22% RDA per cup), fiber (2.7 g per cup) and has a much higher content of potassium (631 mg per cup) compared to other types of cabbage.

Choosing a head of cabbage
Choose a firm, dense/heavy head of cabbage that has only a few loose outer crisp leaves. For storage, it is best to store it in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator.

Cancer fighting cabbage
Cabbage contains several chemicals that may play a role in fighting various forms of cancer. These include many types of indole and isothiocyanate chemicals, that may reduce incidence of colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.

For a few recipes click on one of the links below
Lentil Salad with squash, carrots, beets and cabbage
Seared Red Cabbage Wedges

Check back each day this week for a new recipe.

If you would like more information on nutrition, improving your health or how naturopathic medicine can help you, please call 613-290-6115.