From the Roman hangover food to bandages for Julius Caesar’s armies, cabbage has come a long way. Introduced to the Americas in the 1500s, the humble vegetable has been used by modest and hearty eaters alike, and it just happens to be a staple in the popularized traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage dish. However, the list of uses does not stop there with this vegetable. What’s the deal with cabbage anyway?
History of corned beef and cabbage:
- In 1762, after the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City (not Ireland), people from Ireland came to America throughout the 1800s.
- Corned beef and cabbage is as authentic as green beer. It was reinterpreted from the classic Irish pork and potatoes dish, colcannon.
- The dish actually started in the Irish immigrant communities in New York City.
- Corned beef was a tasty and cheap alternative to the classic pork used in Ireland. Cabbage was also more cost-effective than potatoes for cash-poor immigrants.
- St. Patrick’s Day is the most prominent holiday to prepare corned beef and cabbage.
Why you should be eating more cabbage:
- One serving of cabbage gives you half a day’s worth of the recommended amount of Vitamin C.
- It contains cancer-fighting sinigrin.
- It’s rich in beta-carotene, which is great for your eyes.
- The outer leaves are edible and contain large amounts of vitamin E.
- Cabbage aids in digestion.
- The strong smell of cabbage comes from its high sulfur content, which fights bacteria.
- The cabbage soup diet exists for a reason.
- It’s a frugal yet nutritious meal option.
- Kale and Brussels sprouts are two forms of cabbage.
- You can boil, braise, grill, ferment and eat the vegetable raw.
Cabbage Across Cultures:
- Borsch: Russian cabbage and beef soup
- Surkal: Norwegian sauerkraut
- Hungarian stuffed cabbage
- Korean kimchi
- Irish colcannon
- Irish potato and cabbage stew
- Indian spicy cabbage
- Cabbage slaw/coleslaw
- Stir-fried Bak Choy (Chinese cabbage)