Thanksgiving has many traditional vegetable side dishes, like squash and pumpkin; potatoes and Brussels sprouts. But how about showing cabbage some love this season?
Cabbage is much more than cole slaw for a summer picnic. This cool-weather vegetable can be a delicious accompaniment to any fall or winter holiday table. After all, people around the world have been growing and enjoying cabbage for thousands of years.
Vegetable gardeners who grow their own heads of cabbage know the healthful benefits of eating cabbage. It can be fried, steamed, fermented, slow-cooked and even roasted. Whether heads of green or purple, cabbage can be a simple addition to a traditionally high-calorie Thanksgiving meal.
Why not start the meal with small bowls of cabbage soup? Soup helps curb appetites and means most people will eat less during the meal. Plus you’ll feel good serving the phytonutrient sulforaphane because it may reduce the risk of some cancers. Cabbage is also loaded with beta carotene, vitamins C and K and plenty of fiber.
Braised cabbage with apples and raisins makes a tasty side dish whether served hot or cold. Other options include Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage or cabbage braised with bacon, cider apple vinegar, red wine and brown sugar.
Roasting wedges of cabbage would be a good use of time while letting the turkey rest before carving. Roast cabbage wedges, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and fennel seeds, in a hot oven for about 40-45 minutes.
Red, purple and green cabbages are fresh and in season now. Look for solid heads that are heavy for their size and have wrapper leaves that are tight to the head. Avoid lightweight heads, heads that have very large midribs or those with yellow, wilted or damaged outer leaves.
Cabbage heads will store in the refrigerator for a month or more. Wash heads before cutting them. Then cut into wedges, remove the core and rinse again. Cabbages are then ready to be prepared for any of the recipes.
If you’ve never grown cabbage in your vegetable garden, consider this valuable vegetable for the next planting season. There are new and improved varieties that produce reliably uniform heads, that have built-in heat resistance or split-resistance, and some are known to resist common cabbage plant diseases.
Timing is important when planting cabbage, but these tips will help ensure a good crop of cabbages to harvest for your next Thanksgiving dinner.