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It’s a surprisingly versatile vegetable which can be steamed, boiled, grilled or roasted and even eaten raw (mostly as coleslaw).
I’ve just completed a cabbage weekend; Saturday was a main meal of steamed (or boiled) cabbage, sausage and potatoes, all cooked in one pot, with spices and seasonings. Sunday, some of the leftover raw cabbage was shredded (the leaves can also be broken up into smaller pieces using the fingers) and used to make a side dish of coleslaw (with a couple of drops of lemon juice and a few spices and seasonings). Both were delicious and very filling!

Did You Know That…..

The cabbage is one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables.
The ancient Greeks worshiped it for its high medicinal properties.
The ancient Romans believed it stopped drunkenness.
Choctaw Indians in Florida grew cabbage as early as 1775.
Dutch settlers to America made “Kool Sia” after their first cabbage crop sprouted.
Cabbage is grown in all 50 states; Florida, California, Texas, New York and New Jersey are the leading cabbage producing states.
U.S. farmers produce more than 25 billion pounds a year.
Cabbage production ranks number five, behind the potato, lettuce, onion and tomato.
A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, cabbage is a proven power-fighter against cancer and heart disease.
Cabbage is second only to the potato in worldwide vegetable popularity.
It has twice the fiber of Boston, Romaine, or iceberg lettuce and has less than 20 calories per cup, shredded.
Popular holidays for serving coleslaw are: The Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Christmas.
Cabbage is a great source of vitamins A and C, and beta-carotene when eaten raw-such as coleslaw.

Basic Coleslaw Proportions:
For 2 servings-2 cups shredded cabbage and ¼ cup slaw dressing
For 4 servings-4 cups shredded cabbage and ½ cup slae dressing
For 8 servings-8 cups shredded cabbage and 1 cup slaw dressing
For 12 servings-12 cups shredded cabbage and 1 ½ cups slaw dressing
A three-ounce cabbage serving contains 1% protein; 0 fat; 35 mg calcium; 0-3 mg iron; 17 mg carbohydrates, 70 mg vitamin A; 64 mg vitamin B; and 3.4 gm fiber.

Making Coleslaw
Coleslaw can be made from three types: Green, which is the main coleslaw cabbage; Red-the royal purple leaves add color to salads; and Savoy, which is slightly milder than green and red. It has crinkly pale-green leaves in a long loose head.
Always pick firm heads, heavy for their size, with crisp, colorful leaves (wilted, droopy leaves means that it’s an old cabbage lacking in flavor).
Wrapped in plastic and refrigerated, cabbage will keep in the veggie crisper drawer for several weeks.
Wash the cabbage; remove any tough outer leaves.
Cut the head in quarters; top to bottom, then cut out the core.
Slice across each quarter in ribbon-like shreds; or use the slicing blade of a food processor for instant shredding. Coarsely shredded cabbage retains more crispness and flavor because less water is lost from the cabbage leaves.
One medium head of cabbage yields approximately eight cups, shredded.
Now mix with slaw dressing-To seal in the flavor and prevent discoloration, mix as soon as possible after shredding. Want a crisp slaw? Shred, mix and serve immediately. For a marinated slaw, chill for several hours or overnight to blend flavors.

Serving Ideas

For Cabbage Cups: Use the large outer leaves of the cabbage to line the serving bowl or platter, then mound the slaw on top; smaller leaves can make individual cups.
For a Red Cabbage Bowl: Cut a thin slice from the top of the cabbage to prevent tipping. Cut across the stem end. With a sharp knife, remove the core and carefully hollow out the inside to with ¾ -inches of top and sides and fill with slaw.

Here are two slaw recipes from T. Marzetti Co:

Crunchy Mandarin Slaw
4 cups green cabbage, shredded
1can (11 oz.) Mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup celery, chopped
3 green onions, chopped, tops included
½ cup slaw dressing, original or light
1 cup Chow Mein noodles
This is to be mixed right before serving; the fruit sweetness blends with the vegetable crunchiness for an unforgettable taste.
Mix the slaw ingredients and refrigerate. Before serving, add the slaw dressing and noodles.
Makes 8 servings

Here Comes Summer Slaw
4 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 cucumber, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 oranges, peeled and cut in small pieces
½ cup slaw dressing, original or light
2 tablespoons orange juice
Mix together the slaw ingredients.
Combine the dressing ingredients and toss together.
Refrigerate several hours to blend flavors.
Makes 8 servings

Growing Your Own

Want to grow your own cabbages at home? Here are a few tips from Bonnie Plants:
Cabbages need at least six hours of full sunlight, more if possible.
Bonnie O.S. Cabbages will need at least 3 feet on each side to spread out. Don’t have that much space? Use a large container.
Work some compost into the soil (cabbages love it!).
Feed your cabbages some all-purpose vegetable fertilizer; fertiilize every 10 days.
Your cabbage will need at least one inch of rainfall each week. Not raining or having a dry spell? Use a watering can or garden hose; gently water at soil level.
Keep weeds out of the cabbage patch (they compete for the cabbage’s food and water). And look out for brown or white moths; get rid of them right away. Cold weather is also bad for cabbage. If it’s below 32 degrees, cover your cabbage with a bucket or cloth covering.
In 10-12 weeks, there should have a big cabbage, just waiting for you.

(Sources: “Recipes make great eating-From Cabbage To Coleslaw”-The Vindicator, Suzanne Schubert-Cox and T. Marzetti Co., June 2, 1993 and “Grow Your Own-Getting It To Grow” by Kathy Van Mullekom, Daily Press-Newport News, Va.-The (Sunday) Vindicator, March 9, 2014)



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