Sunday, November 30, 2014

Purple-y delicious

I had a craving for beets or cabbage today.  A little odd, I know. Maybe just needing some B6 or possibly potassium?

A shot of purple to feast my eyes.

In my recipe search I went through some old cookbooks on the shelf, and came across this curious description:

Every fall at the farmers' market I buy the biggest, heaviest green cabbage I can find. I wrap it tightly in a plastic bag and put it on the bed in my guestroom, which in winter I only heat enough to keep fruits and vegetables from freezing. Then almost every week I fetch my cabbage to the kitchen, carefully pull off a couple of leaves, and slice or chop them to make a salad... I wrap up my cabbage again and am grateful that it will probably last as long as the snow flies. Edna Staebler, 
Soups and Salads with Schmecks Appeal

Edna was born in 1906, died in 2006. The back of the 1990 book says she "lives in Mennonite Country north of Waterloo, Ontario, where she reads, swims, knits, and feeds wild birds, her cats, and her many friends." I think I would have liked her had I gotten a chance to know her.  Although I wouldn't have wanted to stay in her guest bedroom in winter! 

Normally I slice the cabbage,  exposing the rosette of colour, but then after awhile the white turns yellow and doesn't look very appealing. The cabbage dries up and ends up in the compost. looking shriveled and sad.

I love this peeling-the-leaf method! Just take what you need, and this humble .99 cent veg has the potential to last for months in the fridge.

I ended up making a beet and red cabbage pickled salad to satisfy my craving, and look forward to peeling leaves for the next few months. Next up: braised red cabbage with bacon.  

A memory from years ago: I ended up on one episode of a T.V. cooking show because Bob Blumer was casting participants from garden clubs. It was an entertaining day, mainly just sitting around waiting for a chance to eat an incredible meal prepared fresh from a community garden. No pretending was required when we finally got around to eating, the meal was delicious! A spectacular table had been set, which included slicing cabbage heads so they entirely covered the surface of the groaning table. Incredibly colourful! Even a few years later, people would say they saw me on T.V. Funny thing was I never did see the episode.

Cabbege:  In addition to being packed with vitamin C and anthocyanins, red cabbage is packed with fiber, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese, and also contains thiamine, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It's the glucosinolates in cabbage that get the award for their "anticancer" benefits.

Beets:  Betanin and vulgaxanthin are betalains that have gotten special attention in beet research. Beets are also an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium, and copper. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6.

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