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Let's Learn About Cabbage

CabbageFor generations, parents have told their kids to eat their vegetables, often with a great deal of pushback. One way to help your kids to learn more about vegetables, and potentially be more willing to eat them is to plant a vegetable garden. When it comes to choosing vegetables for your garden (or your grocery cart) be sure to consider cabbage!

What do you think of when we say cabbage? Does your nose turn up or do you enjoy incorporating this vegetable into your meals?

Cabbage is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables on record and has many health benefits. It is low in calories (33 calories per cup) but packed with some great nutrients. It is a great source of vitamin C (red cabbage has more than green) which is perfect to boost your immunity. Cabbage has been called the “drug of the poor” because it improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, eases headaches, and is an energy booster!

Some other interesting cabbage facts are:

  • Cabbage comes from the French word caboche which means “head”
  • There are more than 400 cabbage varieties, but green, red, purple and savory are the most popular. 
  • Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is cousins to broccoli, collards, turnips, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. 
  • In ancient China, cabbage was used as an elixir for baldness. 

Cabbage is grown March through May and August through December in most North Carolina counties. Now is a perfect time to be starting a vegetable garden that includes cabbage! Cabbage is fairly easy to grow, and can even be grown in containers. Just make sure that the cabbage plant has enough room in a container (or a garden) to grow a nice head. They love full sun! Harvest when they are of a usable size. Cabbage can split if a heavy rain comes. Twist the head a quarter turn or shear one side of the roots with a spade if you are not ready to pick the heads and want to prevent splitting.

Once harvested, there are so many ways to use cabbage. Our favorite uses for cabbage are cole slaw, stir fry, soups, and with kielbasa and potatoes.

You can also use it to dye your Easter eggs! Red cabbage is a natural dye for fabric or Easter eggs. You can use many vegetables to dye eggs this Easter.

Cabbage: Although the cabbage is purple/red in color, it dyes the eggs blue! Shred a cup of red cabbage and boil in a pot of 4 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Cool, strain and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

Beets: Peel and chop 2 fresh beets and simmer in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes. As with the cabbage, cool, strain, and add the same amount of vinegar. You’ll have beautiful pink eggs!

Yellow onions: put the skins of 2 or 3 yellow onion ins pot of 4 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes and repeat steps for other veggies. You’ll have orange eggs! Red onion skins make a maroon color.

The longer you leave eggs in the dye, the darker their color. If you want a bold color, store the eggs in the dye, covered in the fridge overnight.

Pretty cool, right?!

Vegetables are good for more than a balanced meal. They also encourage us to explore the world around us, create, and stay active. We hope your kids will enjoy exploring the world of veggies a bit more and maybe even grow some of their own!