Cabbage is best prepared as close to raw as possible, sometimes called tender-crisp, to preserve its many nutrients. Short-cooked and raw cabbage, for instance, were the only kind that had measurable cancer-preventive benefits in one study (long-cooked cabbage did not have measurable benefits!).6 Microwaving is another no-no for cabbage, as just two minutes in the microwave destroys many of the enzymes needed to convert the glucosinolates into cancer-preventive compounds.7
Steaming or sautéing your cabbage quickly, or eating it raw in coleslaw and salads is a better option. Cabbage can also be juiced, as mentioned, and fermented, which will provide your body with healthful amounts of beneficial bacteria and, if certain starter cultures are used, vitamin K2.
Cabbage can also be used as one of the primary vegetables for fermented vegetables. It should comprise at least 80 percent of your vegetable blend when making fermented veggies, so this is an incredibly efficient way to get more cabbage into your diet. Here’s a quick guide for how to make your own fermented cabbage (you can find more in-depth instructions here).
- Shred and cut your chosen veggies.
- Juice some celery. This is used as the brine, as it contains natural sodium and not only eliminates the need for sea salt but also keeps the vegetables free of the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
- Pack the veggies and celery juice along with the inoculants (starter culture, such as kefir grains, whey, or commercial starter powder, all of which can be used for vegetables) into a 32-ounce wide-mouthed canning jar. A kraut pounder tool can be helpful to pack the jar and eliminate any air pockets. We hope to have our new starter culture which is optimized with strains of bacteria that will make high doses of vitamin K2 sometime in early 2013 assuming our testing goes well.
- Top with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides. Make sure the veggies are completely covered with celery juice and that the juice is all the way to the top of the jar to eliminate trapped air.
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