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A Soviet favorite that's good for you, comrade!

Cabbage was the staple of the peasants of Russia in the years following the Russian revolution. And for good reason: The vegetable is easy to grow and loaded with nutrients.

This fall season brings with it a taste for vegetables that are associated with cooler weather. One of the most common and versatile vegetables during this season of the year is cabbage which keeps well in cold storage. A member of the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale) cabbage is a nutritious, easily grown and easily stored vegetable here in the northeast.

It is believed that the Romans introduced cabbage and it has become a popular vegetable in many world cultures. The word cabbage is an Anglicized form of the French word caboche, meaning "head".

The hard-head form of cabbage that we are most familiar with is thought to have come to the North American continent, via the St. Lawrence River, by Jacques Cartier; he planted the vegetable in Quebec in 1541. From Canada it spread to the American colonies.

Cabbage has many positive nutritional attributes like vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin K. Cabbage is low in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Red cabbage has almost twice as much vitamin C as green or Savoy cabbage. Cabbage also contains a class of phytochemicals in the glucosinolates family which can be helpful in fighting cancer cells in the body.

One cup of raw chopped green cabbage contains 22 calories, 1 gram of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of dietary fiber, less than a gram of fat, no cholesterol, and 219 milligrams of potassium, 16 mg of sodium, 29 milligrams of Vitamin C, and 38 micrograms of folate.

Cabbage can be cooked in a microwave oven. Cut a head of a cabbage into wedges and place them in a microwavable baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons water, vegetable broth, or chicken stock. For every 2 cups shredded cabbage, add 1/4-cup liquid. Cooking time for wedges is 5 to 7 minutes. Cooking time for shredded is 5 minutes. Be sure to stir the cabbage after 2-1/2 minutes.

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