Authentic Jamaican Style cabbage is the epitome of whatever’s fresh, nutritious, and locally available Jamaican dish you can find. It is famous for its sweet and spicy flavors that tastes really good. Furthermore, it is also as rich and complex as the country’s fusion of diverse identities blending local, foreign and Rastafarian influences.
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As you know, Rastafarians have a stern vegetarian approach to preparing food and diet. Most of them do not eat pork, and the strict ones do not eat meat, including poultry and fish. Instead, they prefer fresh ingredients that can be found around the islands just like cabbages. It is no wonder why Jamaican vegetable dish make it the most well-known of any Caribbean food.
With this, authentic Jamaican cabbage has been a popular staple in the region that is suitable for keto, gluten free and vegan lifestyle. This unique fusion of Jamaican lifestyle and tradition amazingly adds a colorful and vibrant mood to any Jamaican menu.
What Are Some Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Cabbages?
Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations valued this cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage for its healing qualities. Studies indicate that it contains a potent cancer-preventing compound as well as anti-inflammatory properties, and it aids digestion and lowers cholesterol.
With so many health benefits, it undeniably tells that cabbage deserves some spotlight and some room on your plate. The following uncovers surprising health benefits of cabbage, all backed by science.
- Good anti-oxidant. According to research, cabbage contains powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation, and be protective against certain cancers and enhance brain function.
- Keeps the Digestive tract healthy. It contains insoluble fiber that keeps the whole digestive system very healthy.
- Rich in Vitamin C. As a cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, and sulfur which are necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues. With this high Vitamin C component vitamin C, it also helps in boosting the immune system and fighting off free radicals.
- Packed with vitamin K. Cabbage is rich in Vitamin K, a nutrient critical for blood clotting to prevent excessive bleeding. Furthermore, the presence of vitamin K in cabbage gives a strong boost to mental function and concentration that can help improve your defense against neural degeneration. In other words, protects nerves from damage, thus improving brain health.
- Excellent source of anthocyanins. This nutrient is known for lowering blood pressure levels and reducing the risks of heart disease. It also contains some amount of potassium that makes it a wonderful way to protect us from triggering the risks of heart attack and stroke.
- Reduces Muscle Aches. Recent studies show that eating cabbage also helps reduce muscle soreness, aches, and delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS especially after strength training.
- Rich source of beta-carotene. Just like squashes, cabbages also contain a good amount of beta-carotene which helps prevent macular degeneration and promote good eye health and delay cataract formation.
- Cabbage can also be used for the treatment of varicose veins, leg ulcers, and peptic and duodenal ulcers, improve bones from degradation, and even reduced chances of getting prostate cancer.
Varieties of Cabbage
We can see a cabbage almost every day in our lifetime. There even was a saying, “He who has plenty of pepper will pepper his cabbage.” But cabbage is beyond with the usual green and red. Want to know more? Then read on.
- Cannonball Cabbage – It is the most common cabbage we see in the vegetable shop. Cannonball Cabbage is a bit small in size and the color of this cabbage varies a lot. It has leafy green, pale green or sometimes purple. Its leaves are very tightly placed over one another and because of that it resembles like a cannonball.
- Red Cabbage – This type of cabbage is also known as the purple cabbage. Its leaves grow reddish in acidic soil and more purplish in neutral which acts as a litmus test like in science experiments.
- Bok Choy – This vegetable is also called pok choi and it is a type of Chinese cabbage. It is a dark, leafy veggie with thick stems that’s more similar to spinach or Swiss chard.
- Choy Sum – This is similarly like bok choy which is commonly served in Chinese cuisine, but can be simply identified by the unique yellow flowers.
- Napa Cabbage – It is a large, oblong shaped vegetable with ruffled, yellowish green leaves. Napa Cabbage is softer sweeter than the other cabbages. This cabbage is very common in East Asian food.
- Savoy Cabbage – It is certainly the most beautiful of all cabbages around. The layers of this cabbage leaves are looser. And the leaves are not too tightly packed. Because of this reason, this type of cabbage doesn’t stay fresh for a long amount of time.
- January King Cabbage – This type of cabbage certainly reigns amongst winter cabbages because it can handle even freezing winter. The colors of January King cabbage can be different, and it can range from purple to green color.
How to Properly Store A Cabbage?
Aside from the amazing nutritional value we could get from cabbage, this type of veggie is also one of the long-lasting vegetables around. And of course, just like any food, the storage life of cabbage depends on when it was picked and how it was stored. Feel free to follow the tips I provide below to properly store your cabbage.
- If you happen to have grown your cabbages in your own farm or a garden in your backyard, always remember when picking cabbage to leave all the cabbage leaves on the head. The outer leaves protect the inner leaves and keep the leaves tender.
- Take note that you should not wash your cabbage if you are not going to use it right away. Also, do not wash it whenever stored.
- You need to take extra care of cabbage when you are storing in the fridge because it rapidly losses its freshness once the head is chopped or the leaves are bruised. Store the cabbage in a clean plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator.
- If you know how to store your cabbage properly, it will easily last about 3 weeks or even longer in your fridge. On the other hand, cooked cabbage may be refrigerated in a fully-covered container for three days.
Jamaican Cabbage Recipes
Here’s an easy to follow authentic Jamaican recipes turning a simple cabbage to delicious Caribbean cuisine that will surely liven up any of your meal!
Jamaican Fried Cabbage
This Jamaican side dish is the easiest to prepare. If you are a working professional like me, it really saves up time whenever you are juggling for schedules. It just requires simple ingredients and takes a few minutes to cook. You can also have it at any meal along with your main course.
- ¼ cup of coconut oil
- ¼ bell pepper, of different colors
- One cup of Peel Carrots, cut in medium-size strips
- One onion
- One teaspoon black pepper
- One teaspoon thyme
- One tablespoon dairy-free butter
- One teaspoon salt
- Four Spring onions, cut in strips
- One White Cabbage, cut in strips
- In a large saucepan, heat up coconut oil. When it starts to heat up, you can then add carrots and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Next, add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes. Add immediately 1 finely chopped onion, spring onions, and bell peppers. Mix it properly.
- Now, to make things more exciting, add black pepper, salt, thyme and fold together.
- Once cooked, add dairy-free butter and simmer for about 10 minutes. On reaching a good consistency, turn the flame off. Serve and enjoy!
Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
This recipe is also quite easy, and you only need a couple of ingredients to whip up this Jamaican vegetable dish. In this fine Jamaican vegetarian dish with a little spice, tiny bits of carrots and cabbage are added to the base and cooked until it becomes soft and juicy. It is closely similar to the first ones, but this can be eaten just on its own and is way more nutritious!
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ yellow sweet bell pepper and red bell pepper
- ½ scotch bonnet pepper
- One large cabbage
- One medium-sized carrot
- One onion
- Two cloves of garlic
- Two sprigs of thyme
- Two tablespoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Firstly, remove the outer leaves of cabbage. Cut into half, remove the middle, wash the cabbage leaves and slice them into small pieces. Keep them aside and after a while, wash and chop the carrot into thin strips. Once done, finely cut the garlic, onion and bell peppers.
- Heat oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Sauté onion, garlic, and thyme. Wait for about three minutes until the onion is a bit soft.
- Add the cabbage, bell pepper, and carrot, scotch bonnet pepper (optional) if using any and salt to your taste. Stir well.
- Turn the heat to low. Cover saucepan and let the vegetable steam until soft and tender. (You can modify this whenever you like a crispier or softer texture).
- Add the black pepper and mix well. After about 2-3 minutes turn the heat off, and you are done!
Other Ways to Cook Jamaican Spicy Cabbage
Jamaicans are known to have a very good take in the world of culinary. Since we value Jamaican Cabbage so much, the following are some ways to make that dull veggie into a more delicious, and cordon bleu dish!
- Jamaican Cabbage Salads: Most locals try different twists of Cabbage recipe especially on family gatherings or holidays. They can be shredded into salads with salt and other spices.
- Cabbage Soups. In most cases, cabbages can also be boiled into a soup and served hot.
- Cabbage Dumplings. Who doesn’t want dumplings? You can also try to make a Jamaican-style dumpling filled with juicy, sweet, and flavorful cabbage! They can be eaten as a snack, appetizer, or meal.
- Curried Cabbage. If you are looking for mushy yet deliciously healthy cabbage recipe, try to make a Curried Cabbage side dish with a unique spicy kick of vinegar and hot chili pepper that would probably make a great accompaniment for your jerk chicken or red rice and roti.
And there you have it! Try to liven up your meal with any of these easy-to-make Jamaican Cabbage Recipe! It just needs a little boost in flavor to turn that dull cabbages found in your kitchen into a healthy, flavorsome, and savory meal with an awesome Caribbean twist!