Fermentation is all the rage at the moment. From Brooklyn to Bangkok, the shelves of trendy organic co-ops heave with charmingly retro Mason jars of artisanal pickles and lacto-fermented vegetables. Hats off to the hipsters for bringing into vogue one of Russia’s venerable food groups!
Long sidelined by other global cuisines, the humble Brassica oleracea (cabbage) has played a starring role in Russian cuisine for centuries. The long days of Northern summers are particularly conducive to growing large heads of cabbage, just as Russia’s long winters provide the perfect conditions to store these heads in a root cellar.
Packed with vitamins and minerals, cabbage has long been recognized in Eastern Europe as not only a nutritional staple, but also as a potent medicinal aid for digestive disorders, rheumatism, and even melancholy. The high content of folic acid in cabbage explains why pregnant women, nursing mothers, and wet nurses were forced to eat huge amounts of salted cabbage in pre-revolutionary Russia.
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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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