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Ever wonder about St. Pat's Day?  Wonder why there's no corn in corned beef?  Here are a few facts:

•It's a mostly American-created holiday.
•The Irish historically considered green to be an unlucky color to wear because it meant fairies would snatch you up and steal you.
•The traditional Irish diet consisted mostly of lamb and garden and root vegetables.
•Corned beef was most likely created on Manhattan's Lower East Side in the 1800s when Irish immigrants took a page from their Jewish neighbors and made brisket their own.  

Now for some nutritional facts that you may or may not want to know!

Corned beef

 The "corn" part refers to the coarse salt used to cure the meat, and has nothing to do with actual corn.
I could really find a true story, but there's probably some truth that Irish families cured the meat to keep it from spoiling.  

It seems that Irish immigrants borrowed brisket from their Jewish neighbors on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1800s. It was said that the Irish immigrants were looking for a substitute for Irish bacon and simply adapted their newfound neighbors' brisket recipe.

Because it's one of the least tender cuts of meat, it requires a lot of boiling, low and slow, to break down the fibers.

Not only is this tough, but very fatty-according to Weight Watchers a mere 3 oz serving is worth 6 points!  

Cabbage

A very traditional accompaniment to corned beef.  Although it's likely to make many kids wrinkle their noses, the weight-conscious should regard cabbage as a friend.  It contains fiber and is rich in vitamins C and K with red cabbage also being rich in vitamin A. It's said to be brimming with antioxidants, and some research has even suggested it may help to stave off cancer.

In the most usual ways it's seen on this upcoming holiday cabbage is cubed and added to the boiling pot of corned beef during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Heavy amounts of pepper help bring it to life.

Because it's fat-free this is the stuff to pile high atop your plate when sitting down to toast good old St. Pat. (Be warned: Cabbage can make you gassy.  So go buy some beano or open up the windows)

Potato

A bona fide Irish original if ever there was one, the potato, is one vegetable with a bad rap, a must-have for any authentic Irish feast.

The potato literally meant life or death for the Irish between 1845 and 1852.  The "Great Potato" famine is a mere blip in Irish history, but over a million people did die during those few years.

The traditional thing to do is peel and quarter the spuds and put them in at the same time as the cabbage and serve.
If you serve this right out of the pot-they are fat free and low in calories.  But if you must make mashers or the very traditional colcannon (cabbage and potatoes)-don't use the cream and butter!  Use skim milk instead.

Now, most people feel St. Patrick's Day is nothing without raising a pint or two of beer-just remember if you're watching your waistline or your health-pile up on the veggies, weigh out the corned beef and enjoy a "lite" beer and do some extra exercise!

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Mar 15, 2010
    • Thx for the history..... I enjoyed thatheart

      I for one will NOT be going out on St Pat’s day.... I am trying to cut those cals and I cannot afford green beer or any of the other “Irish” goodies.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Mar 15, 2010
    • Love the story! thanks for sharing thatheart

      I will be going out this evening to have me some cornbeef and cabbage cause thats one of my fave dishes and I only eat It during this time. On Wednesday the restraunts all run out of It, so I am getting my fill tonight..LOL,  But no green beer for me. Back In my younger days I would have partied It up! and felt It the next day but not anymore. I will just stick with the food.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carine Nadel wrote Mar 15, 2010
    • I bought a little 2 pounder this year.  I’m putting it into the Crockpot w/ red potatoes, carrots and some turnips or parsnips and using a bottle of dark ale.

      DH just let me know he’d like to pass on the cabbage this year.  LOL-maybe he was over my shoulder when I wrote the caveat??



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Wookiemom09 wrote Mar 15, 2010
    • I bought a 2 lbs myself and will crockpot it with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onions with beef broth.  

      Thinking I will try making my own brine next year.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Mar 15, 2010
    • Ok, I got my Cornbeef and cabbage fix, I am set until next year estatic It was Delcicious!! and I even tried the Dijon mustard flavored horseradish with It and I liked It. I don’t even like horseradishohhhhheart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Mar 16, 2010
    • this is the time i will fix the corned beef and cabbageestatic love it alot, bu dont make it very often



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