The staples of the Irish diet have traditionally been potatoes, grains (mainly oats) and dairy products. Soups of all types play important roles in the Irish mealtime. Since their country is surrounded by water, the Irish enjoy many types of seafood, including salmon, scallops, lobster, mussels, and oysters. The most common meats are beef, lamb, and pork. A typical Irish dinner consists of potatoes (cooked whole), cabbage, and meat. The Irish have also been accomplished farmhouse cheese makers for centuries.

St. Patrick’s Day marks the feast day and anniversary of the death of a Christian missionary known as Patrick. The most widely-seen St. Patrick’s Day symbols are the colors green and the shamrock. The day, March 17th is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland. It is a country on my Traveling Foodie list! To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sharing with you three of my favourite everyday foods that are popular on Irish menus.

Cabbage

  • Cabbage is probably the vegetable Ireland is most famous for.  Millions of heads of cabbage will be cooked and eaten on March 17th and in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.
  • It is a cruciferous vegetable that is loaded with valuable nutrients. Sulforaphane is an antioxidant found in cabbage that reduces oxidative stress in the body and promotes immune health.
  • Irish cabbage is boiled and shredded and served with melting butter. I recommend eating it raw to get the most antioxidants. Shred it for slaw and for burger garnishes!

Cheese

  • In the 1970’s a natural revival of farmhouse cheese making began on in the Irish countryside. As the cheese-makers developed their craft, local chefs and shopkeepers put in orders for cheeses and a local industry was reborn.
  • Cheese is a nutrient dense food with calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12. All great for bone health and immune health
  • As you know cheese is my fondest food memory! One of my Irish favourites is Dubliner, which is a robust, nutty to sweet flavoured aged cow’s milk cheese with a hard texture similar to Cheddar.

Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • Steel cut oats start from the whole grain that is then passed through slender blades that cut the oat kernel into thin slices helping to retain more fiber and protein compared to rolled oats.
  • Steel cut oats contain a good source of plant protein. Plus, the soluble fiber beta-glucan which is associated with the reduction of cholesterol and improved blood sugar control, good for heart health.
  • They create a chewy, full-bodied porridge much different than quick rolled oats in both taste and texture.

Do you have a favourite Irish food that you ate while visiting Ireland?
Let me know so I can try it when I travel there in the next few years!

irish-farmhouse-cheese-and-oat-soda-bread2Recipe

Have you wanted to bake Irish Soda Bread but haven’t made the time to do it? With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, why not bake it now? Check out this Farmhouse Cheese and Oat Soda Bread recipe at bordbi.ie

Wishing You a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!