Cabbage is one of those vegetables available all year long, with abundant varieties available in our local stores. Part of the Brassica family, this line of cruciferous vegetables also includes cauliflower, kale and broccoli.
Perhaps the more familiar varieties of cabbage include the white cabbage, red cabbage and napa cabbage, sometimes referred to as Chinese cabbage for its origins. But, there are even more varieties to enjoy in your recipes. When you are at the store, check out green cabbage, bok choy and savoy cabbage, as well. Each variety has its own flavor, from mild, sweet savoy to the peppery, slightly bitter red cabbage.
What can I do with a head of cabbage?
Maybe a better question is what can’t you do with cabbage. In my home kitchen, here are just some of the ways I use cabbage:
- cabbage soup,
- bok choy salad,
- stuffed cabbage rolls
- roasted cabbage wedges
- braised cabbage
- cabbage stir-fry, and
- cole slaw (of course).
How to select a head of cabbage?
When at the store, look for cabbage leaves that are brightly colored and crisp. When you pick up the cabbage, it should be firm to the touch. Cabbage that is losing its freshness will be spongy and may have its outer leaves falling off the center of the cabbage. And, of course, avoid any vegetable that shows signs of rot.
How to store cabbage?
Like all fruits and vegetables, avoid washing before storage. Instead, always wash fruits and vegetables, including cabbage, immediately before using them.
For cabbage, try to store it whole rather than cutting it up. Remember fruits and vegetables will begin to lose some of their nutrient base when exposed to air. And, that process amplifies when you cut a cabbage and expose more surface area. If you must cut your cabbage ahead of time or you simply cannot use the entire head, tightly wrap the remaining portion in plastic wrap. Store the unused portion in the “crisper” section or drawer of your refrigerator, and enjoy the cabbage later in another favorite recipe.
A cabbage boost
One last item to mention about cabbage: it serves as a rich source of vitamins C and K, as well as manganese, calcium and other minerals. So, enjoy this nutrient-dense, cruciferous vegetable, which is not only delicious but versatile and good for us too.
- Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables (Cleveland Clinic)