Green Cabbage is round in shape with layers upon layers of leaves. The inner leaves are usually lighter in colour due to being protected from the sunlight. Should be heavy for their size and compact, even-coloured and fresh. As a cruciferous vegetable which is hearty, plentiful and inexpensive, it is well-known for being a dietary staple throughout the world.
Red Cabbage is sweeter and more attractive due to its deep colour. This lure, however, is also its vice, with a tendancy to bleed onto other foods. When cooking use vinegar to help set the colour. You’ll love it braised slowly with apples, wine, and spices.
Savoy Cabbage Easily spotted for its crinkly lace patterned veins, it’s a leaf head cabbage known for its delicious flavour in cooking. Again, due to the inner leaves being shielded from the sun, its loose leaves vary in colour from dark green to light green.
HOW TO CHOOSE
Available throughout the year. However, it is at its best during the late fall and winter months when it is in season.
Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colourful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Outer visible damage usually indicated worm damage or decay that may be present on the inner leaves as well.
Any more than a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem may be an indication of a loss in texture and taste. The time-savings of pre-cut cabbage, either halved or shredded sacrifices nutrition: once cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content.
Keeping cabbage cold will keep freshness and nutritional content. Refrigerate the head in a plastic bag and stored in the crisper. The following storage life spans should be considered:
- Red cabbage = about 2 weeks
- Green cabbage = about 2 weeks
- Savoy cabbage = about 1 week
The remaining portion of a partially used head of cabbage should be covered tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerated, and used within a couple of days.
To wash cabbage, remove outer leaves, trim off any remaining rootstalk and cut the head into quarters or eighths with a large knife, then rinse under cold running water. The white core or heart of the cabbage is edible and contains the same nutrients and flavour as the leaves. However, it can be tougher and therefore used cautiously for some recipes. On the other hand, the vegetable will fall apart without the core.
To cut cabbage into smaller pieces, first quarter it and remove the core. Cabbage can be cut into slices of varying thickness, grated by hand or shredded in a food processor.
- Any signs of worms or insects reveal the need to soak the head in salt water or vinegar water for 15-20 minutes first.
- To preserve its nutritional value, cut and wash the cabbage immediately prior to cooking or eating.
- Its phytonutrients react with carbon steel, turning the leaves black. Instead, use a stainless steel knife to cut.
Cabbage compliments meat dishes, especially smoked or salted meats, as well as root vegetables (i.e. potatoes). Shred raw in slaw and salads, use as a wrap (stuffed cabbage) for meats or veggies and braise, add to soups and stews, sauté it or stir fry, and you can pickle cabbage as in sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is a beneficial fermented food. Use shredded in sandwiches as lettuce.
- The intensity of flavour becomes too strong when cooked for more than 5 minutes or so, depending upon size of chunks.
- Should be crisp tender when done.
- It pairs very well with red wine and with herbs and spices such as sage, thyme, dill, caraway, pepper, tarragon, and celery seed. Onions, apples, horseradish and sour cream all team up with cabbage to produce extraordinary flavor combinations.
A powerful cancer-fighter that offers a good amount of fibre, Vitamin C, and indoles. A very good source of manganese, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Cabbage is also a good source of thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and protein.
The duo of the indoles and sulforaphane phytochemicals is a great way to breakdown products of compounds called glucosinolates.
Cabbage (raw, shredded), 1 cup (100g)
Total Fat: 0.19g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (22.5mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.