Cultivated from wild varieties in China, Chinese cabbage has been a food source for hundreds of years and now has many varieties that are grown in the west. To many, this cabbage will look like bok choy, which is a variety of Chinese cabbage. Keep cabbage in a plastic bag in your salad crisper. It can last for up to a in the refrigerator, but its nutritive value will decrease with time. Remove any wilted leaves before using.
Both the stalks and leaves are edible and have a mild cabbage flavor. If desired, separate the leaves from the stalk since they have different cooking times. The stalks can be treated like celery and cooked a bit longer than the leaves, which I add towards the end of cooking. This cabbage makes a great addition to stir fries.
Fun Jen Chinese cabbage is an open pollinated variety of Chinese cabbage with semi-loose conical leaves that are slightly crunchy and a mild cabbage flavor. At the Hamilton Farmer’s Market, one woman told Leon she is very excited to find this vegetable since it is her favorite item for soup. Treat the stalks and leaves separately since they cook at different rates. The cabbage would make a great addition to a wonton or eggroll filling for appetizers or wonton soup.
Native to Europe, wild cabbage can still be found in its headless form that was known to be a source of food for ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In Greece, the origin of cabbage was attributed to Zeus working himself into a sweat trying to explain two conflicting prophecies. Through years of cultivation, cabbage was developed into the large heads we are familiar with today. Of course cabbage can be turned into sauerkraut and makes for some great coleslaw, but this versatile vegetable also takes well to cooking, whether it is sautéed, braised, boiled, or grilled. Cooking cabbage gives off a pungent smell that is a result of a high concentration of sulphur compounds in the vegetable. The combination of thin slicing and brief cooking times can alleviate the strong flavor. Green cabbage pairs well with butter, olive oil, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parmesan, mustard, horseradish, caraway, dill, marjoram, potatoes, apples, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Cabbage can last for a long time stored in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper but its nutritive value decreases with time. Remove any wilted leaves before using.
Pale and crinkled, Napa cabbage resembles a vegetable football that is lighter in flavor than a green or red cabbage. With its mild flavor, napa cabbage is perfect for an Asian style coleslaw, stir fries, or use the whole leaves for stuffing. For those of you who love fermenting vegetable projects, napa cabbage will make some excellent kimchi. Searching saveur.com for ‘kimchi, will give you several ideas on how to make and use kimchi. Napa cabbage does well stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Cabbage can last for some time in the fridge but its nutritional value will decrease with time.
Red cabbage displays brilliant leaves of either a crimson or purple color with white veins running through them, and with its hue comes additional health benefits not found in green cabbage.
Red cabbage is often used raw for salads and coleslaw. This vegetable can be eaten cooked. It is the traditional accompanying side dish paired with many German meals—most notably, Sauerbrauten.
Keep cabbage cold to help retain its vitamin C content.