All About Cabbage
Do not wash cabbage before storing, and leave on all the outer leaves, which will protect the inner ones. Shared Harvest CSA recommends storing cabbage in the refrigerator or a cool cellar, in a plastic bag, and that it can keep this way in the back of the fridge often for three months. When you take it out, some of the outside leaves may look mildewed, but these may be stripped off to reveal the remainder as good as new. Savoy cabbage can mostly be treated similarly to green cabbage but is more tender. Savoy cabbage keeps in the fridge for two weeks or so and is generally chosen for flavor and not for storage.
Once cut, the cabbage's quality will decline more quickly. Wrap tightly in plastic and try to use up an already cut head within a couple weeks.
How to Use
Cabbage can be eaten raw or sauteed, roasted, stewed, grilled, steamed, boiled, stir-fried, pickled, or fermented. Here are a variety of simple ideas for using cabbage.
Because of its ability to store for several months and its relatively mild taste, green cabbage is a versatile standby for the winter months. Its use around the world inspires a wide variety of recipes and flavors. Some people are more sensitive to bitter flavors in cabbage, and use of salt and shorter cooking can reduce the bitterness.
Cabbage can also add crunch and freshness to other dishes. Especially in the winter, when other fresh vegetables are more scarce, I often top stews, beans, grain salads, or soft tacos with a handful of chopped cabbage, dressed or not.
Sauteeing cabbage requires only some butter, salt, and black pepper, but this template can be adapted with other types of fat, spices, or additional vegetables. See the cabbage links for other ideas.
There are many different versions of cabbage soup, some of which we reference in the cabbage links. If I have some on hand I often add cabbage to other soups or stews. As with other cruciferous vegetables, long cooking brings out unpleasant tastes, so for the minestrones I make all winter long I add chopped cabbage for the last 15 minutes of cooking or so.
Cabbage can also be fermented, as in kimchi or sauerkraut.
Apparently cabbage can also be frozen, though freezing affects the texture such that the thawed cabbage would then be used only in cooked foods, not in salads or slaws. Trim the coarse outer leaves, core, and cut the head into medium to coarse shreds or thin wedges or separate the head into leaves. Blanch in boiling, salted water for a minute and a half. Immediately dunk in ice water to arrest cooking, then drain and package for freezing.
Featured Recipe: Roasted Cabbage
While it seems like everyone is roasting vegetables these days, roasted cabbage may be one you may not have tried yet. This simple preparation adds up to much more than the sum of its parts and has become my family's favorite way to enjoy cabbage!
Slice a head of cabbage into 1/2 inch slices and place them in a single layer on a lightly oiled half sheet pan. Roast at 350 to 375F for around 20 minutes, then turn the slices over using your largest spatula. Now sprinkle with some good Parmesan, and, if you are inclined, sprinkle with salt, too. Roast for another 10 to 15 minutes. Some leaves will get crispy, some will stay soft. Serve hot.
Nancy Gold is a LexFarm founding member and former LexFarm board member. She continues to work on LexFarm's education committee to bring Farm Based Education Programs to the public. She is sad to see so many area farms lost to development pressures and is gratified that the community valued the Busa Farm enough to rally around it and ultimately save it!
More Ideas for Cabbage
For a French twist, try garbure, a cabbage and white bean soup. We offer a classic version, a simpler version, and two vegetarian versions, one with spring vegetables and one with roasted vegetables.
If your mood is Italian, make minestrone with cabbage.
If you're in the mood for Eastern European flavors, try chickpea and rice soup with cabbage.
Or make a soup with cabbage as the main event.
This delicious cole slaw is dressed with homemade tartar sauce.
Try this flavor-packed shredded cabbage salad.
Pickle cabbage Mexican style, and optionally serve it on top of sweet potato empanadas.
Try a vegan salad with seared tempeh and kelp noodles.
Add cabbage to tabbouleh.
Cabbage adds textures to an assortment of pancakes such as Japanese okonomiyaki, Spanish tortillitas, or Indian pakoras (skip the asafoetida if you don't have any).
If you enjoy Indian cuisine, there's cabbage upkari (cabbage steamed with coconut and chana dal), Gujarati cabbage, or Punjabi cabbage.
Fill a rustic tart with cabbage, apple, and onions.
A peanut butter sauce coats the pasta and wilted cabbage in sesame noodles.
Alternatively, use cabbage in the stuffing of rice paper (summer) rolls, pierogi, tacos, or dumplings.
This simple recipe for sautéed cabbage, which uses only butter, salt, and black pepper, can be adapted with other types of fat, spices, or additional vegetables. Add thinly sliced onion. Add caraway seeds or toasted, ground fennel seeds. Use peanut oil instead of butter and, after sauteeing, toss with soy sauce, a bit of brown sugar or mirin, a few drops of sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds. You can also brown sliced mushrooms and saute onions and shredded carrots before adding cabbage to the pan, filling hoisin-smeared tortillas for a take-off on moo shu vegetables. Or use Indian spices.
Grill cabbage wedges and top them with a Thai-inspired lime dressing.
Who can resist trying a recipe with a name like "Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage"?
Add grated cabbage to mashed potatoes and you have the Irish colcannon.