Cabbage is a plant of thick overlapping leaves that may or may not form a head, may be smooth or curly, green, white or red. There are almost 400 varieties of cabbage, differing widely in shape, color and type. There are cabbages with inflorescences (broccoli, cauliflower), with stems (kohlrabi, kale, collards, Chinese cabbage) and with smooth or curly leaves (savory cabbage, green, white and red cabbages).
Choose: heavy, compact cabbage with brilliant, well-colored and crunchy leaves.
Avoid: cabbage with spotted, cracked or damaged leaves.
At Room Temperature: Keep cabbage in a cold room with 90%-95% humidity levels and temperature close to 30° and no higher than 35°.
In the Fridge: About 2 weeks, in the veggie compartment or in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag. Cover and avoid putting it near foods that could absorb its smell.
In the Freezer: Blanch grated cabbage 1 minute and cabbage cut into wedges for 2 minutes. The texture softens when defrosted.
Cabbage can be dehydrated.
Wash cabbage after removing its fibrous or damaged outer leaves. If it contains worms, soak for 15 minutes in salted water or water that contains vinegar.
Use only a small amount of water (3/8-3/4 inches in the cooking pot) and, if cooking white cabbage; add an acid ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar. Add the cabbage once the water has come to a boil; cook grated cabbage 5-8 minutes and quartered cabbage for 10-15 minutes. Cut red cabbage with a stainless steel knife to prevent discoloration.
Make into a salad, dress with a little vinegar after slicing thinly. Adding an acidic ingredient to the cooking liquid brings out the color of cabbage, whereas too much water drains its color.
SERVING IDEAS FOR CABBAGE
Cabbage can be eaten raw, cooked or preserved. Raw cabbage can be grated or sliced; it is delicious as a salad. Cabbage can be quick braised, steamed, braised, sautéed, stuffed, etc.
It is used in soups, stews and stir-fries. It works well cooked with carrots, onions and potatoes as well as bacon and sausages.
Sauerkraut is made from preserved cabbage.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that when raw; cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid? Cabbage is also said to be successful at treating stomach ulcers and when used in herbal medicines; is used to treat over 100 illnesses.