Selecting Cabbage

Cabbage is a vegetable few people really appreciate, but it's truly a vegetable lover's friend. It is strong-flavored, but it's this feature that makes it enjoyable in many dishes.

head of green cabbage
Choose cabbage with a
tight, compact head.

When choosing green and red cabbage, pick a tight, compact head that feels heavy for its size. It should look crisp and fresh, with few loose leaves. Leafy varieties should be green, with stems that are firm, not limp. Store whole heads of cabbage in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. If uncut, compact heads keep for a couple of weeks. Leafy varieties should be used within a few days.

Tips for Preparing and Serving Cabbage

Discard outer leaves if loose or limp, cut into quarters, then wash. When cooking quarters, leave the core in as this prevents the leaves from tearing apart. If shredding cabbage for coleslaw, core the cabbage first. But don't shred ahead of time; once you do, enzymes begin destroying vitamin C.

Forget old-fashioned corned beef and cabbage recipes. More nutrients will be preserved and the cabbage will taste better if it is cooked only until slightly tender, but still crisp -- about 10 to 12 minutes for wedges, five minutes if shredded. Red cabbage takes a few minutes more; leafy varieties cook faster. To solve cabbage's notorious stink problem, steam it in a small amount of water for a short time and do not cook it in an aluminum pan. Uncover briefly, shortly after cooking begins, to release the sulfur smell.

Combine red and green cabbage for a more interesting cole slaw. Bok choy and napa cabbage work well in stir-fry dishes. Savoy is perfect for stuffing.

Keep reading to learn about the health benefits of cabbage.

Want more information about cabbage? Try: