CABBAGE: Guide to Cabbage Varieties
The Head of the Game
Cabbage has been cultivated for over 4,000 years and domesticated for more than 2,500. Brought to Europe from Asia by the Celts, cabbage quickly became a major crop and food source. The name derives from the French word, caboche, meaning head. Cabbage takes only three months to grow and produces very large harvests. Just one acre of cabbage can yield more edible vegetables than any other plant, making cabbage inexpensive and readily available year-round. Popular varieties include red, green, Napa and Savoy.
Green Cabbage: Crisp and mildly peppery with a slight bitter note. Its sturdy leaves hold up to cooking and make it perfect for stuffing.
Red Cabbage: Beautifully hued, reddish purple leaves with a peppery taste. The darker the red, the stronger the taste. Adds vivid color to salads and cooked dishes.
Napa Cabbage: Also known as Chinese cabbage, this variety is sweet and milder in flavor than green cabbage. It's delicious raw or cooked and can easily substitute for regular cabbage in most recipes. The leaves are long and crinkled in appearance.
Savoy Cabbage: Sweet in flavor. Does not give off the sulphur-like odor associated with other cabbages. The tender, pliable leaves make it ideal for stuffed cabbage recipes. [Not usually available at Sprouts].
When selecting a head of cabbage, pay close attention to the leaves and size. A good head will have a round, tight, semi-solid shape and will feel heavy in relation to the size. Misshapen and cracked heads mean poor quality from growing conditions. Also, choose cabbages with a vibrant, even color, as signs of good flavor and vitamin content. Napa cabbage should have loose, slightly pale green leaves. Avoid any cabbage with thin, wilted leaves.
Cabbages are wildly versatile and a great addition to most soup and salads. They are nutrient powerhouses, full of Vitamin C, manganese, calcium, and potassium, as well as iron, phosphorous and magnesium. They're very low in calories and thus perfect for those watching their waistline so go ahead eat as much cabbage as you like!
And check out this recipe courtesy of Health Notes:
Sweet and Sour Cabbage
Ingredients1 medium red cabbage head
- Cut cabbage into quarters. Slice away the inner core and discard. Slice the quartered cabbage into thin strips. Core apple and chop into 1/2-inch (1-cm) pieces.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add cabbage and apple and cook, uncovered, stirring for 10 minutes, until cabbage is wilted.
- Add brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper, and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.