Cabbage, that taken-for-granted vegetable, that sturdy dense produce, that food of many countries’ history (and poor people’s diets) has been slowly becoming more appreciated. The long time Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables, cabbage is finally getting the respect its due.
Cabbage was most likely domesticated in Europe over 3000 years ago. It made its appearance on the tables of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, but it has figured more prominently in more recent centuries.
Most famously, in Ireland cabbage was one of the only sources of sustenance in a potato famine-ravaged country in the mid 19th century. And yes, one of the strongest cabbage associations is with the classic Irish dish Corned Beef and Cabbage, and of course Colcannon.
Cabbage has always been appreciated for being abundant, cheap, and very hardy. But when a vegetable is prized for being cheap and abundant, it also can get snubbed, which would be a shame. I use cabbage all the time, and almost always have a head in the fridge. It bulks up all kinds of dishes in a helpful way, it’s good for you, and it’s versatile, taking well to pretty much any cuisine I am dipping a toe into at the moment.
It can be eaten raw or sautéed, steamed, braised, roasted, stewed, and made into soups. Also in many cultures cabbage is preserved to last even longer (think kimchi in Korea, sauerkraut in Eastern Europe). The leaves are used in all stripes of cabbage rolls in all kinds of cultures.
If you are using the leaves for wrapping fillings, then you will want to remove them whole from the head of cabbage, and following the recipe instructions, which may include blanching them, or removing the thick rib that attached it to the core. If you are chopping or slicing the cabbage, cut it in half right through the core, then cut the core from the cabbage, and chop of slice according to the recipe directions.
I like slicing it very, very thin for slaws. You can also cut the cored cabbage into chunks and feed them through the tube of a food processor, using the shredding or the slicing blade. The shredding blade will give you pretty finely chopped cabbage, so make sure that’s what you want.
How Long to Cook Cabbage
In some preparations, like coleslaws and salads, the answer may be not at all. In other preparations, like a braise, you might cook it for a long while, under it becomes quite soft and tender. You also might give it a very quick saute, if you are using it in a stir-fry for instance. The cooking time definitely depends on the way the cabbage has been cut, the type of cooking method, and the desired texture.
Don’t wash the cabbage before storing. If it came wrapped, leave it in the plastic and store it in the fridge, preferably in the vegetable drawer. If it came unwrapped, you can put it in a plastic bag. Once cabbage is cut, wrap the remainder in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cabbage should last up to two weeks in the fridge easily.
Is Cabbage Nutritious?
Yes! It’s very high in vitamin K and also vitamin C. It also has a nice dose of B6 and folate, and provides fiber. And it’s low in calories – cabbage has about 22 calories per cup.
Cabbage is abundant, cheap, and very hardy, but it’s also delicious and versatile. Here’s how to choose, store and prepare this amazing vegetable.Tweet This
9 Delicious Cabbage Recipes
Onto the recipes!