Growing Cabbage: Tips and Recipes
The Versatile Veggie – Enjoyed both cooked and raw. Our best year-round source of Vitamins A and C.
There are many varieties of cabbage, but you can use common characteristics to se-lect the best head of cabbage available. Heads of cabbage should be heavy for their size and should not have brown or rust-colored veins. Outer leaves should be crisp. Avoid heads with insect injury, wilting leaves, or splits; these heads will have more waste and may have off-flavors.
Cabbage varieties have distinct appearances. The most common varieties form large, green heads. Other varieties that you may see in the grocery store include:
- Savoy cabbage – “headed” cabbage with yellowish, crimped leaves
- Celery cabbage or Chinese cabbage – long, oval, “headed” cabbage with firm, light-colored leaves
- Red cabbage – “headed” cabbage with red-dish-purple leaves
Each pound of cabbage will yield about 4 ½-cup servings of cooked cabbage, or about 4 ¾- to 1-cup servings of raw cabbage.
Cabbage should be stored in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. It wilts quickly in dry storage. Cabbage should maintain good quality in the refrigerator for about a week.
Before use, cabbage should be washed carefully in cold, running water to remove soil and in-sects. In order to maintain quality and nutri-tion, cabbage should not be shredded and left exposed to air. Cabbage should be shredded just before cooking or mixing with salad dress-ing. Cabbage salads should be refrigerated after mixing in order to retain Vitamin C.
Cabbage should be cooked quickly. Over-cooking gives cabbage a “strong” flavor that many people, especially children, do not like. The best methods of cooking to retain color, flavor, and nutrients are stir-frying and steam-ing. In addition, adding sweet or mild fruits or vegetables like corn, apples, or carrots to cab-bage can make it taste better for some people.
Cabbage cores are often discarded because their firm texture is different from the leafy texture people expect from cabbage. Cut in thin slices on the diagonal, the core is ideal for vegetable dipping and for replacing water chest-nuts in stir-fry recipes.
Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
⅓ cup vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Combine cabbage, carrots, and onions in a 2-quart, non-metallic container with a cover. To make dressing, mix remaining ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. Pour dressing over vegetables and mix well. Cover and refrig-erate for 4 to 24 hours.
Corn and Cabbage Stir-Fry
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups chopped cabbage
¼ cup chopped onion (optional)
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt fat in skillet over medium heat. Stir-fry cabbage and onion in butter for 3-5 minutes. Add corn to cabbage in skillet. Stir to mix.
Cover and cook for up to 5 minutes. Cabbage should
be tender-crisp. Season to taste. Mix lightly and serve.
Note: Chopped apple or grated carrot can be used instead of corn.
Cabbage for Later
Cabbage is usually plentiful throughout the year. If you do have more cabbage than you can use, it can be preserved by freezing or pickling (making sauerkraut).
How to Freeze Cabbage
Trim coarse outer leaves.
Cut into coarse shreds. Blanch for 1 ½ minutes. Plunge into ice water to cool.
Pack firmly into moisture-vapor resistant freezer packages, removing as much air as possible.
Leave ½-inch headspace. Seal containers and label them with the name of the product and the date.
Freeze promptly and store at 0°F or below.
Cabbage pickling (sauerkraut) instructions and more instructions for pickling, freezing, and canning vegetables and fruits are available at the following website: www.clemson.edu/hgic,