The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white or green varieties with tightly packed leaves, to cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts as well as pak choi, popular in Asian cookery.
The round, crinkle-leafed Savoy cabbage and the pale, lozenge-shaped Chinese leaf are considered to be two of the best to cook with. The flavour of cabbage varies from type to type, ranging from savoury to gently sweet, but one thing they all have in common is a rank smell if overcooked, so brief cooking is key.
Different varieties of cabbage are available all year round.
Choose the best
All cabbages should look bright, with crisp leaves. Avoid those that feel puffy, whose leaves have holes (an insect might have burrowed its way in) or whose outer leaves have been stripped away, which some retailers do to cabbages that start to loose their freshness. Varieties with tightly packed leaves should feel heavy.
For loose-leaved varieties, remove old or damaged outer leaves, cut the leaves free of the core and slice out any tough central stalks. Rinse if necessary, then chop or slice. For tightly-packaged cabbages, strip the outer leaves in the same way, wash, then slice into quarters, cut out the hard central core on each one, then chop or shred. When cooking red cabbage, add a little vinegar to the water to stop the colour running. Boils in 4-6 minutes; steams in 4-8 minutes; stir fries in 2-4 minutes.
Loose leaved cabbages will keep in a cool, dark place for several days. Tight leaved varieties will last even longer.
Stir fry Savoy cabbage with garlic, ginger and chilli, plus a dash of soy sauce; slice green cabbage with carrots, toasted nuts, raisins and dress with olive oil and lemon juice for a salad; slice white cabbage and add to chopped ripe mango, red onion and walnut pieces, dressed with vinaigrette.
Primo cabbage is one of the most popular types of cabbage and possess huge amounts of Vitamin B6, fibre, manganese, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium which helps to regulate the blood pressure and heart rate. And taste great when cook properly
It should have tight compact heads and no sign of wilting; the stalk should look moist and freshly cut.
Cabbage is excellent finely sliced and eaten raw in salads. When cooked, the briefest cooking methods, such as steaming or stir-frying, are best. Apart from red cabbage, which breaks the rule and benefits from long cooking, overcooking iy releases sulphur which reminds many of bad school meals!
The distinctive dark purple colour of red cabbage adds a beautiful splash of colour to a variety of savoury dishes. It benefits from long, slow cooking methods to bring out its mellow flavour.
Red cabbage recipes
A member of the brassica family, red cabbage has been cultivated in Britain since the Middle Ages. For many years, the British have shredded it and relegated it to the pickling jar, missing out on other delicious cooking methods such as braising.
Recipes using red cabbage
By Chris Harrison
By Donal Skehan
By Donal Skehan
By Jason Atherton
Light meals and snacks
Starters and nibbles
Try shredding red cabbage finely and braising it for two to three hours with oil, spices, red wine vinegar, apple, stock and brown sugar for a sticky, caramelised side dish to game dishes, roast pork and duck. Alternatively, if you want to boost your vitamin intake, eat raw red cabbage in salads or coleslaw - it's packed with vitamin C.
Get Fresh and Fruity Cabbage Red *, Fresh Vegetables and Class 1 - Great Britain
Cabbage Red * from Get Fresh and Fruity Online