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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!
Rich in nutrients and low in calories, cabbage is an ideal way to add a new flavour and twist to your mealtime. give your dinner a surprise kick that may please even the worst critic
White cabbage recipes
Round and firm, white cabbages have tightly packed, glossy, pale-green leaves. Their sweet, mild taste makes them excellent in salads such as coleslaw.
Recipes using white cabbage
By Donal Skehan
By Paul Rankin
By Ching-He Huang
By Niklas Ekstedt
By James Martin
Light meals & snacks
By Michael Smith
By Adrian Luckie
By Ren© Redzepi
By Angela Hartnett
By The Hairy Bikers
Starters & nibbles
By Sophie Grigson
By Richard Phillips
By Annabel Langbein
By Paul Ainsworth
By Nick Nairn
Choose firm cabbages that feel heavy for their size, with unblemished, smooth leaves. The heads should be solid and compact. Avoid any white cabbages with loose curling leaves.
White cabbages are now available all year, but are a good choice for winter salads.
Store in a cool, dark place. They should keep for up to a fortnight. White cabbages are unsuitable for freezing.
White cabbages can be sliced or cut in wedges, boiled or steamed as a vegetable, or added to soups and stews, it is also used to make sauerkraut. Before use, remove any tough outer leaves.
Cabbage Article by Clarissa Hyman
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