Produce Spotlight on Cabbages
Cabbage, a round, firm green vegetable with leaves tightly packed in a “head,” is a member of the brassica family. It has a mild flavor and is eaten raw or cooked. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and a good source of fiber and folate.
Shopping for Cabbage
Choose firm, dense heads with shiny, crisp leaves free of cracks and bruises. Avoid cabbage with soft, yellow, or brown outer leaves.
Green – round head of smooth green leaves that become white toward the center; peppery taste when raw; sweeter when cooked.
Red – round head of dark red or purple leaves; slightly peppery flavor.
Savoy – compact head with curled, green crinkled leaves; mild flavor.
Napa – long, light green oval leaves; mild, sweet flavor.
Storage and Preparation
- Store unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Green and red cabbage can keep up to 2 months. Savoy and Napa cabbage keep up to 1 week.
- To prepare, remove and discard the discolored leaves and wash the head.
- If not using the whole cabbage, cut it in half through the stem. Store wrapped partial heads and sealed containers of chopped or shredded cabbage in the refrigerator. Use red or green cabbage within 2 weeks and savoy cabbage within 4 days.
- Refrigerate cooked cabbage in a covered container. Use within 5 days.
- To freeze fresh whole leaves, wedges, and sliced cabbage, blanch for 1½ minutes, cool, and drain. When packaging, leave ½ inch of head space and then seal and freeze. Use within 12 months.
- Add shredded cabbage to stir-fries, soups, casseroles, and tacos.
- Thinly slice cabbage for salads, coleslaw, or Asian cabbage salad.
- Make cabbage rolls by mixing spices with ground turkey, rolling the mixture into small balls, and wrapping them in cabbage leaves. Bake at 350º F for 1 hour.
1 medium head (2½ pounds) green cabbage = 9 cups shredded raw = 7 cups cooked
Using Locally Grown Produce
Visit the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program’s website featuring recipes using fruits and vegetables. To locate places to buy local produce, visit www.mass.gov/massgrown.