Cabbages

Types of Cabbages

Types

Cabbage belongs to the same family as broccoli and brussel sprouts. There a many types of cabbage including; Red, Savoy, Tuscan (or Cavalo Nero), Kale or round. There are also the Asian cabbages including; wombok or Chinese cabbage, choy sum, and gai laan.

Selection and Storage

Select a cabbage that is heavy for its size with leaves that look perky. Whole cabbage will keep in the refrigerator for one to six weeks depending on type and variety. Hard green, white or red cabbages will keep the longest while the looser Savoy and Chinese varieties should be used more quickly. Cutting cabbage releases and enzyme which hastens oxidisation and deterioration, so cut or shredded cabbage does not keep as long as whole cabbage.

Availability

Cabbages are available all year round. Peak season for most cabbages runs from November – April.

Using

Generally Cabbage should not be overcooked and drained well. European cabbage can eaten raw in a salad, pan fried, stuffed whole, boiled, stir fried, steamed or pickled. Cabbage can also be slowly braised with meats and other vegetables. Chinese Cabbages can be stir fried, pan-fried, steamed or boiled. Red cabbage may bleed colour onto other ingredients when used in salads; adding lemon juice, vinegar or wine can reduce this effect. Cabbages are good with sour cream, vinegars, eggs, potatoes, onions, dill, fennel, coriander, coriander and caraway seeds, soy sauce, apple, pork and cheese.

Nutrition Information

Cabbage provides fibre, vitamins A, C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, B6, thiamin, calcium, iron and magnesium.

Chinese Cabbage (Wombok)

An oval shaped cabbage with tightly packed green leaves turning to white at the centre. Chinese Cabbage has a slightly sweeter flavour than regular cabbage. Use raw in salads or in stir fries.

Availability

All year round. Peak season is winter.

Tuscan Cabbage or Cavolo Nero

Sold in bunches Tuscan cabbage has long crinkled matt deep green leaves with a white stem and a bitter cabbage flavour. Best when cooked either sauteed, or braised or in soups and delicious with meats.

Availability

All year round.

Kale

Kale resembles a rough leaf grey/blue/pale green silverbeet with thin stems, it looks very similar to Tuscan cabbage.  It is sold in bunches as it does not form a head.  Saute or use in soups or braises.

Availability

Peak supply in the summer months. May be available at other times of the year.

Red Cabbage

The red cabbage  plant changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil. In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. The juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator, turning red in acid and blue in basic solutions. Red Cabbage is dark red outside with a red and white interior. Its colour make it an attractive addition to stirfries and coleslaws . Red cabbage is also used in traditional European braised dishes including sauerkraut and red cabbage with apple. When cooked red cabbage will turn blue unless vinegar, acidic fruit or another acidic ingredient is added during cooking.

Availability

Available all year round with peak season Autumn.

 

Regular Cabbage

This is the tight hearted white and green round regular cabbage. Suitable for coleslaw, braises and stir fries and very long lasting when whole, once cut these must be used within a few days.

Availability

These varieties are available all year round with peak season the winter months.

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy cabbage is crinkly pliable leaf variety with more loosely packed leaves than red or round green cabbage.  It is tender with a sweet flavour. It is believed to have originated in the ‘Savoy’ region,  on the border of Italy, France and Switzerland, hence the name. Savoy Cabbage can be used in a variety of recipes. The pliable leaves mean the savoy is perfect for making stuffed cabbage leaves. It is also good in a minestrone soup. Savoy is tender enough to be eaten raw in salads. It does not keep as long as the tighter packed cabbage varieties.

Availability

Available all year round with peak season spring.