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cabbage is a tough vegetable that grows well when planted in fertile soils.
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Cabbage is one of the bountifully available vegetables. All varieties of cabbage can be seen in most markets all year-round. Proper selection, storage, and serving of cabbage is helpful, especially with those who follow the Cbbage Soup Diet.
Green cabbages should be harvested when they are large enough and when their heads haven’t split yet. Select those with compact and heavy heads, and are free of insect nibbles and decay.
Fresh cabbages will have a generous amount of outer leaves. Check the bottom of the cabbage to be sure the leaves are not beginning to separate from the stem, which is an indication of age.
The fresh, uncut cabbage heads can be stored in the refrigerator only for two weeks. The heads of the cabbage must be covered loosely with a plastic bag or perforated bags may be used. Cabbage should not be washed before storing because the extra moisture will only hasten its deterioration.
The top portion of the cabbage head is more tender and shreds easier than the bottom. If it is useful, cut the head horizontally and the top may be used raw in slaw and salads while the bottom half in cooked recipes.
The green cabbage is sometimes referred to as ‘Dutch White’. Its inner leaves are smooth and pale to medium green because they are protected from the sun by the dark green leaves outside. If you desire to eat the cabbage raw, eat it within a few days.
The Savoy cabbage is crinkly, and has waves of blue-green leaves. This variety of cabbage is indeed a beautiful sight as it grows in the garden. Its leaves are thin, richly flavored and best served cooked or raw in salads. Cooked Savoy cabbages do not have the strong sulfur odor like that of the green cabbage. Unlike green cabbages, which can last in the refrigerator for 2 weeks, the Savoy cabbages can be stored only for 4 days.
The red cabbage variety is typically smaller and denser than the green cabbage heads. Its color is very susceptible to color change and its flavor is slightly peppery. Red cabbages should be cooked with vinegar or any other acidic ingredient to prevent it from turning into an ugly blue-gray color. For the same reason, stainless cookware and knives should be used when preparing red cabbages.
Many consider cabbage as unpleasant and stinky vegetable. Some say that they don’t want to risk their house smelling like someone had just cut the cheese. The not so pleasant odor of the cabbage results from the breakdown of the sulfur in the vegetable. Cooking the cabbage in aluminum pans seems to make it worse. A little vinegar added while cooking the cabbage seems to curb the scent. It is also wise to refrain from using aluminum pots.
Another unwanted effect of cabbage is gas. Bacteria are naturally present in our intestinal tract. These bacteria break down the dietary fibers found in cabbage, producing gas that some find rather upsetting. However, the benefits from cabbage are too overwhelming that the undesired effects, even the disadvantage of the infamous Cabbage Soup Diet, are oftentimes ignored.