All About Green Cabbage
The most commonly available variety of cabbage has smooth, pale green leaves. A hardy plant, cabbage is sold fresh all year long but
is at its best during the cooler months of autumn and early winter.
Europeans and Asians depended on pickled cabbage for nutrients during long winters, sauerkraut and kimchi being the two most common recipes for preserving the vegetable. Whole leaves can be briefly boiled or steamed until pliable, stuffed with savory fillings such as beef, barley or rice, and then rolled and cooked until tender. Cut cabbage is often added to soups, braised until sweet and tender, stirred into fillings for dumplings, or tossed with dressing to make cole slaw.
Heads of green cabbage should be firm and heavy with tightly furled smooth or crinkled leaves, depending on variety. Color is an indication of freshness: cabbages stored too long lose their pigment and will look almost white. To ensure freshness, check that the stem end has not cracked around the base.
Refrigerate heads of green cabbage for up to 2 weeks. If you want to eat it raw, do so within 3 or 4 days. Do not cut or shred cabbage until you are ready to use it. Store the unused portion intact, wrapped in plastic, and use within 2 days.
Pull off and discard any wilted outer leaves. Remove the core, either by cutting the head into halves or quarters and slicing the core from the center, or by cutting out a cone at the base of the core. If you’re shredding or slicing cabbage for salads, a mandoline or food processor fitted with the shredding disk makes quick work of the task.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, by Tasha DeSerio & Jodi Liano (Weldon Owen, 2010).