Green cabbage is a general description of a group of vegetables with soft, leafy green leaves. They can vary in shape and looks, from long and pointed to round and green, and can have either loose or tightly packed leaves, with or without a ‘heart’. The taste can vary from mild and sweet to assertive. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which makes it a good source of Vitamin C. Use as many of the dark green outer leaves as possible as they both taste good and are packed with nutrients.
Look for bright, firm leaves with no blemishes, slime or brown patches. A good rule-of-thumb is that fresh cabbage leaves should ‘squeak’ when you rub them together. Buy cabbage with the outer leaves attached, even if you discard them later, as these leaves protect the centre of the cabbage and help keep it moist.
There are many varieties of green cabbage, with different cropping times, so some sort of green cabbage is available most of the year.
Store in a cool, dark place or the fridge. If left uncut and loosely wrapped in plastic, a green cabbage will keep for a week or two. However, eat green cabbage as fresh as possible as it loses nutrients if stored for too long. Once cut, wrap the unused portion in cling film and store in the salad drawer of the fridge. Use within a day or two.
To freeze green cabbage, wash it thoroughly, shred finely and blanch for two minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water, then drain again and pack into polythene bags. Cook from frozen in boiling, salted water.
To prepare green cabbages, discard any tired outside leaves and cut away tough stalks or central ribs. Pile the leaves together, shred and rinse thoroughly. Cook gently in olive oil or butter, or steam or stir-fry. Alternatively, roll and stuff the leaves with meat and rice.
Article by Clarissa Hyman