Cabbage is a member of a large group of vegetables from the Brassica Oleracea and B. Rapa families. B. Oleracea includes Napa or Chinese cabbage, minzuna greens, and bok choy. B. Oleracea includes red and green cabbage, savoy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and kohlrabi. Inflourescents include broccoli and cauliflower. These families have believed to have been brought from Asia Minor to Europe in approximately 600 B.C. The word cabbage is a derivation of the French word of cabache, meaning head.
Members of these families contain a sulfur compound that will get relieved the longer it is cooked.
Members of the Brassica family have super tiny seeds. Cabbages are started in a greenhouse until their root ball is ¾”. Then they are transferred to the fields. In one row, they are packed together 2-3 deep in each row. There is a fine art to plant cabbages. They like to be grown in dense rows. These allow for a dense, tight head. However, this also increases the chance for disease and weeds. All of these crops thrive in a soil pH of 6.5.
Cabbages do not like to be touched-so they are processed as least as possible. They are also packed in boxes while in the field. Ideally, the cabbage fields are picked through twice. They are hand harvested with swift slice of a knife. Tight and dense cabbage heads are cut and packed with 2-3 “outer leaves” to help prevent bruising.
When red cabbage is ready to be harvested, the outer leaves will have green tinge-almost makes it look copper in color. Red cabbage takes about two more weeks than the green cabbages to get ready. When cabbages are harvested, they are put into a cooler at 35° to get field heat off head. The internal temperature must get to 40°.
There are 3 basic types of round cabbage. These cabbages have “heads” of leaves in which layers of leaves can be removed singularly. Green cabbage or Dutch Cabbage has smooth, white, to pale to medium green leaves. It is round and dense. Red Cabbage is small and dense and has a pleasantly peppery taste. When cooked, it turns blue unless an acid is added to the water. Savoy cabbage has large, crinkly blue/green leaves that are thin with a rich flavor. Also new on the market is white cabbage.
Savoy Cabbage Green Cabbage Red Cabbage
Other types of cabbage include Chinese cabbage and bok choy. Chinese cabbage is also known as Napa, Chinese celery, Michibuli, or Chinese leaf. It has a long and narrow head with a delicate flavor. Bok choy is an Asian cabbage. It has white ribs with dark green leaves. Fermented bok choy is known as Korean kim chee. Another variety of bok choy is the tat soi leaves.
Bok Choys Napa Cabbage Brussel Sprouts
Cabbages thrive in weather that is 65-70°, with a low of about 50° at night. Cabbage is in its peak during early summer. The cold weather in the spring enhances its flavor. Look for firm, slightly packed heads, with no browning. It should be hard and heavy for its size. Cabbage is low in calories and high in Vitamins A, C, and potassium. Common dishes made with cabbage include cole slaw, and sauerkraut.
Cooked Cabbage’s Flavor Pairings
Raw Cabbage’s Flavor Pairings
vinegar, especially sherry and white wine
Red Cabbage’s Flavor Pairings
cheese, especially goat
vinegar, especially wine
wine, especially red
© 2015 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2015 January 15). Cabbages Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net