Harvesting and Using Fresh Cabbage

Harvesting and Using Fresh Cabbage
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Cabbage is a great vegetable for soups, stews, casseroles and side dishes. It adds flavors and nutrients but no fat and very few calories.
When harvesting cabbage the heads should be at least 2-3 pounds and firm. You shouldn't be able to press in the top or sides. When they are overmature they split and won't store well. Also, if you leave the outer leaves on the plant when you cut the cabbage for harvest, new buds will form there and you can pick these small cabbages when they are firm.

Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a week if it's tightly wrapped. I've stored it for two or three weeks and it was fine. If you grow it yourself you know it's fresh, but from the store it will depend on when it was harvested. Before storing, trim the heads of loose leaves...the heads should blemish and damage free.

Wash cabbage just before using. For long term storage it needs a location that stays about 32 degrees and 98% humidity. Modern basements with furnaces heat up too much for this, but if you have an unheated cellar that would work well.

You can also freeze cabbage in thin wedges to later add to soup and stews. It won't be good for salads, but for cooking it works great. Trim the coarse outer leaves from head and but the cabbage into wedges. Blanch them in boiling water for 3 minutes, remove and plunge into ice cold water. Drain well and pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

I add thinly cut cabbage to add to my stirfry, salads and soups. I try to always have it on hand to throw into the pot or pan. The following recipes are also good dishes to use cabbage in. Standard green cabbage is the best for cooking, but you can also use red cabbage raw or cooked. Savoy and the Chinese varieties are good either way also. Use what you have!

Cabbage and Apples


1 medium head red or green cabbage, diced

2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 medium tart apples, sliced thickly (core removed)

6 tbsp. herb or red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. granulated sugar or honey

1 whole bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Place cabbage in a large kettle of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain. Return to the pan and stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until cabbage is tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Apple and Cabbage Soup


1 small cabbage

2 sweet onions

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 large green apples

2 ounces butter

3 pints chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1 tsp. chopped green onion

Finely shred the cabbage and slice the onions. Peel and core the apples and dice. Melt the butter in a pan-do not brown. Add the cabbage, onions and apples, and cook over low heat, tossing frequently. Add the garlic and cover with the cold stock. Simmer until the cabbage is just tender. Cool slightly and process in a blender. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Reheat the soup and serve with a little chopped green onion in each bowl.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage


1 small cabbage, thinly sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup wine or herb vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon mustard seed

Steam cabbage and onion with 1/4 cup water in a covered pan over medium high heat until the cabbage is tender crisp, not more than 5 minutes. Add other ingredients and cook on medium high for 5 more minutes. Taste and season more if necessary.

Scalloped Potatoes, Sausage and Cabbage


1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 can evaporated milk (13 ounces)

1/4 cup water

4 medium potatoes, sliced thin

1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin

2 cups shredded cabbage

8 ounces kielbasa, sliced thinly

In a medium pan, melt the margarine, stir in flour, salt and pepper, mixing till smooth. Gradually add the milk and water while stirring over medium heat. In a greased three quart casserole layer 1/3 the potatoes, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 cabbage, 1/2 kielbasa and 1/3 sauce. Repeat. Top with the leftover potatoes and sauce. Cover and bake for about an hour, until the potatoes are tender. This dish can be assembled the night before, covered and put in the refrigerator until the next day.

Cabbage Casserole


1/2 pound Italian sausage

1/2 pound ground chuck

1 small head of cabbage, shredded or chopped fine

1 large jar spaghetti/tomato sauce

1 cup white rice (not instant)

1 cup water

In a non-stick skillet without oil, sauté the rice until it's browned slightly. Place half of it in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Brown the sausage and ground chuck- crumbling it as you go. Drain. Layer half of the meat on top of the rice, and then 1/2 of shredded cabbage on top of it. Mix the water and the spaghetti sauce and then pour half of it over the cabbage.Then repeat your layers. Bake for about an hour in a 350 degree oven. Makes 6 servings

More on Related Features:

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Harvesting and Using Broccoli

Brussel Sprout Recipes


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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