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Life is Beautiful Blog

The Veggies You Should Plant Now, Part 4

Blaire Benson


The word cabbage is a derivation of the French word "caboche," a colloquial term for "head." Cabbage itself comes in many forms. The shapes can be flat, conical or round. The head compact or loose, and the leaves curly or plain.

When growing, cabbage likes full sun and ample water. Fertilize before heads begin to form.

One year at the Alaska State Fair, the winning cabbages weighed 85 lbs., 81.4 lbs., and 77 lbs.

Harvesting from the Winter Garden

Harvest when the head is firm and has reached adequate size depending on variety and growing conditions. Leaves should be crisp looking and firmly packed. Cabbage may be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for a week at most.

Cabbage sliced or cooked, can be one of two things: deliciously crisp with a mild, pleasant flavor or overcooked and unpleasant. Cabbage and other brassicas contain the chemical hydrogen sulphide, which is activated during cooking when the vegetable starts to soften. It eventually disappears, but during the in-between time, cabbage acquires its characteristic rank smell and flavor. So either cook cabbage briefly, or cook it long and slow, preferably with other ingredients so the flavors can mingle.

There are several types of cabbage. Varieties include savoy, spring greens, green, red, and white. Knowing how to cook them correctly is important. For green or white cabbages, place the shredded leaves in a pan with a pat of butter and a couple tablespoons of water to prevent burning. Cover and cook over medium heat until leaves are tender, occasionally shaking the pan or stirring. Red cabbage is cooked quite differently and is commonly sautéed in oil or butter and then braised in the oven for up to 1.5 hours with apples, currants, onions, vinegar, sugar and spices.

Recipe: Bakesale Betty's Coleslaw

Servings: 6


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion (sliced very thin)

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 green cabbage (core and outer leaves removed; sliced very thin)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 jalapeño chiles (cut in half lengthwise; sliced crosswise)

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt


For the vinaigrette: Mix the Dijon, red wine vinegar and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk in the olive oil.

For the coleslaw: In a small bowl, cover sliced onions with red wine vinegar, allowing to macerate for 5 minutes. Drain off vinegar, discard and add onions to a medium mixing bowl along with cabbage, parsley, jalapeños, cilantro, salt and enough vinaigrette to moisten. Combine all ingredients and adjust seasoning.

This recipe is from the website of Kaiser Permanente: Food for Health, Recipes for Life.