Cabbage is a member of the brassica family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, and kale, among others), and is probably the most widely member cultivated globally. There are many varieties of cabbage, making it well suited to adapt to various climates. Most farms in the U.S. harvest cabbage in early summer and late fall, and fall varieties tend to form dense heads conducive to storage in appropriate root cellar conditions. Cabbage is very low in calories and has a high water content. However, it does contain a significant amount of vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Nutritional content varies by cabbage variety; for example, purple cabbage contains more vitamin C, while savoy contains more vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium. Cabbage is considered a good digestive aid and intestinal cleanser.
Stored in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator, cabbage can last 3 weeks to 2 months. It can store for even longer in appropriate root cellar conditions. Do not remove outer leaves prior to storing.
Cabbage should be eaten raw or lightly cooked (overcooking cabbage produces a strong flavor and odor). To cut up cabbage, first cut head into quarters, and then slice diagonally across the wedge. Cut into slices to toss into salads raw, or cut into thicker slices to steam or boil. Purple cabbage is a nice aesthetic (and tasty) addition to salads, pasta salads, fried rice, etc. Cabbage is also popularly fermented in sauerkraut and kimchi.
Steam wedges of chopped cabbage for 5-7 minutes. Top with butter, salt, and pepper, or with grated cheese.
Chop cabbage into bite-size pieces, then toss with shredded raw carrots and green onion. Dice or grate other raw vegetables and add as desired. Toss with a mayonnaise/yogurt dill dressing or vinaigrette.
Colcannon (Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage)
Known in Ireland as Colcannon, this mashed potato and cabbage dish is a simple but tasty treat. Boil cabbage for 5 minutes with a chopped onion. Add to mashed potatoes (which may include milk, butter, salt, and pepper, as desired).
Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Sausage
1 head red cabbage, shredded
1 apple, cored and diced (something firm, such as Braeburn, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, etc.)
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar or ½ cup golden raisins
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
14 oz. ring turkey kielbasa, cut into 1 inch pieces
14 oz. ring Andouille sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
Place cabbage in a large pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, lemon juice, ½ cup of water, and sugar or raisins. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered but stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Sauté the onion in butter until golden. Add the onion to the cabbage along with the apple, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper, vinegar, and sausage. Cook, covered, for 20-30 minutes until sausage is cooked through. (Optional: Serve with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.)
(Recipe contributed by CSA members Justin and Megan. Adapted from original recipe here.)
5 pounds cabbage, trimmed, cored, and sliced into very thin strips
3 tablespoons kosher salt
Place cabbage in a 1-gallon crock, food-grade plastic bin, or large glass container. Add salt and mix thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon. (The salt will help the cabbage release water and create a brine.) Continue packing the cabbage until completely submerged in brine. If there is not enough brine to cover the cabbage, add additional brine (boil and cool brine made from 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt per 1 quart of water). Cabbage should be packed deep enough to leave at least 4-5 inches between it and the top of the container.
Fill a new, clean zip-lock bag that is large enough to fit into the container with water and seal. Place the weighted bag on top of the cabbage so all the cabbage bits are submerged. Cover container with a clean dish towel to keep out dust.
Store container in an out-of-the-way place at room temperature (in the 70°F to 75°F range). The sauerkraut will be fully fermented in approximately 3-4 weeks. (Note: At lower storage temperature of 60°F-65°F, kraut will take longer to ferment (about 5-6 weeks). At temperatures above 75°F, kraut may become soft. At temperatures lower than 60°F, it may not ferment at all.)
Start checking and tasting after 2-3 days. If scum or mold appears at the top or sides of the container, that is totally normal. Simply skim it off and wash the bag as necessary. The kraut is safe in its brine.
The kraut is done once it reaches the desired tangy and sour flavor and the appropriate amount of time has passed. Skim off any lingering scum.
Ladle kraut into glass jars, cover with brine, cap jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Yields ¾ to 1 gallon.
Kraut can also be canned after fully fermented instead of refrigerating, but the processing will kill beneficial bacteria created in fermentation. To can, ladle into hot prepared jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Check for air bubbles, wipe rims, and seal. Process for 20 minutes for pints, or 25 minutes for quarts. (Recipe from Tart and Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen, by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler.)
Ethiopian Cabbage Dish
½ cup olive oil
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ head cabbage, shredded
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook carrots and onion in the oil for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric, and cabbage, and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Add potatoes and cover; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are soft (20-30 minutes).
(Recipe shared by CSA members Justin and Megan. Original recipe here.)