In the kitchen
Most varieties will keep in the fridge for a fortnight or so.
Prep & Cooking tips
Remove the outer leaves and cut out their tough central rib. Stack the leaves, roll them up like a cigar and slice into fine shreds. Cleave the tightly packed main centre into manageable quarters, remove the tough root core with a V-shaped cut, and slice it crossways as thickly or thinly as required. Or, simply cut into stout wedges for roasting.
Cabbage is a versatile veg: shred into stir-fries, curries, soups and stews. When raw and finely shredded, its fresh crunch is a welcome addition to salads and slaws. It’s also good quickly stir-fried, or cooked long and slow.
Comfort Things needn’t always be complicated. These greens are often at their best simply steamed, boiled or slightly wilted in a pan. 4-5 mins, at the most, is all you need. Season with a little salt and pepper, and finish with a bit of butter or olive oil and maybe a restrained squeeze of lemon. Try folding your wilted cabbage into buttery mashed potato to make Irish colcannon, or mixing with cold mash and chopped leftovers and frying as bubble and squeak cakes.
Fresh sauerkraut Although lacking the savoury depth of the fermented form, you can approximate the key notes by braising half a shredded cabbage with 300ml of apple juice or cider, 1 tbsp of cider vinegar, 1 tsp of brown sugar, 4 smashed juniper berries and a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper. Great with bangers.
The finishing touch Very finely shredded, these greens make a fresh and healthy finish to a robust soup or stew. A dark winter minestrone, heavy with tomatoes and beans, would be ideal; even a deep, savoury bowl of miso can be enriched with a tangle of noodle-thin greens. A handful thrown into a stir-fry in the closing minutes adds colour, and can be left slightly undercooked if you’d like a slight crunch.
Goes well with
Alliums (Chives, Garlic, Onion)
Spices (Caraway, Chilli, Coriander seed, Ginger, Juniper, Mustard seed, Nutmeg, Pepper)
Roasted cabbage with mulled cider
Serves: 4 Total time: 40 min
Cabbage, chorizo and potato hash
Serves: 4 Total time: 45 min
Baked chicken and red cabbage with smashed garlic butterbeans
Serves: 2 Total time: 1h
Braised Savoy with pancetta
Serves: 4 Total time: 50 min
Chestnut and sprout gratin with spiced red cabbage, apple and beetroot
Serves: 2 Total time: 50 min
Whole baked 'cremated' cabbage
Serves: 2 Total time: 50 min
In the field
Meet the grower: John Walter-Symons , Holbeton, Devon
John Walter-Symons runs Borough Farm near Holbeton; the rolling fields are filled with vegetables and cereal crops, as well as free-roaming organic sheep.
October-February Crunchy texture and sweet flavour. Like Hispi, it’s good steamed, stir-fried or simply cooked in butter.
Pointed cabbage (Hispi)
May-October Less long-lasting; only keeps for a week in the fridge. Crunchy, with a sweet, delicate flavour. Good steamed, stir-fried or simply cooked in butter.
July-December Cook low and slow until tender. Or, slice very thinly to enliven green salads and slaws.
July-March Robust texture and strong flavour. Ideal for hearty soups and stews. A good substitute for Cavolo Nero.
July-January A good texture for coleslaw. Or, quick-cook it with butter and caraway seeds.