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The Culinary Potential of Cabbage

Lenka Pagan

How to store cabbage?

When buying a cabbage, choose the firmer ones as they will keep longer. Red and white cabbage can be kept in the fridge for a week or more, though this probably doesn’t do much for their nutritional value. Hispi, the pointed cabbage, should be used within a week and spring greens last only 3 – 4 days!

What type of cabbage is good for what and how do you prepare it?

First, I separate the leaves and then I slice the cabbage into large wedges. I cut out the chunky central ribs and discard them unless you have pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters…they love it, even the outer leaves. 😊  Then I rinse it – placing the cabbage into a bowl of cold water and leaving it for a few minutes so that any dirt sinks to the bottom, then I lift it out and drain it.

Then, prepare it according to your recipe. Generally, a good cabbage (red, white, green or hispi, the pointed cabbage) is great to eat raw in salads or coleslaw where you shred it or slice it as thinly as you can. Larger leaves (raw or cooked) can be used as wrappers for rice, grains and other vegetables.

Cooking methods

  • Stir-fry

It is the simplest method of cooking cabbage – shred it and use it in stir-fries, soups, stews and curries – heat it over medium heat for about 10 minutes with good oil. I use coconut oil.

  • Braise

Red cabbage is great for braising in the winter months. See a recipe below. Even though, Savoy and white cabbage is also good braised and in soups and stews.

  • Steam

Hispi and January King cabbage are best steamed  for about 3-5 minutes.

  • Boil

Savoy cabbage can be boiled (about 5 minutes) in plenty of salted water. In order to maintain the colour, keep the lid off.

Cabbage works well with the following ingredients:

Onions, garlic, spring onions, chives, apple (for braising), soy sauce, and spices such as caraway, chili, coriander seed, mustard seed, nutmeg, cayenne and black pepper, ginger and juniper.


Braised Red Cabbage

This is a classical recipe which I used to eat along with meat when growing up. It goes nicely with potatoes or even rice (see images below). It is worth making a big pot out of the whole cabbage head as it reheats very well, so good for next day as well.

1-2 tbsp oil (I use coconut oil)

1 large onion, chopped

1 head of red cabbage

1-2 tbsp sweetener (unrefined sugar, xylitol or coconut sugar)

2-3 tbsp cider vinegar

200-250 ml vegetable stock (or use water and 1 tsp bouillon powder)

1-2 apples, grated

1 tsp caraway seeds

Salt and pepper


  1. Put oil into large casserole/sauce pan and add onion for about 5-10 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the cabbage, sweetener of your choice, vinegar stock, caraway seeds and salt with pepper. Mix it, cover with the lid and cook for about 1 and half an hour. Keep checking it so it will not burn. Add water if needed.
  3. At the end of cooking, add the apple/s and cook for about 10 more minutes over a low heat. Serve with potatoes or even rice like I do. Enjoy.




Next: I will post a few simple recipes of various cabbage dishes.



Lenka Pagan
Lenka supports women to live happier and healthier life. :-)

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