How To Cook Cabbage

Cooking Cabbage – The Basics


You don’t need to attend culinary school to learn how to cook cabbage. It can be as easy as quartering a head of cabbage and placing the cabbage wedge in a pot of boiling water. Once cooked, all that is needed is a little butter, salt, and pepper. Except for the salt and butter, it’s a very healthy and inexpensive dish.


Nutritious, and Sulfur Laden

There are many different ways to cook cabbage. However, if you cook it for too long, or if the cabbage head isn’t as fresh as it should be, you’ll stink up the kitchen. Besides being chock-full of vitamins and a number of other healthy ingredients, cabbage contains a fair amount of sulfur. Overcooking the vegetable can release an excessive amount of sulfur compounds. You and your dinner guests will know if the cabbage has been cooked a bit too long.

Try Stir-Fry


Still, boiled cabbage is a staple food for many. There are other ways to prepare cabbage, of course. Many like to eat cabbage raw, either by itself or in a salad. Cabbage can also be fried, or stir-fried to be more specific. Some, who don’t particularly like the taste of boiled cabbage can become quite addicted to stir-fried cabbage. A good stir-fry recipe usually involves little more than shredded cabbage, a little vinegar, olive oil and some spices. A little experimenting will usually determine which spices seem to provide the best flavor. Thyme, dill weed and garlic are good choices to start with. As is the case with boiled cabbage, a dash of salt and pepper will help give the stir fry a great taste. For an extra taste sensation, add a little chopped bacon or sausage to the mix.


If it’s boiled cabbage you really want, a good practice is to wash the cabbage with vinegar before placing it in the water. Adding a little lemon juice to the water is a good idea as well. You not only get a better tasting dish, but the vinegar and lemon juice will go a long ways towards reducing the unappetizing smell often associated with cooking cabbage. As is the case with stir-fry, adding a little bacon adds to the taste. In this case, the bacon is not chopped. You simply put a slice or two in the pot and boil it along with the cabbage.


When you boil cabbage, you should usually choose green cabbage. There is nothing really wrong with using red cabbage except, as is the case with beets, red cabbage tends to color everything purple that it comes into contact with.  A little vinegar will usually keep problems under control.


Steaming Cabbage


Those who prefer to steam rather than boil their vegetables will find that steaming works great for cabbage as well. More of the nutrients are preserved, and one is less apt to come up with a vegetable that is soggy, limp, or overcooked. Cabbage can be steamed either shredded or in wedges.


If you plan on shredding your cabbage, a handy utensil to have around is the mandoline. The head of cabbage is stroked back and forth across the face of the mandoline, producing shreds having a uniform thickness. This process is much easier and quicker than attempting to shred cabbage with a knife, although some chefs are highly skilled at using a knife to do the job.


Tips On Preparing Cabbage


Most of us are aware that cooking a vegetable can sometimes diminish its nutritional value, a reason why some prefer steaming to boiling. With cabbage, be aware of the fact that once sliced open, a head of cabbage rapidly begins to lose its nutritional value. The amount of vitamin C, in particular, is reduced when sliced or shredded cabbage is allowed to sit too long. Try preparing the cabbage head just before cooking and not several hours or the day before.


Another secret is to use a sharp stainless steel knife. Avoid using a carbon steel knife, as the edges of the cabbage slices may turn black. This is not harmful, but it detracts from the appetizing appeal of the cabbage. Most cooks don’t bother to cook the heart of the cabbage as it is usually somewhat  bitter. It’s usually best to carve the heart out and discard it.


Learning how to cook cabbage require only minimal skills. If you can boil water, you’re halfway there. Remember the tips on how to keep the cooked cabbage smell to a minimum and you’ll do fine. Experiment with some stir-fry recipes and you can soon invite the neighbors over for a great tasting dish of cabbage, knowing they will be asking for seconds.