Here you can learn about cabbage types, nutrition, and some useful tips for enjoying this vegetable.
Did you know that long before cabbage was cultivated, it grew wild on the coastlines of Europe? In some places you can still find wild cabbage growing, although what we eat these days is considerably different.
In France, cabbage is a very popular vegetable and you will frequently find it growing in the family potager.
In testament to its culinary importance in France, cabbage is the subject of several different French sayings that you could entertain your family with at dinnertime:
C'est chou vert et vert chou - It's green cabbage and cabbage green, meaning: it's the same thing either way.
Dans les choux - In the cabbages, meaning: in trouble.
Faire chou blanc - To make a white cabbage, meaning: to lead nowhere.
Mon petit chou! - My little cabbage! A popular French endearment.
Like its Brassica family relatives, the brussel sprout, broccoli, cauliflower and others, cabbage is a fabulous source of fiber as well as being rich in many vitamins and minerals. In recent years, these vegetables have earned star nutritional status and are recommended eating for anyone concerned with maintaining good health.
Cabbage is very low calorie and tastes great cooked simply, without adding a lot of fat. It can even be made in to a main dish as in the cabbage casserole you will find featured here.
You will find several cabbage types used in French recipes:
Chou vert frisé - This is equivalent to Savoy cabbage. The leaves are dark green and curly and only the more compact inner leaves are eaten. This cabbage is cooked before eating and is featured in the cabbage casserole below. It is also a good cabbage to stuff because the leaves are looser and hold up well to cooking.
Chou chinois - This is sometimes called chinese cabbage in English, but is also known as Napa cabbage. This cabbage is pale green and comes in an oblong head. It has a mild, sweet taste and is very good when braised.
Chou cabus - Here the leaves are smooth and very compact. Comes in white, pale green and red varieties. This is the type of cabbage used raw in salads. In France you might find cabbage in a salad along with some of the following: chopped apples, grapes, raisins, walnuts, grated carrots, garlic croutons, chopped beets.
Choose cabbages that are tight and smooth.
A cabbage should be heavy in your hand, this is an indicator of freshness.
Remove any outer leaves that are damaged, cut in quarters and cut out the core. Rinse well with water.
Pre-boiling cabbage for a brief time helps to make it more digestible. Rinse right after with cold water to preserve the vitamins and color.
Some people add a slice of crusty, hard French bread to the water to cut down on the cooking odor.
Cabbage makes a great addition to soups, like in this French stew called Poteé Champenoise.
When cabbage is cooked well, it makes a fabulous side dish and can accompany many other things. Try this superb braised red cabbage recipe for a tasty introduction to this wonderful vegetable.