Everyone knows what Cabbage is. Leafy, round, and just the slightest bit firmer than the good old iceberg lettuce which somehow finds its way in salads more often. But did you know that in BC, there are three distinct types of cabbages that are in season during the fall, that all have different tastes, best preparations, and looks to it?
Here’s everything about Green, Red, and Savoy cabbages that you’ll need to know going into this fall season.
This is the cabbage that we all know and love! The basic, reliable, long-lasting, and versatile green cabbage. It goes with most everything, and tends to have little flavour on its own (aside from the occasional veggie and leafy green flavour). A popular way to work with green cabbage is through coleslaw, which goes great with any fall picnic or BBQ before that summer sun disappears.
When shopping for green cabbages, you’ll want to look for heads that feel heavier for their size, or cabbages that seem to be older. This provides more ability for your to use those tightly packed and moist leaves in your recipes.
These cabbages are just like green cabbages but they’re actually red (or sometimes people call them purple because of the slight blue hue). Red cabbage is usually smaller than green cabbages but are typically similarly tightly packed compared to its more popular counterpart. Red cabbages aren’t like green cabbages in that they tend to be more bitter to the taste when prepared raw in a dish, which is why you’ll find common red cabbage recipes include it in slaws, pickled, or otherwise treated if served raw.
If you’re thinking about cooking with a red cabbage, you want to be mentally prepared to see blue in your kitchen! Red cabbage leaves give off a blue colour when heat is applied to them. This colour tends to also go hand in hand with the release of moisture in its leaves. The best way to go around this is adding acid to the mix in the form of either vinegar or lemon/lime juice. While it’ll make things a bit more tart, it may help to add depth to your flavour and prevent you from staining your countertops too badly.
Now for the lesser known star of the local cabbage family, which you’ll be surprised to know is actually the most widely available type of cabbage in most grocery stores! Savoy cabbage is just like green cabbage in its colour, but its leaves are much more curly compared to the green cabbage we know and love. It has very ruffled and lacy leaves at their ends and deeply ridged grooves. These leaves are more loose compared to green or red cabbages when it comes to the natural look of the cabbage.
Savoy cabbage is more tender and thin as well, compared to other cabbage types, which makes it the perfect candidate for salads, stir-fries, or other cooking recipes (our favourite is using it in salad rolls to give them that fresh flavour without adding too much crunch!)