By DEBRA J. MORRIS
Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association
Cabbage is one of the stars of the winter vegetable assortment at your farmers’ market. An underutilized vegetable, it is very sturdy and comes in a variety of colors and shapes. There are over four hundred different varieties of cabbage to choose from: round to conical in shape, with flat or curly, tight or loose leaves in green, white, red, and purple colors. The most common is the round, light green or white head variety.
Savoy cabbage, originating in Italy, has crinkly leaves and is considered the most tender and sweet. It is the better choice for stuffed cabbage leaves since the leaves are more pliable and stand up better to longer cooking times. The firmer texture of standard green, red, and purple cabbages is better for slaw. Red and purple cabbages take longer to mature, so these types are generally not as tender as green or white varieties.
The most common method of preparing cabbage is to shred it using a food processor or a grater. Hand shredding is the simplest method but difficult for some. Another simple preparation for head cabbage is to core the head and cut into wedges that can then be put in braised or baked dishes or steamed on its own. Microwaving is also another good way to cook cabbage. Either way, it is important not to overcook this vegetable to preserve the nutritional value, for aesthetic reasons and taste.
Find fresh, farm- and home-grown cabbage at the year-round Sunday Farmers Market in Martinez.
Best Ever Coleslaw
(The term “cole slaw” means cabbage salad; cole comes from the Latin word for cabbage)
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 cups cored and shredded cabbage, half green and half red
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Whisk together white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, pepper, and vegetable oil until combined. Toss cabbage and onion with vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.