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Florida Produce: Cabbage

December 14, 2009

Cabbage grows mostly in the north and central parts of Florida. It is available from December to May, with peak harvests occurring in March.  Cabbage is in the “Brassicaceae” family – so it is related to broccoli, greens and radishes, as well as brussels sprouts.

How to buy
Make sure stem is not dry. Handle it gently because cabbage bruises easily. Avoid cabbage with holes and smell the core for sweetness. Green and red cabbage should have firm leaves with good color.

Tips for storage
Cabbage should be refrigerated in a plastic bag; it will keep for up to two weeks or two to three days when it has been cut. Any discolored or wilted external leaves, as well as tough stalks, should be removed before cooking.

Cooking tips
A whole cabbage is best dealt with by removing the tough outer leaves, then cut in half lengthwise. Cut out the hard central core and slice thin for salads, slaws and stir-fry. When using whole leaves, carefully remove the leaves you intend to use from the head. Cook the leaves in lightly salted boiling water until almost tender, then cool them off in an ice water bath to stop the cooking.

Flavors well with
Bacon, butter, caraway seeds, cheese, chicken, cider vinegar, corned beef, cream, duck, mayonnaise, nutmeg, pancetta, potatoes, sour cream, rosemary, dill

Other uses
Cabbage plants can be used to repel slugs that may be eating your flowers. Plant a few cabbage plants in your garden; slugs go crazy for cabbage and will eat that instead.

Because each post is better with a recipe, here’s another good one from our Chef Justin.

Baked Cabbage Egg Rolls
Yield 4 Servings

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups Florida cabbage, shredded
2 medium Florida carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups Florida mushrooms, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon dried
12 egg roll wrappers
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons cornstarch (divided)
1/2 cup water (divided)
1 cup water chestnuts, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
Your favorite dipping sauce

Preparation

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch into 1/4 cup water and set aside. Lightly spray large sauté pan with cooking spray and warm over low heat. Add cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger to the sauté pan. Cook for five to seven minutes or just until vegetables start to get slightly tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture and soy sauce. Cook until the sauce thickens. Let vegetable mixture completely cool and add green onions. Dissolve the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Brush onto egg roll wrappers and fill with vegetables and wrap according to the directions on the egg roll package. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until brown. Serve hot with dipping sauce.

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