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Crop Spot: Cabbage

Hardy and easy-to-store cabbage is abundant even in late winter. It will keep in cool, moist storage for 3-4 months! Part of the Brassica genus, which includes broccoli, kale and cauliflower, this crunchy veggies comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. This versatile vegetable has been grown and used around the world for thousands of years. And, it’s packed with nutrients! 

In the Garden

Different varieties of cabbage grow at different rates and at different times of the year, so check to see what the planting and growing method is for the species you’d like to grow (or this handy resource from MSU Extension!). In general, this vegetables prefers cooler growing temperatures, so in Michigan most varieties are planted and harvested in early spring or in the fall. In fact, many cabbages can handle temperatures well below freezing! 

Some varieties will produce multiple smaller heads before their growing season is complete. Others, typically the fall-grown varieties, produce one large head. You can harvest cabbage by using a sharp knife to cut the heads off at the base of the plant, or you can harvest the entire plant, roots, stalks and all, to store. In the spring, you can replant the roots and stalks as soon as possible for very early spring greens!

Purple Cabbage

In Your Medicine Cabinet

A single serving of cabbage provides needed vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. This crop e is a particularly excellent source of vitamins K and C, with a single serving offering 85% and 55% of the recommended daily intake respectively. Cabbage also contains vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are extremely important for a variety of key functions of the body. Folate is what allows your body to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow and produce DNA and RNA. Vitamin B6 is key in allowing the body to store and use energy. 

Napa Cabbage from Tantre Farm

In the Kitchen

Since cabbage is enjoyed across the globe, there are a myriad of ways to enjoy it. The Irish love to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with Colcannon, a traditional dish of mashed potatoes and cabbage. Another St. Patrick’s Day dish to make is boiled cabbage, which is typically prepared with bacon and mustard seeds in Ireland to give it some extra kick!

Cabbage is also excellent in stir-fries and slaws. Try out this recipe for spicy stir-fried cabbage and this one for crunchy Asian-inspired cabbage and carrot slaw

Pickled cabbage makes an excellent topping for tacos and burgers, or as an addition to a pulled pork or chicken sandwich. You can make your own quick-pickled cabbage with this easy recipe.

How are you using cabbage this winter? Share your favorite ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable with [email protected]!

Find crunchy cabbage near you on TLD’s Find Food & Farms Directory.

Elizabeth Pearce is TLD’s Operations Assistant. She is based in Southeast Michigan and loves cooking with cabbage all year round!

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