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Cabbage

Like sprouts, cabbage can be something that comes with a bad reputation, but this British veg is dirt cheap and can be prepped so many different ways with many different varieties that you can never write it off! Kids don’t like raw grated red cabbage mixed with carrots/apples and mayonnaise in coleslaw? Then try thinly sliced savoy or white cabbage braised in butter and stock or fried in oil and a little salt until soft and sweet. Still not sure? Why not cut thick “cabbage steaks” slices of white cabbage or cabbage wedges rubbed with oil and roasted until going golden? Or try curly or dinosaur kale, pak choi, or one of other many types of cabbage – there’s bound to be one everyone enjoys!
cabbage
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We’ve been growing cabbages for longer than almost any other vegetable. You can get red and white cabbages, found in coleslaw, Napa cabbage, usually found in Chinese cooking, pak choi, and savoy cabbages.

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Nutrition

Cabbage is a fantastic source of vitamins K, C and folic acid to support blood clotting, bone health and your immune system.

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Shopping Guide

Choose a fresh cabbage that is weighty for its size because it is a tough and dense vegetable. Try to pick a head that is small and has sturdy, compact leaves. While red cabbage should have richly hued purple leaves, green cabbage should have glossy, brilliant green leaves.

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Storage

Cabbage keeps for a while – just store it dry in the fridge for 1-2 months. Once cut, it will still last a few days, just wrap tightly or store in an airtight container.

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Preparation

Cabbage can be steamed, boiled, microwaved, stuffed, roasted, braised or stir-fried, and eaten pickled or fermented (sauerkraut) or raw in the form of salads or slaws (just mix with some mayonnaise or yoghurt, lemon juice and grated carrots and/or apples).

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Kids in the Kitchen

For a younger child, why not show them how to carefully grate cabbage and mix it with mayonnaise, grated carrots and apple, and perhaps some seasoning, lemon juice, herbs or raisins to make a yummy homemade slaw!

For an older child, it could be a great opportunity to teach some essential knife skills. Can they thinly slice the cabbage with your help using the bridge and claw techniques?

Find more ideas for involving kids in the kitchen here.

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Sensory

Cabbage is perfect for exploring with sight, especially red cabbage, since it is so visually fun! Describe a whole cabbage and one cut in half. What do you see? What colours are there? What patterns? What does it look like? If you feel up to trying some, take a little piece and chew it. If you are using red cabbage, stick your tongue out when you’ve swallowed – is your tongue purple yet? No? Then try again and see how purple you can go!

Find more sensory ideas, tips and videos here. If you get stuck and need a little help with describing words, we have a selection for you here, too!

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Serving

Made some coleslaw with your child? Let them claim all credit for the dish and come up with a fun name for it! Can they find a great pun or a play on their name or even a silly story for the slaw they’ve helped make?

Find the best ways of involving your own child and their skills and interests on our Roles for Kids page.

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Activities

Why not try sketching a red or Savoy cabbage that you have cut in half? Try to capture the amazing patterns and colours you see with colouring pencils, pens or paint!

Did you know red cabbage is a perfect PH indicator? Follow Stefan Gates’ video and tips to explore acidity and alkalinity with cabbage with his amazing colour-changing cabbage experiment. Or, explore the water-repelling abilities of red cabbage with his simple water-phobic cabbage experiment. You can find more at-home science fun with veg with our videos from Stefan Gates’ here.

Find loads more free veg-themed crafts here and games here.

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Seasonality

Buying veg in season is not only great for the planet, it can be good for your wallet, too! Cabbage is a year-round veg and always affordable, but different varieties are more likely to taste better and be a little cheaper at different times of year. Try spring cabbage in (you guessed it) springtime, white in summer, red in autumn and Savoy in the winter for the best of all the seasons.

At Its Best:

January - December

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Your Food

Different cabbage varieties have different flavours, but they are usually more on the bitter side and have a fairly hard texture, so if your child has those preferences, it could be a great place to start! It can easily just be grated with some carrots and/or apples and mixed with mayo for a slaw, but if you want more ideas, why not try some of these…

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Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

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Sausage and Mash

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Complexity: 1
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Pasta Bake

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
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Roast

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
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Shepherd’s Pie

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

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Stir Fry

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 1

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More Recipes

Zoe’s Savoy Cabbage Parcels

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 1

Zoe Griffiths

Aaron’s Savoy Cabbage with Chorizo & Rice

Effort: 3
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Aaron Craze

Angela’s Quick Veggie Pad Thai Style Noodles

Effort: 1
Complexity: 1
Cost: 2

Angela Malik

Saadia’s Summer Loving Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Effort: 3
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Saadia Noorani

Tom’s Minestrone Soup

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 2

Tom Kerridge

Amanda’s Italian Country Soup

Effort: 2
Complexity: 2
Cost: 1

Amanda Ursell

Cabbage

If You Like Cabbage…Try

Does your child enjoy cabbage? That’s great! Cabbage varieties can be very different from each other, but many are bitter and soft, so why not try a similar texture and/or taste…

The Wonderful World of Veg

Check out our vegepedia. When to buy in-season. How to store them to keep for longer. How to engage children with each veg, and simple ideas of how to prepare and cook them for maximum taste and minimum waste. Select a veg…

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