Try Them All
American markets sell just a few of the more than 400 varieties of cabbage. Green cabbage is peppery when raw, but cooking mellows its flavor. Red or purple cabbage is less tender and will add a bit of color to your recipe. Savoy cabbage has supple leaves that work well for longer cooking times, while sweet Napa cabbage is ideal for eating raw in salads. (See “The Delicate Side of Cabbage: How to Use Napa and Savoy Cabbages” for more.)
Shop and Store
Look for cabbages that feel heavy and compact for their size, and avoid those with visible blemishes. It’s OK if a few of the outer leaves are slightly wilted, but the inner leaves should be bright and crisp. Be sure the leaves aren’t starting to separate from the stem — this is a sign of age. Store in the crisper drawer of your fridge, where it will keep for up to two months.
Keep the Core
Sure, you can compost your cabbage scraps, but you can also save the core, which is edible. It will take longer to cook because it’s tougher and denser than the leaves. Cut the core from a head of cabbage and dice it into bite-size pieces, then add it to your next braise or stir-fry for an extra dose of nutrients, including vitamins C and K and soluble fiber.