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This stalwart vegetable is a member of a family that includes cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and many Oriental greens. There are loose–leaved and hearted varieties of cabbages. Loose–leaved cabbages tend to be green or tinged with red, and firm cabbages are red, white or green. Choose compact, heavy cabbages with crisp leaves, free of slime or insect holes. Discard any damaged outer leaves before use. Unless you intend to use them in a day or two, buy whole cabbages as the cut edges of half cabbages give off enzymes that cause them to deteriorate faster. White–hearted cabbages are good raw and shred easily; green wrinkly savoy cabbages can be eaten steamed or boiled as a vegetable. Cabbage can be grated finely and eaten raw in coleslaw or salads; it can be cooked in stir–fries, braised, steamed or added to soups. Cabbage leaves can be used to wrap fillings, or the whole cabbage can be stuffed and baked. Red cabbage, when shredded and cooked with onions, stock, red wine and vinegar, is a classic accompaniment to game and pork dishes. Cabbage is also shredded and salted to make sauerkraut. It should be rinsed and drained well before use to remove any excess salt.
Cabbage goes with—apple, bacon, garlic, ginger, ham, juniper, mustard, sausage, sesame