Hello! Thanks for heading to my cabbage patch. Cabbage is a super vegetable that’s loaded with terrific vitamins and minerals. It can be eaten raw or cooked. You’ll be surprised how good we taste. What are you waiting for? Grab a cabbage today and enjoy our superpowers.
Like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, we are a member of the Brassica family. There are lots of us in the cabbage family, so let me tell you about us. We come in different colours and shapes, which makes us fun to eat. We each have a different flavour. Our heads can be firm or loose leafed; we’re mostly round; and we range in colour from white to green to purple red. Wombok, also known as Chinese cabbage, belongs to the Brassica family but comes from a different branch of the family.
We're available all year depending on our variety. But most plentiful and good value between March to November.
We're sold by type rather than by a named variety.
Some people call us a drum-head cabbage. We are the most common kind in Australia. We’re round like a soccer ball with smooth tightly packed green leaves. We are also available in a miniature variety.
We’re an eye-catching vibrant red to purple cabbage, which makes us easy to recognise. We’re round and tightly packed crunchy leaves. We have a slightly peppery flavour than other cabbage varieties.
Yes, we have an unusual name and are also known as Chinese cabbage. As I said earlier, we are from a different branch of the family. We have a long oblong shape and range from pale green to light yellow and white. We have a crinkly, crisp leaves and crunchy stems that are all edible.
We’re a large ball-shaped cabbage with crinkly leaves that range from light green to bluish/green. The outer leaves are the deepest colour.
As I've mentioned we're rounded plants which have large, spreading, green leaves at our base. In the centre, our head consists of smaller leaves which tightly enclose each other around our core, which is the top end of our main stem comprising many branches.
We're usually planted as seedlings at any time from spring to late autumn. We require lots of water for good growth and can be grown anywhere as long as the soil is rich and firmly packed, so we don't fall over when we grow bigger. The faster we grow the more tender and sweeter we'll be. We need about two cool months in which to mature.
When we're harvested, we're cut off at ground level by hand just leaving behind our stalk and outer leaves. We're never grown in the same soil two years in a row as we can easily get a disease called ‘club root' which affects our growth.
Select those of us that are solid and heavy for our size. Our leaves should be crisp, compact, and bright in colour. Avoid any with brown spots or yellow leaves.
Whole cabbages will keep in a cool, well-ventilated place for 2 weeks. Cover cut cabbage in plastic wrap or place into an airtight container. Store in the veggie crisper in your fridge and use within 2-3 days.
Cabbages, as you know us today, originated from the wild cabbage which is found in England, Europe and the Mediterranean. Red and white cabbages, similar to modern cabbages, were grown in Germany in the 12th century. Savoy types were developed later being first recorded in Germany in the middle of the 16th century.
Whether fresh or pickled, we were an extremely important staple winter vegetable in cold climates when nothing else was available.
Sir Joseph Banks, following his return from his travels with Captain Cook, ensured our seeds were sent to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. This shipment included large quantities of several branches of our family and in 1788 the earliest maturing varieties were planted on Norfolk Island. By the 1830's we were Australia's favourite vegetable and large quantities of us were sold at the Sydney Markets.
Chinese cabbage was recorded as early as the 5th century. As in the colder areas of Europe, Chinese cabbage formed an important part of the Chinese population's winter diet. Since then, many different varieties have been developed resulting in the Chinese cabbage family we know today.
Introduced into Japan in the mid-19th century, and to the USA later in the 19th century, Chinese cabbage probably first came to Australia during the 1800s with the Chinese workers headed for the gold fields.
As I said earlier, we can be eaten raw or cooked. Trim the base and remove any tough outer leaves. Remove the hard core from the centre, then chop or shred the leaves.
Shred fresh cabbage and add to your coleslaw and salads. It’s a great idea to use a colourful mix of red and green cabbage!
Use wombok leaves instead of lettuce to serve with a San choy bow.
Rapid cooking like steaming, microwaving, stir-frying or pan-frying brings out its sweetness and helps keep its colour and crunch.
Add shredded cabbage to hearty winter soups.
Whole cabbage leaves can also be stuffed and gently cooked.
Try some of these easy Sydney Markets cabbage recipes: