Chinese cabbage is an amazing source of vitamins, nutrients, and bulk! So much is packed into the tight heads. I grow it basically because I love making and eating kimchi, but it also makes a great salad, as well as being excellent in simple yet saucy stir fries.
In season: You’ll find Chinese cabbage fresh from the field in fall and early summer. It also stores pretty well, so it can make appearances in early winter as well.
How we pick it: We simply harvest the entire head of course! However, the biggest, densest, healthiest heads are those that store the best. Holes, spots, loosely formed heads, and bugs can make a cabbage turn quickly in the storage room, so, we generally have slightly smaller cabbages in the fall, and larger ones as we pull from storage in the early winter.
Shelf life: Chinese cabbage doesn’t have the storage abilities of some European cabbages, but it is still a great keeper, lasting 1-2 months at most in your home refrigerator. For the longest shelf life at home, pat the cabbage dry if there is a lot of moisture on the leaves, and wrap lightly in a bag and keep in the crisper drawer. The outer leaves can diminish as they dehydrate in the cool conditions, so simply peel them off before use if you keep your cabbage more than a week or two.
How to prep: Remove any outer leaves that you don’t want to eat, and rinse the cabbage under cold water. Cut in half lengthwise, and cut out the small, dense core at the base. Then proceed to strip, slice, or chop according to your recipe.
Cook: I use Chinese cabbage to make kimchi; Slice very thin along with other vegetables and dress to make a fresh slaw; Use as the green in a fresh salad; “Flash cook” for using in stir fries, taking care not to over cook and turn the cabbage to mush; Use to make etherial cabbage rolls