Cabbage

Table of Contents

Introduction

New York is well known for its maple syrup, its dairy products, its apples, and its farm-based beverages, but the cabbage industry here is huge and it sometimes doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves. As a grower, cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables to grow. The value-added products that are produced by New York cabbages can be seen on tables across the globe throughout the year. - Richard A. Ball, Commissioner, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets

 

Cabbage—a perfect match boiled with corned beef, the obvious choice as coleslaw for a BBQ plate. This cruciferous vegetable can be overlooked given its relegated role as a sidekick side dish. Cabbage is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. However, cabbage has an impressive lineup of star qualities that can, and should, put this humble vegetable front and center. Its year-round accessibility, versatility in preparation, notable nutritional value, and excellent storage qualities make it an easy choice for institutions purchasing local New York grown produce. 

New York Grown Food Guides offer information and resources to support institutions in identifying, sourcing, and procuring local foods from the state. The Guides, along with the Farm to Institution New York State Local Food Buyer Learning Center toolkits, equip food service and procurement staff with education and training to incorporate local products into meals to improve the health of New Yorkers and local economies statewide. 

Crunch on This: Cabbage Facts

 

Cabbage belongs to the Cruciferae family of vegetables, along with broccoli, collards, kale and Brussels sprouts. Three major types include Brassica oleracea (green and red) and Savoy. The two most common types of Chinese cabbage are Bok Choy and Napa cabbage.

  • New York is one of the largest producers of cabbage (second only to California) with 10,000+ acres harvested. 3
  • New York produces 14.7% of the United States’ total production of cabbage, totaling 3,445,000 units. 4
  • Cooler climates, such as New York’s Finger Lakes and Western regions, lead to an ideal environment for cabbage production. 
  • Of the 100 varieties of cabbage grown throughout the world, more than 30 varieties are harvested in New York. Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables in existence and continues to be a dietary staple throughout the world. 5
  • Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in phytochemicals, which help boost the immune system and lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

While low in calories and consisting of roughly 90% water, cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse that is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6, and folate; and a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, tryptophan, protein, and magnesium. 6

Vitamin C

One cup of shredded raw cabbage contains 190% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. Red cabbage has more vitamin C than green or savoy cabbage. 

Fat & Fiber

Cabbage has virtually no fat. One cup of shredded raw cabbage contains 50 calories and 5 grams of dietary fiber. 

 

Vitamin K

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K. One cup (150 grams) of shredded, boiled cabbage contains 91% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K. 

Phytochemicals

Cabbage and its relatives (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) are rich sources of phytochemicals, naturally-occurring plant chemicals that may protect people against some forms of cancer. 

Availability, Pack Sizes, Varieties, Grading and Quality Characteristics

Cabbage is available nearly year-round—11 months out of the year! It is harvested in summer to fall, sold fresh-cut until December, then available from cold storage until May or June. Specifically, it’s harvested twice in New York. The early summer harvest yields tender cabbages perfect for slaws and salads. The second fall harvest yields tight, dense cabbage heads that have an excellent storage life.


The selection and procurement of quality cabbage depends on a variety of factors, including knowledge of pack sizes, cabbage varieties, and how to determine quality characteristics for each variety. The information below identifies common varieties of cabbage, as well as selection criteria and storage best practices.

Common Varieties

Illustrations of three cabbage varieties: green, red, and savoy

Grades

  • U.S. No. 1
  • U.S. Commercial

 

Quality Characteristics

When selecting cabbage, look for:

  • Solid, firm, clean, and heavy heads
  • Napa cabbage heads will be lighter and softer with more air between leaves
  • Heads that are not withered, puffy, or burst
  • Cabbage should be free from soft rot, seed stems, discoloration/browning, and damage caused by insects or machines
  • Stems should be cleanly cut so that they do not extend more than one-half inch beyond the point of attachment of the outermost leaves
  • 3-4 wrapper leaves covering each head

Packaging Requirements for Cabbage

Green and Red Savoy Napa

2,000 lb bulk bins

40 lb 1 3/4 bushel crates 80 to 85 lb crates
1,000 lb bulk bins   45 to 54 lb crates
50 to 60 lb flat crates   50 to 53 lb carton
50 lb 1 3/4 bushel crates/cartons/bags    
45 lb cartons    
40 lb cartons/bags    

Boyette, M., Sanders, D.C., and Rutledge, G.A. 1996. Packaging Requirements for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables AG-414-08.
North Carolina State Extension. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/packaging-requirements-for-fresh-fruits-and...

Pack Sizes

ITem Pack
Cabbage, Green 10 pounds / 3-4 count
Cabbage, Green 50 pounds / 24 count
Cabbage, Red 45 pounds / 17-22 count
Cabbage, Savoy 45 pounds / 17-20 count

 

Storage

  • Cabbage can be stored for up to 5 months
  • Ideal temperature held at 32°F
  • Ideal humidity at 98%
  • Leave outer wrapper leaves intact to ensure protection of inner leaves and retention of moisture
  • Do not wash cabbage before storing and until ready to use
  • Wrap partially used heads tightly in fridge
  • Minimize bruising or damaging of heads to retain intact cells and retain vitamin C content

“From Asparagus to Zucchini” by Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, CCF staff.
https://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/cabbage-using-storing

Distributors: New York Regional and Specialty

Below you will find information to obtain local produce, including New York cabbage. Distributor contact information is subject to change, and we encourage you to reach out to vendors directly to confirm availability and ordering procedures.

Cabbage Sources

Full Service (Broadline) Distributors

Sysco Syracuse (315-672-7000 or 800-736-6000)
Sysco Albany (518-877-3200)
US Foods
Ginsberg Foods Inc. (518-828-4004 or 800-999-6006)
Latina Boulevard Foods (716-656-8400)
Thurston Foods (1-800-982-2227)
Carlo Masi Sons and Daughters (315-797-7303 or 1-800-908-6516)
Renzi Foodservice (315-788-5610 or 1-800-633-4311)
Maplevale Farms (716-355-4357 or 1-800-632-6328)

USDA GAP AND GHP CERTIFIED FARMS

New York Grown & Certified Producers

Business Address Phone URL
Amos Zittel & Sons, Inc.

3275 Webster Rd,

Eden, NY 14057

715-649-6347 www.zittels.com
Black Horse Farms, Inc.

155 Fountain Flats Rd. 

Coxsackie, NY 12051

518-731-8776 www.blackhorsefarms.com
CY Farms

6465 Transit Rd.

Elba, NY 14426

585-548-2552 www.cyfarms.com
Emmi & Sons, Inc.

1482 West Genesee Rd.

Baldwinsville, NY 13027

315-635-3987 www.emmifarms.com
Kirby's Farm Market

9739 Ridge Rd.

West Brockport, NY 14420

585-589-9219 www.kirbysfm.com
Lagoner Farms

6954 Tuckahoe Rd. 

Williamson, NY 14589

585-319-0993 www.lagonerfarms.com
Lynn-Ette & Sons, Inc.

1512 Kent Rd.

Kent, NY 14477

585-682-4435 www.lynnettefarms.com
Pedersen Farms

1798 County Road 4

Seneca Castle, NY 14547

315-781-0482 www.pedersenfarms.com
Piedimonte Farms

88 Cadbury Way

Holley, NY 14470

585-509-9923 www.piedimontefarm.com
Robert O. Davenport & Sons

2100 Hurley Mountain Rd. 

Kingston, NY 12401

845-389-3800 www.rondoutvalleygrowers.org
Robinson Farms

3681 North Ridge Rd. 

Lockport, NY 14094

716-622-0458  
Russell Farms

2206 Hess Rd.

Appleton, NY 14008

716-778-8231  
Shaul Farms, Inc. 

3436 State Route 30

Fultonham, NY 12071

518-827-5750 www.shaulfarms.com
Brightly Farms LLC

1765 Redman Rd.

Hamlin, NY 14464

585-964-8756 www.brightlyfarms.com
Eden Valley Growers

7502 N. Gowanda State Rd. 

Eden, NY 14057

716-992-9721 www.edenvalleygrowers.com
Juliano Farm Market & Greenhouses & Bakery

2365 State Rt. 5 

Utica, NY 13502

315-723-0022 www.facebook.com/ JulianoFarmsLLC

https://certfied.ny.gov/wheretobuy

A program of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York State Grown & Certified seal indicates that the farms your products come from have been inspected for safe food handling and environmental stewardship. The label lets you know your food was grown right, right here in New York State. Buying New York State Grown & Certified products not only supports local farms, it supports local jobs and local economies. For more information: www.certified.ny.gov

Preparation Suggestions and Recipes

Preparation Ideas

  • Shred cabbage finely for tossing raw into salads.

  • Boiling and overcooking cabbage releases a sulphuric odor that can be off-putting to diners. Lightly steam or sauté cabbage for best results.

  • Steam cabbage wedges, top with butter, salt and pepper, and grated cheese. For a sweet and savory version, omit cheese and drizzle with honey.

  • Make a version of the traditional Irish “bubble-and-squeak”: sauté cabbage shreds with onion and combine with mashed potatoes.

  • Combine cabbage into slaws, soups, tacos, stir-frys, and salads.

  • Make “quick” sweet and sour refrigerator pickled cabbage (curtido) as a side dish to BBQ meats, burgers, tacos, or pupusas.

 

Recipes

Dutch Red Cabbage with Apples

Cooking Time

30 min

Serving

2/3 cup

Yield

12 servings, 3 lbs (2 qts.)

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp.
  • Onion, yellow, thinly sliced, 1 3/4 c. (7 oz.)
  • Cabbage, red, core removed, sliced, 1/4 inch, 3 quarts (29 oz.)
  • Cider vinegar, 1/4 c.
  • Sugar, white, 1/4 c.
  • Apples, fresh, skin-on, sliced 1/4 inch, 13 oz.
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon, ground, 1/4 tsp
  • Cloves, ground, 1 pinch

Directions

  1. Heat a large stock pot, steam jacket kettle, or tilt skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and sliced onions. Cook, stirring until softened (around 3 minutes).
  2. Add sliced red cabbage. Stir into the onions and continue to cook, covered for approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Add cider vinegar, sugar, and sliced apples. Stir apples into the cabbage. Cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes (stir every 5 minutes). 
  4. Stir in salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Continue to cook until cabbage and apples are tender yet still retain their shape.

1 serving provides: 

CACFP: 1/2 cup Vegetable, 1/4 cup Fruit

NSLP: 1/2 cup Other Vegetable, 1/4 cup Fruit

SFSP: 1/2 cup Vegetable, 1/4 cup Fruit

Recipe provided courtesy of Oregon Harvest for Schools (funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP).

Didi's Healthy Ginger Slaw

Serving

1/2 cup

Yield

100 servings (K-5), 50 cups

Ingredients

  • Carrots, peeled and grated (or small dice in buffalo chopper), 6 large (1 lb.)
  • Cabbage, red, sliced thin (or chopped in buffalo chopper), 2 medium heads (3 3/4 lbs.)
  • Cabbage, green, sliced thin (or chopped in buffalo chopper), 2 medium heads (4 lbs.)
  • Onions, red, sliced very thin, 2 medium (1/2 lb.)
  • Sugar, white, 3/4 cup
  • Vinegar, white, 3 2/3 cups
  • Vegetable oil, 3/4 cup
  • Ginger, fresh, minced, 2/3 cup
  • Garlic, minced, 3 Tbsp.
  • Salt, 1/2 Tbsp.
  • Pepper, ground, 1 1/2 Tbsp.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, cabbage, and onions. Mix well. 
  2. Make dressing by combining the sugar, vinegar, oil, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

The slaw is best made right before service, but if made the day ahead, don't add the salt until ready to serve. Also, just before serving, it is important to toss and taste for seasoning. 

This recipe is kid-proof. I've given this to hundreds of kids without a hitch. Don't skimp on the ginger - that is the secret to it's success. Try this with any sandwich or wrap, even tacos. 

Recipe provided courtesy of Project Bread's "Let's Cook: Healthy School Meals Cookbook."

Polish Golumpki Soup

Cooking Time

30-45 min

Serving

1/2 cup

Yield

50 servings

Ingredients

  • Oil oil, 10 Tbsp.
  • Beef, ground, 10 lbs.
  • Garlic, minced, 10 cloves
  • Onion, yellow, diced, 5 each
  • Cabbage, green, shredded, 2 heads
  • Tomatoes, crushed, 200 fl oz. (2 10-lb cans)
  • Beef stock, 10 cups
  • Water, 25 cups (6.25 quarts)
  • Rice, white, 5 cups
  • Basil, dried, 4 Tbsp
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup
  • Pepper, cayenne, 1 1/2 tsp
  • Pepper, black, and salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil. Add beef and cook until browned.
  2. Add garlic, onions, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, basil, Worcestershire sauce. Stir until combined. 
  3. Add cabbage and tomatoes, stir until wilted.
  4. Add stock, water, and rice. Stir until combined. 
  5. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer.
  6. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes until cabbage is tender. 

Recipe provided courtesy of FoodCorps Massachusetts and Massachusetts Farm to School's "Serving Up Tradition: A Guide for School Food in Culturally Diverse Communities."

Rainbow Salad with Lemony Dressing

Serving

1/2 cup

Yield

18 servings

Ingredients

  • Cabbage, red, shredded, 1 cup
  • Cabbage, green, shredded, 1 cup
  • Carrots, shredded, 1 cup
  • Beets, red, shredded, 1 cup
  • Beets, yellow, shredded, 1 cup
  • Greens, kale or collards, 8 cups
  • Apples, red, 2 each (3" diameter)
  • Lemon-Honey dressing, 18 servings

Lemon-Honey Dressing

  • Extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 cup
  • Lemon juice, 6 Tbsp
  • Honey, 2 Tbsp
  • Pepper, black, to taste
  • Salt, 1/8 tsp

Directions

  1. Whisk to combine all dressing ingredients.
  2. Cut apples into matchsticks, cover with 2 ounces of lemon juice.
  3. Toss vegetables together. Drain lemon juice from apples and add to vegetable mixture.
  4. Toss vegetables and apples with lemon-honey dressing.

This colorful salad is a school favorite, and it is versatile and can be made in batches. Using a Robot Coupe with the julienne attachment would save a lot of time and labor depending on serving size. Choosing processed products (shredded cabbage and match-stick carrots) can also shave off preparation time.

Recipe provided courtesy of Monroe Public Schools and Washington State Department of Agriculture Farm to School Program.

Case Study: Cabbage in the Classroom

For Newcomb Central School’s January Harvest of the Month feature on cabbage, Food Service Director Dave Hughes collaborated with Meghan Brooks of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County to bring cabbage into the classroom with a lesson on the production process behind sauerkraut. Cabbage was procured from Juniper Hill Farm, shredded at the Hub on the Hill, and then brought into the seventh and eighth grade science classroom. Meghan’s lesson was designed to incorporate a scientific understanding into the food students were going to be eating, with the goal of increasing the likelihood that students will taste the sauerkraut when it is served in their school lunch. When talking about the sauerkraut curriculum, Meghan says, “I wanted to show the students the science behind fermentation. ‘This is what happens, this is how a simple vegetable can turn into a vegetable full of probiotic goodness that’s good for you in all these different ways,’ making it a little more tangible for students.” 

Group of people making sauerkraut in a classroom

Sample Curricula

Meghan’s lesson covered fermentation, how the process works, the history of the method, and what fermented products other than sauerkraut students might be seeing and eating regularly. Students then put all their new science into practice by making sauerkraut together, which was then brought back to the Hub on the Hill for monitoring during the fermentation time. Once ready, Meghan will bring the sauerkraut back to Newcomb Central School for a tasting and sensory analysis – incorporating the entire process into curriculum. Both Meghan and Dave cite their shared enthusiasm for farm to school, existing working relationship, cooperation from teachers at Newcomb, and the resources made available by local farms and the Hub on the Hill as the main contributing factors for successfully bringing farm to school into the classroom.

Photo of two people weighing cabbage for sauerkraut

Endnotes

  1. https://www.nasda.org/news/new-york-agriculture-commissioner-highlights-... New York: Agriculture Commissioner Highlights the Cabbage Industry as One of the Unsung Heroes of New York Agriculture Press Release—05/04/2015, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
  2. https://www.nasda.org/news/new-york-agriculture-commissioner-highlights-... New York: Agriculture Commissioner Highlights the Cabbage Industry as One of the Unsung Heroes of New York Agriculture Press Release—05/04/2015, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Agriculture Statistics Services (NASS) Vegetables Annual Summary. March 21, 2019
  4. 2017–2018 New York Agricultural Statistics Annual Bulletin. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/New_York/ Publications/Annual_Statistical_Bulletin/2018/2017-2018%20NY%20Annual%20Bulletin.pdf
  5. http://www.wafarmtoschool.org/ToolKit/15/cabbage/Facts
  6. http://www.wafarmtoschool.org/ToolKit/15/cabbage/Facts
  7. https://cedarcirclefarm.org/tips/entry/cabbage-all-about-it

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