Cabbage is a leafy vegetable staple with a 4,000 year history. It is enjoyed all over the world with over four hundred different varieties available. Some of the most common types of cabbage include the green cabbage, red cabbage and the Savoy cabbage. Napa cabbage and bok choy are two popular types of Chinese cabbage.
Green cabbage is one of the most easily recognizable types of cabbage. It has dark outer leaves with paler green inner leaves. Like all varieties of cabbage, green cabbage is high in vitamin C and it also has high levels of folate. Once purchased it can be stored for roughly one week. This type of cabbage can be used in making sauerkraut or coleslaw or it can be boiled or steamed.
Red cabbages are another of the more common types of cabbage. Prior to cooking its leaves typically range from a deep red to a purplish color. Once it is cooked the color changes into a blue shade unless it is prepared in some form of acid, such as vinegar. They are very similar to the green cabbages, however they are typically smaller and have a slightly sweeter taste.
Nutritionally, red cabbages have a large amount of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are the pigments that have a number of health benefits in addition to giving the cabbage its color. They are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and may also help fight certain types of cancer. Another benefit of eating red cabbage is that it contains twice as much vitamin C as other cabbages. It can be cooked in the same way as green cabbage.
Savoy cabbages have one of the highest amounts of beta-carotene in comparison to other types of cabbage. They are less crunchy than green and red cabbages, but they also have a milder and sweeter flavor. The outer leaves of the vegetable are larger and also have a blueish-green color. Its look also differs in that the leaves have a wrinkled or crinkly appearance. Cooked Savoy can be used to create dishes such as stuffed cabbage, while the raw Savoy can be used to make a cabbage salad.
Napa cabbage is a mild tasting Chinese cabbage that is high in calcium. It is also known as celery cabbage due to its taste, which is similar to that of celery. Unlike the red, green and Savoy cabbages, it has an oblong shape instead of a more rounded one. This type of cabbage is frequently used in stir-fries or even eaten raw.
Bok choy is another type of Chinese cabbage. Like the napa cabbage, it also has an oblong shape. The leaves however, are very similar in appearance to spinach leaves. A common way to cook bok choy is to steam or stir-fry it.