In her biweekly column, Kitchen Basics, Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen demystifies essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos. Whether she's showing us how much brown sugar we're meant to "pack"(or is it cram?) into measuring cups or how to detect when our onions are properly caramelized, Susan is the nonna we never had -- until now. Now, go on and get cozy under her wing.
This week, Susan demonstrates how to core, shred, and chop cabbage.
Hardy, humble, and ever-giving, cabbage is like the loving grandmother that lives next door. It soothes the soul. Whether simmered in a soup, braised as a silky side, or tossed raw into salads, it's an affordable vegetable packed with vitamin C that makes for a great companion this time of year.
How to Select and Store Cabbage
Select a cabbage that feels heavy for its size and has crisp, tightly packed leaves. Carefully examine the stem end. If it’s cracked (a sure sign of aging), take a pass. The snug-fitting layers loosen when chopped, and yield much more than you might expect. Unless you need an ocean of cabbage, opt for heads that are small to medium sized. Cabbage can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Be sure to keep it wrapped tightly in plastic.
Note before we begin: The photos below depict the preparation of a green cabbage, but this method works for red and Napa cabbage, as well.
How to Core Cabbage
Remove the darker outer leaves.
Place the cabbage on a cutting board with the stem side up. Using a chef’s knife, slice it in half, lengthwise through the stem.
To remove the tough core, place each cabbage half on the cutting board face down, and cut in half (again, lengthwise through the core) to create four quarters total.
Place a cabbage quarter on the cutting board with both cut sides facing up. Position the cabbage quarter so the core is on the same side as your dominant hand, and then slice out the core, cutting away from you. Repeat with remaining cabbage quarters.
How to Shred Cabbage
Place one of the cored cabbage wedges on a cutting board with one of the two cut sides facing down. Starting at one end, slice across it every 1/4 of an inch, widthwise. Separate the cut strands by gently tossing them with your fingers. Repeat with remaining wedges.
How to Chop Cabbage
Place one of the cored cabbage wedges on a cutting board with one of the two cut sides facing down. Slice across the wedge in one-inch intervals lengthwise, holding the cabbage wedge together as you make each cut.
Rotate the wedge by 90 degrees and slice across it in one-inch interviews crosswise to create bite-sized pieces. Repeat with remaining wedges.
Susan's sautéed cabbage with bell peppers, carrots, and garlic
I’d love to see your tips for prepping cabbage! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.
Are you new to cooking? Tell me what skills you'd like to learn and your idea could be featured in an upcoming post!
Photos by Susan Pachikara
Want more basic tips from Susan? Check out her previous post: Kitchen Basics: Prepping Citrus.
Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest.
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