Savoy Cabbage

 By this time of the year, farmer’s markets are in full swing all over the country. One of the early favorites is Savoy cabbage. If there were a cabbage beauty contest, Savoy would win hands down! With dark green frilly and crinkled leaves, loosely bound around the small head, this cabbage is milder, sweeter, and more tender that its cousins. The Savoy variety seems to have been developed in the Savoy region of France in the western Alps along its borders with Italy and Switzerland. Because of the darker green of the leaves, this cabbage is higher in Beta carotene then either red or green head cabbage. As with all cruciferous vegetables, this cabbage is also very high in other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Peak Time:  Year round, but fresh from gardens in late spring, early summer, and fall

Average Price:   $1.13 per pound           

Tips for Selection and Storage: Choose cabbages that have a bright green color and are heavy for their size. The leaves should be soft and still be firmly attached to the stem. As cabbages age, the outer leaves tend to fall off. Avoid any cabbages with wilt or rust or have been excessively trimmed. Spring cabbages should be prepared within a day or two.  Store in the refrigerator until time to use. Do not rinse until ready to cook.

Tips for Preparation: You can rinse the cabbage lightly in cold running water. Savoy cabbage is tender if used raw and requires little cooking. If not grilled, Savoy cabbage is ideal for any kind of stuffed cabbage leaves since the leaves have a slight elasticity and can be easily rolled. It is also a great stuffing for egg rolls or sushi. Otherwise, it can be used as any other cabbage for dishes like soups, salads, or slaw. It can be braised, sautéed, stir fried, oven roasted, pickled, and, of course, grilled. Savoy cabbage pairs well with sweet onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, polenta, potatoes, and white beans.

Nutritional Highlights: Because of darker green color of Savoy cabbage, it is higher in vitamin A from Beta carotene. In addition to Beta carotene, this cabbage is rich in lutein and other phenolic compounds. These compounds in addition to a high amount of vitamin C, make Savoy cabbage an excellent source of antioxidants and other anti-cancer properties. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and very good source of vitamins B6, folate, and other B vitamins. It is a good source of calcium and magnesium. Because of the unusual webbing of the leaves, Savoy cabbage is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Because of nutrient and phytonutrient density of this cabbage it is anti-inflammatory, helps boost the immune system, improves digestion, protects your heart, lowers cholesterol, and maintains bone health.

For a recipe for grilled Savoy cabbage salad with buttermilk dressing, click here.