Learn how to cut cabbage with this easy step-by-step guide. This crunchy cruciferous vegetable can be cut into wedges or shreds for fermented foods, salads, stir-fries, sauteed, boiled and braises. Use this simple technique to help breakdown the large head in minutes!
Cabbage is a member of the brassica family, the same as brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale. This economical leafy green comes in several varieties like red, green, napa, savoy and Chinese cabbage. When cut and cooked, it delivers a characteristic pungent taste, slight bitterness, and hint of sweetness.
Historically cabbage only gets culinary appreciation when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around or you need summer sidedish. It’s the essential pairing for corned beef and the base for a crunchy coleslaw. The crisp cruciferous cabbage leaves can be used for so much more! Kimchi and sauerkraut are notable favorites for fermented products. Cabbage can also be sauteed, used in a stir fry, braised, added to soups and eaten raw for salads for a nutritional boost.
How to cut cabbage
The large round or cylindrical head may seem intimidating to cut at first, but it’s actually quite easy! Use this technique to break down the head of cabbage into halves and then wedges. From there, take it another step further to slice the cabbage into thin shreds.
All you need is a large cutting board, damp paper towels or kitchen towel to secure the board from moving, chef’s knife, or a mandoline for super quick shreds. This is a great vegetable to practice your knife cutting skills!
Step 1: Preparation
Remove any tough outer leaves, especially if they are bruised, damaged, or eaten by insects. Rinse and dry the cabbage before cutting. If shredding, it can be washed using a salad spinner after.
Step 2: Cut in half
Identify the bottom stem of the cabbage. Securely hold, and carefully cut down through the stem to create two halves.
Step 3: Cut into quarters
Place the flat sides of the cabbage (cut side down) on the cutting board. Cut each half into quarters by cutting down through the stem.
Step 4: Remove the core
Flip the cabbage quarters over and carefully remove the thick core, which is tough to eat. If you are shredding with a mandolin or using the large pieces for soups and stews, leave a small amount of the core intact so that it stays together. You can use these pieces for soups and braises.
Step 5: Slice the cabbage
Use a chefs knife to cut the quarters into thinly sliced pieces. For long shreds, cut through the length of the cabbage and for shorter shreds, turn the long side facing towards you and cut through the width.
For long cabbage-like napa, make smaller shreds by cutting through the width into desired sizes. I like to cut ⅛ to ¼-inch thick slices for coleslaw. Stir-fries and sauteed cabbage works best with thicker slices, about ¼ to ½-inch thick.
Alternative Method: Mandolin
For thin, even-sized shreds, use a mandolin and set the desired thickness. Place the quartered piece flat side down. Use swiping movements to quickly shred the cabbage, but be careful not to cut your fingers as they get closer to the end of the wedge.
How to store cabbage
Store whole heads of cabbage loosely wrapped in plastic or in a plastic bag for about 5 to 7 days. Cut pieces can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 to 3 days as long as it has not been tossed in a dressing that contains salt. Do not wash cut cabbage until ready to use in a recipe.
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How to Cut Cabbage
- 1 head cabbage, green or red, savoy, or napa cabbage
- Remove any tough outer leaves, especially if bruised, damaged, or eaten by insects.
- Rinse and dry before cutting. If shredding, wash using a salad spinner after cutting.
- Securely hold, and carefully cut down through the stem to create two halves.
- Place cut side down on the cutting board. Cut each cabbage half into quarters by cutting down through the stem.
- Flip the quarters over and carefully remove the thick core with a knife. If shredding with a mandoline or using the large pieces for soups and stews, leave a small amount of the core intact so that it stays together.
- Use a chefs knife to cut the quarters into thinly slice pieces. For long shreds, cut through the length of the cabbage. For shorter shreds, turn the long side facing towards you and cut through the width of the vegetable. For long cabbage-like napa, make smaller shreds by cutting through the width into desired sizes.
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