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 break down the large head in minutes!
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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 spicy taste, slight bitterness, and a hint of sweetness.
Historically cabbage only gets culinary appreciation when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around or you need a summer side dish. It’s the essential pairing for corned beef and cabbage 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 initially, but it’s pretty easy! Use this technique to break down the head of cabbage into halves and then wedges. From there, take it further to slice the cabbage into thin shreds.
You only need a large cutting board, damp paper towels or kitchen towel to secure the board from moving, a chef’s knife, or a mandoline for 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 large pieces for cabbage soups and stews, leave a small amount of the core intact to stay together. You can use these pieces for soups and braises.
Step 5: Slice the cabbage
Use a chef’s knife to cut the quarters into thinly sliced 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.
For long napa cabbage, 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 work best with thicker pieces, about ¼ to ½-inch thick.
Alternative Method: Mandolin
Use a mandolin for thin, even-sized shreds and set the desired thickness. Place the quartered piece flat side down. Use swiping movements to shred the cabbage quickly, 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
- Prepare the 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.
- Cut in Half – Securely hold, and carefully cut down through the stem to create two halves.
- Cut into Quarters – Place cut side down on the cutting board. Cut each cabbage half into quarters by cutting down through the stem.
- Remove the Core – 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.
- Slice the Cabbage – Use a chef's knife to cut the quarters into thinly sliced 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.
- Using a Mandoline: Set the desired thickness and place the quartered pieces 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.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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