- Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves is suggestive of worm damage or decay that may reside in the inner core as well.
2. There should be only a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem. If not, it may be an indication of undesirable texture and taste.
3. Avoid buying precut cabbage, either halved or shredded, since once cabbage is cut, it often begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content.
4. WHFoods, encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and cabbage is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including cabbage.
In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells cabbage but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown cabbage is very likely to be cabbage that displays the USDA organic logo.
5. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep if stored this way for about 2 weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week.
6. If you need to store a partial head of cabbage, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Since the vitamin C content of cabbage can more quickly degrade once it has been cut, you should use the remainder within a couple of days.
Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating cabbage. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids are good examples of nutrients highly susceptible to heat, and for this reason, their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration