Napa Cabbage

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A common type of Cabbage that provides a mild flavor for a variety of salad and vegetable dishes. High in vitamin C with smaller amounts of calcium and fiber, this cabbage is predominantly grown in Asia and the United State. It is also a variety of Cabbage that medical experts regard highly for containing compounds known as indoles that have been associated with preventing some types of cancer. In the U.S. it is planted in California and Hawaii allowing it to be grown year round. There are two varieties typically available for purchase, the Che-foo variety and the Chihili variety. The Che-foo variety has a tall, more compact, head with many pale green-colored leaves. This variety may also be found with the name of Tokyo Giant, Tropical Pride or Wintertime. The Chihili variety has a very large head, which is more oblong shaped with leaves that are darker green in color. The Chihili Cabbage can be found under the names of Market Pride, Michihili or Shaho Tsai. Both varieties have fairly large leaves in comparison to other types of Cabbage or lettuce. Napa Cabbage is often used raw in salads and slaws. It can be cooked by boiling or steaming to be eaten as a side dish or as an ingredient added to various Asian dishes. It is also pickled with spices to make Kimchi. This Cabbage can be also be used as a substitute in any recipe that uses Cabbage.

Napa cabbage can be purchased throughout the year at most major food stores and specialty produce markets. When selecting, choose only the heads that are compact and firm, with fresh, crispy leaves that do not contain any blemishes or cracks and appear overly dry. The coloring of the leaves should reflect the variety being purchased. In general, the darker the green coloring of the leaves, the more flavorful the cabbage will be. Watch for cabbages that have flower sprouts at the end as this is an indication that the cabbage is older or not grown in the proper environment and should be avoided. Napa Cabbage can be stored in a plastic bag for 5 to 7 days in a refrigerator. Since it easily absorbs other odors, keep it wrapped securely to retain the best flavor. When you are ready to use, clean under running water, making sure to remove any excess water before using.

Napa cabbage is also known as Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Peking cabbage, Tientsin cabbage, hakusai, pe tsai, or wong bok.

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