Plenty of fresh, locally grown produce is showing up at farmers markets and in grocery stores. Among the greens now available is napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage.
Part of the Brassica family that includes close cousin bok choy, napa cabbage originated in China. It is often used in Asian cooking, including in kimchi, the spicy Koran side dish similar to cole slaw.
Napa cabbage has thin, crinkly, broad, cream-colored leaves with celadon green tips. Select firm, tight heads with crisp leaves and that seem heavy for their size, suggests “The New Food Lover’s Companion” from Barron’s. It keeps, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.
Napa cabbage’s leaves can handle most cooking methods from grated raw, baked, braised, stir-fried, sautéed or spiced and pickled. Remove the center core when preparing.
Napa cabbage is a good source of potassium, folic acid and vitamin A. It contains small amounts of calcium, fiber and vitamin C.