The cabbage family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white or green varieties with tightly packed leaves, to cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts as well as pak choi, popular in Asian cookery.
For loose-leaved varieties, remove old or damaged outer leaves, cut the leaves free of the core and slice out any tough central stalks. Rinse if necessary, then chop or slice. For tightly-packaged cabbages, strip the outer leaves in the same way, wash, then slice into quarters, cut out the hard central core on each one, then chop or shred. When cooking red cabbage, add a little vinegar to the water to stop the colour running. Boils in 4-6 minutes; steams in 4-8 minutes; stir fries in 2-4 minutes.
Loose leaved cabbages will keep in a cool, dark place for several days. Tight leaved varieties will last even longer.
Stir fry Savoy cabbage with garlic, ginger and chilli, plus a dash of soy sauce; slice green cabbage with carrots, toasted nuts, raisins and dress with olive oil and lemon juice for a salad; slice white cabbage and add to chopped ripe mango, red onion and walnut pieces, dressed with vinaigrette.