Friday, 21 March 2014

The Humble Cabbage Should be Among a Frugaler's Best Friends

In Honour of the Humble Cabbage

Common white cabbage
As I'm struggling to manage my time in a way that includes daily 'Making it in March' blog posts, I thought I would update this morning to include something I often overlook... cabbage!
I always make the most of a cabbage and can recommend this to absolutely everyone, even those who think they don't like it.
Last night's dinner was chicken fajitas but I was completely out of peppers, so our tortillas weren't looking like being very well filled. But fear not! Frugalers improvise, don't they?

Bring on the humble cabbage!

I shredded some cabbage and cooked it with onions then added that to the frying chicken pieces with spicy mix. Wrapped in warm tortillas and served with cheese and salsa, H didn't even notice that the peppers were missing, nor did he notice he was eating cabbage until I pointed out the replacement ingredient.
From one who never ate cabbage as a child - eugh, soggy cabbage! - I have found so many uses for it in my adult life that I simply don't know how I would manage without the humble cabbage now! It's a bit of a lifesaver for this frugal household! It's relatively cheap, it's relatively easy to grow, I think we should invest much more effort into growing it and other close relatives of the Brassica family. In fact, I have grand ideas for the 2014 green garden!
Cabbage scraps

Cabbage scraps can be cooked and fed to the chickens, added to compost, fed to the worms and even used to grow more cabbage.

Stir frying cabbage

Stir fried as a replacement for peppers in an assortment of dishes including chow mein and fajitas.

End off a red cabbage in a jar of water

Try your own experiment - I have a red cabbage and a white cabbage now 'rerooting' to begin growing new leaves. They may never be full side but they are edible.

The red cabbage rooted and growing
Even if you don't eat the leaves, these are fantastic experiments for children to encourage an interest in vegetable growing (and eating).
Stuffed cabbage leaves

Instead of cannelloni, how about trying rolling some of the mix inside cabbage leaves. A you can see, you can cut the leaves or stuff them whole.

Cooking the cannelloni with stuffed cabbage leaves

Cabbage and cheese? Yes! I stuffed my cabbage raw and baked it with the cannelloni to show the difference. H ate the small one without realising it was cabbage. (He does like cabbage, I'm not deploying any guerrilla food tactics here, but if I was... I'd be winning any war.)

A Few More Cabbage Suggestions:

  • Raw, fine shredded with grated carrot and salad cream as frugal coleslaw
  • Stuffed and baked with any suitable filling
  • Sushi style with rice
  • Used in place of pasta sheets in lasagne style dishes
  • Used in place of peppers in stir fry
  • Use in place of aubergine/egg plant in moussaka-style dishes
  • Cabbage can be baked, steamed, boiled or fried
  • Made into soup
  • Braised red cabbage - it freezes well
  • Pickled cabbage
Traditional Remedies:

  • Juice of red cabbage used for chronic coughs, bronchitis, asthma.
  • Juice of white cabbage used to treat warts.
  • Bruised leaves of white cabbage used for blisters and inflammation.
  • Applied warm (wrapped in a towel) to chest during bronchitis, cough, or breathing problems
  • Used as poultice - I have actually used cabbage poultice on a horse's foot
  • As a dietary aid (anyone remember the wacky cabbage soup diet?)
Let me know if you can think of any other uses for cabbage. I may have overlooked some but the above are those I am aware of and have tried.


  1. done the wacky gassy cabbage soup diet, actually enjoy veggie soup with lots of cabbage in it!!!

    1. I used to hate cabbage but now I'm turning into a real pro-cabbage campaigner. LOL

  2. Re growing cabbage. That's brilliant! My great nephew will love that - and it's big enough for littlies to see properly!

    1. Mine is in a tin can but if you put it over a glass jar, the children can watch for the roots growing, too. My grand daughter is now growing a peanut and has an apple pip and a peach stone that have been growing for over 5 years. We're going to try a pineapple this year. :)

  3. I have one small red cabbage left fom my plot - I am savouring it, saving it up, but probably have it this Sunday.

    Don't forget another use for cabbage leaves - put in fridge, then use whole leaves when necessary as a bra liner when necessary for sore boobs/ breast feeding - I can vouch for this one although I can only just remember as it was a fair few years ago!

    1. Oh, I had forgotten about the relief derived from cooled cabbage leaves and tender areas during post-baby recuperation. Quarter of a century ago for me! LOL Thanks for that. :)

  4. I LOVE red cabbage braised with apples and raisins and a little balsamic vinegar. And one red cabbage goes A Very Long Way so yes, I freeze it too.

    1. I have one carton left in the freezer, friend makes big batch at Christmas and shares it with me. Yours sounds good enough to sweeten into mincemeat style pies! :)

  5. ROASTED!!! Sorry for shouting but it is freaking amazing with a little olive oil and black pepper. After all cabbages are just giant brussel sprouts :-) ~ Pru

  6. Thanks I got Cabbage Today and will use a lot.
    Here in Australia I paid $4.50 for one large but 1 kg of beef mince in supermarket is $6.00
    (I do not eat meat) .
    Take care and I love visiting your blog so much to learn and your life is so interestin.

    1. Hi Saffron, I am not sure of the exchange rate but will find out soon! Planning on attempting to grow my own again but have never managed to succeed at this because of the butterflies. Maybe I will invest in better netting this year, but have to ask myself if it's more frugal to simply buy the cabbages while on offer then chop, Blanche and freeze them.

  7. I blooming love cabbage. Cook a few odds and ends of bacon into small pieces until crispy, chuck in the chopped cabbage, teaspoon of sugar and splotch of apple cider vinegar. Omg, fabbo.

    1. Haven't tried it sweetened, normally it's done with the bacon and potatoes with black pepper here. And I forgot about bubble & squeak! :)

  8. That's another one I haven't tried. Tonight we are having ours with mince and dumplings. :)

  9. Believe it or not my kids used to love cabbage rolls (flavoured rice wrapped in cabbage leaves) when they were little, I think it must be the fact that they're little parcels.

    I love cabbage too, mainly in salads and stir-fries.


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