Uses for outer leaves of cabbage

ilene_in_neokMay 25, 2009

I've had to remove some of the outer leaves of the cabbage that is growing in my garden because they're shading out something else. Lots of the cabbage plants are heading up and there's one or two that might be ready to cut in a couple of weeks.

I kind of hate to put these big leaves in the compost. I've tasted one, and it's kind of strong, a hint of cabbage-like sweetness, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. But they're deep green and I'll bet they're just packed with vitamins and good things. Do any of you grow cabbage and use those big outer leaves for anything? Would they be OK steamed and cut in small pieces for soup, or would the bitterness remain and ruin the whole pot?

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Stuffed cabbage rolls are made with the large outside leaves. The cabbage leaves have to be cooked first to make them soft enough to roll, which may also take care of the bitterness.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Use a cleaver to make thin strips and pop into a veggie stir fry with fresh garlic, onions, whole radish plants, maybe some pea plants, etc. Can flavor with a bit of meat, soy sauce, sesame oil. Delish.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 6:28AM
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Here is a recipe for Dolmades except vine leaves but should work with cabbage leaves

Whenever I am in Cyprus I can't stop eating these. There's loads of different varieties - meaty, herby, veggie and these, which have sultanas and pine nuts. Serving them with the delicious tzatziki is essential.
1 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
125g/4½oz short-grain rice, rinsed and drained
50g/2oz sultanas
50g/2oz pine nuts, toasted
1 lemon, juice only
175ml/6fl oz water
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
handful of finely chopped fresh mint leaves and parsley
20 preserved vine leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the tzatziki
1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and coarsely grated
200ml/7fl oz Greek yoghurt
4 garlic cloves, crushed
handful of freshly chopped mint leaves
½ lemon, juice only
extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the shallots and garlic until soft. Add the rice, sultanas, pine nuts and lemon juice and fry for one minute. Season, then add the water.
2. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool.
3. Once the mixture is cool, add the spring onions, mint and parsley.
4. Rinse the vine leaves in water, then place them shiny side down on a board. Put about two teaspoons of the cooled stuffing on each leaf and roll into a tight parcel. Chill until ready to eat.
5. For the tzatziki, mix the cucumber with the yoghurt, garlic, mint, lemon juice and seasoning. Tip into a serving bowl and top with a dash of olive oil.
6. You can serve the dolmades either cold or warm (just heat them in a steamer). Put them on a large plate with the tzatziki in the middle and get stuck in.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:09PM
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OOOOOH! That sounds good!

Thanks, all, for your suggestions. --Ilene

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 2:01PM
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I peg them in the pot with potato, carrott and turnip peelings and it makes good soup once you have blended them. The peelings are high in fibre so they're good for your innards too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 7:51PM
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