What Is Savoy Cabbage?

What is Savoy Cabbage?

 

With the popularity of so many cooking shows, these days, this has become a very popular question.  What is savoy cabbage?  More importantly, why are so many of the top chefs and cooks using it? Let’s get those questions answered.

savoy cabbage

Despite its rough looking exterior, the Savoy cabbage is tender and sweet tasting.

Let’s start with the appearance. As you can see from the picture, savoy cabbage has a very distinctive look. The highly contrasting shades of green, combined with the the deeply crinkled texture of the leaves, make savoy cabbages very appealing to the eye. 
 
Some may look at these rough looking leaves and assume that they are tough and hard, even more so than the common, green cabbage that most people are used to, but they would be wrong.
 
 
 

But that brings to one of the many traits that makes savoy cabbage so popular with cooks and chefs.

Despite this rough appearance, the leaves of the savoy cabbage are tender, even when eaten raw. This makes them an ideal choice for salads, vegetable wraps, or as a bed for rice, fish, or other dishes. This in sharp contrast to the leaves of “green”  or “red”cabbages, that are hard and rubbery. Their only real use, in the raw state, is in making coleslaw. Even then, the texture can be too tough for many people to enjoy. On the other hand, savoy cabbage can make a tastier, and much more tender coleslaw.
 
As a side note, the terms “green” and “red” cabbage, refer to specific types of cabbages. Green cabbage is the typical hard, rubbery cabbage that most people are familiar with. Red cabbage is also fairly common. It is also hard and rubbery, with a slightly bolder flavor, than the green, and is most often used for the color contrast, rather than for the flavor. These are both high in many nutritional factors. Unfortunately, due to their texture and taste, people use them sparingly in their raw state. They become more tender, and less bitter tasting, when cooked, but they lose a lot of nutritional value in the process. 
 
 

Savoy Cabbage is a milder and sweeter alternative to green or red cabbage cabbage

While the tenderness is a huge factor in the appeal of savoy cabbages, over other forms of cabbage, its taste is another reason for its popularity. The green and red cabbages have a slightly bitter taste, which some describe as peppery. Savoy cabbage, by comparison, is milder and sweeter, making it not only a good fit in salads, but also a much preferred alternative in just about any recipe that includes cabbage. 

 

 The nutritional and health benefits of savoy cabbage

Like the rest of the cabbage family, savoy cabbage has high nutritional value. It is very low in calories, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is a good source of dietary fiber, and protein. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as: Thiamine (B-1), folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper, phosphorous, and copper. They are also an excellent source of both Vitamins K and C. Each of the different types of cabbage have high nutritional value, as well as tremendous antioxidant and disease combating properties. These properties make cabbage one of the worlds healthiest foods.

 

Savoy cabbage is the most tender and sweet a variety of cabbage

As mentioned above, its tender leaves, and sweet taste, make it an ideal choice to eat raw in salads. These qualities also make it the preferred option in most recipes that include cabbage. In addition to its taste and texture, on the other highly beneficial trait is that it lacks the sulfur-like odor that most people, who have cooked cabbage, are more than familiar with. This makes Savoy cabbage the perfect choice of cabbage for cooking, as well.

 

 

 


Comments

What Is Savoy Cabbage? — 57 Comments

  1. I think it is a very cool looking cabbage, almost alien like. Other people describe the savoy cabbage as “pretty”. In any case, it definitely stands out. :)

  2. I was born in Europe and seen my Grandma cook with it all the time,it’s delicious… I can’t imagine my cooking without it,just ask my ex and my sons…It is more expensive here in States than green cabbage,and not available in every store,but if you can find it,buy it and enjoy it,it’s worth it… :)

    • Oh, very nice. :) I think most people here in the states were not that fortunate. We grew up with the green cabbage, since it was so abundant. I know that I was not a big fan. Savoy cabbage is so much tastier.

      I agree, if you can find it, buy it….or grow it yourself if you have the right climate and a green thumb. :)

  3. Thanks for the information. I am making vegetable soup tonight and couldn’t find any regular cabbage that looked good. So, I picked up a head of savoy cabbage.

  4. I am making stuffed cabbage rolls for dinner and have always used the green cabbage. I had to almost cook the cabbage well done before it was stuffed and even afterward the rib was always tough which made the roll fall apart when it was cut. I am super anxious to try the savoy cabbage. I have read that it is more tender and sweeter than the bitter, tough green cabbage. Can’t wait to try this cabbage in the stuffed rolls recipe.

    • I’m sure that you will enjoy it a lot more using the Savoy cabbage. :) There really is a big difference between the Savoy and the tough and bitter green cabbage.

    • Being raised by my grandparents, lived in Hungarian community. Green cabbage in the 40′s and 50′s were huge. I recall from all those years ago that the entire cabbage ( after end is cut off ) was put into boiling water in large pan to cover with boiling water. The leaves, which were soft and malleable, were then removed and set to the side as they got soft. Cut the hard part out. I was taught by the best to roll, so each one was perfect. Homemade sauerkraut. Used fresh ground pork should and half good ground beef. Some rice with the meat and of course Paprika. I use 2-3 TBL of it. Then layer, sauerkraut, rolls, sauerkraut, rolls.

  5. I was born in northern Italy. My mom used Savoy cabbage exclusively. As a boy, I wasn’t even aware there was any other type of cabbage. I agree with the comments in the entry about the qualities of this cabbage. But, I’ve always wondered, why is it named “Savoy”? Is it named after the former royal house of Italy?

    • The Savoy cabbage gets its name from the Savoy region of the Western Alps, where it is believed to have originated. That area was, indeed, the feudal territory of the House of Savoy. :)

  6. I want to improve my cabbage rolls and thought Savoy might be the answer. Is there a downside to savoy – can it be cooked low and slow for cabbage rolls? Also – my last version of cabbage rolls (recipe purely out of my head)turned out awful. There was a strange minty type flavour in some of the cabbage rolls – we used two or three heads and I know we did not buy the cabbage at the same time from the strange grocer. I don’t know if I picked up some weird variety? The oddest thing was that with the leftover meat/rice I made a casserole (no cabbage) for the freezer. We ate this and it was great – no odd minty (?) taste. Did I do something somewhere somehow to create an odd outcome???

    Thank you for being there!

    • The main downside is that Savoy does not store as well as it’s sturdier cousins. There is no real downside in cooking with it. You just need to be aware that you don’t need to cook it as long as with tougher green cabbage, so that you don’t over cook it.

      As for the taste of that other cabbage, that is hard to say. I assume that you mean a bitter mint taste, and not the good mint taste. :)

      One possibility is that you are just interpreting the bitter taste as minty. Everyone’s sense of taste is a little different. Some think that green cabbage tastes peppery, but that’s not really how I interpret the taste myself.

      It could also be a factor of when the cabbage was grown and picked. Cabbage is typically a cold climate vegetable. The cold weather produces sugars within the plant which reduces the bitterness. If grown and picked in a warmer climate, there may be a noticeable difference in taste than when it is picked in a colder climate.

      Lastly, there are many hybrids of cabbage that are genetically designed for better longevity for large scale distribution. What you experienced may have been a taste variation of a certain hybrid.

      I hope that helps. :)

      • If you cook it for as long as you would regular green cabbage it may become too soft. You need to modify your cooking times to account for the fact that it is already a softer cabbage and doesn’t need to be cooked as long.

    • Microwaving should be fine. You can cook with Savoy, just like other cabbage, but you don’t need to over-cook it to get it to be somewhat tender, like you do with green cabbage. Adjust your cooking time accordingly.

      Freezing any vegetable of this type can be tricky. They contain a lot of water, so freezing them can be damaging. Still, it can be done. Only freeze raw cabbage, not cooked. Remove the external leaves, section it, and remove the core. Store the cabbage in as airtight of a container that you can come up with. Preferably one where you can pump or suck all the air out of.

  7. I suppose SAVOY is high in Vitamin K, which is then on the NO-NO list for those on blood thinners. Oh gasp………. I miss my veggies.

    • It is fairly high in Vitamin K. Not as high as spinach, but a good amount, as do most green leafy vegetables. They also provide much more vitamin K after being cooked than they do in their raw state.

      That said, vitamin K is still something that you body needs. You may just have to severely manage the amount that you get, and how. I would recommend talking to your doctor or a nutritional specialist about your specific situation, and see if they can come up with a specific diet plan for you.

    • Excellent. I am very happy for you. Yes, once you try Savoy cabbage, you just can’t go back to eating green cabbage again, can you? :)

      Btw, I think they need to change the name of “green cabbage”. Most cabbage is green and I always feel like I have to explain which green cabbage I am referring to when talking about the bad one. :D

  8. I bought savoy cabbage today at Krogers. I’ve never seen it before but when I saw it today at the store, I thought it was so beautiful I could not pass it by…even though I knew nothing about it and it was about $1.50 a lb! It’s nice to find your site. I am excited about finding such an eye appealing vegetable, also.

    • Yes, the savoy cabbage has this unique look that just catches your eye, doesn’t it? :) I think you will be very pleased with the taste and texture. Enjoy. :D

  9. I’m organically growing Savoy cabbage along with regular cabbage this year and the earwigs have feasted on the regular cabbage but left the Savoy cabbage alone. All cabbage was planted at the same time but it takes much longer for the Savoy cabbage to form heads. I’m anxious to try it since I have never eaten it before. Thank you for the freezing tips.

    • Interesting about the earwigs. That is good to hear. Planting your own is a great way to make sure you always have some available. Unless you are pressed for time, it might be better if you staggered your planting a bit. That way you won’t have them all ripening around the same time, and could more of them fresh rather than having to freeze so many.

  10. I just bought my first Savoy Cabbage. After finding this site I am very excited to make my meals for the week including it. I will have it raw for lunch and I will be making rolls, sautéing it for freezing, and using it for wraps. Thanks for the great feed back

  11. We recently picked this up about 3 months ago. I’ve always been an avid cabbage lover, but now Savoy cabbage is all I eat. I use it in every recipe with cabbage rather than the usual green cabbage. It’s flavor and texture are amazing. We eat Savoy cabbage at least twice a week now. I’d NEVER go back to the other!!! Everyone should try it!!! :)

    • That is awesome, Vanessa. :) It does make a huge difference, doesn’t it?

      I agree, everyone should try it. A lot of people have still never heard of savoy cabbage, and many still accept green cabbage as the only cabbage, because they have never tried anything else. Such a shame. :(

      Thank you for sharing that, Vanessa. :D

  12. I can’t imagine life without savoy cabbage! I grew up in Europe and it was a basic staple; we ate it all the time. Even now, when I go back home, the first thing is to buy some and make my favorite meal with it. Unfortunately, where I live (Hawaii), you can’t find it at all. I think once I did see it in a store but it was something like $8 per pound and that was just too much for me. I tried substituting Chinese cabbage and it did taste somewhat similar although not the same…

    • I am sorry to hear that. :( I imagine that shipping to Hawaii is problematic for a lot of things. And the climate there is not ideal for growing cabbage. The weather is great for people, but a little too warm for cabbage. Cabbages really sweeten with the cooler weather.

      However, if you want to try growing them, I found this article from someone who has had some success growing cabbages in Hawaii. Maybe it will help you.

      Growing cabbage in Kihei

  13. My husband and I accidentally picked up Savoy Cabbage when picking our plants for the garden this year. Neither of us had ever heard of it so I tried it just like my green cabbage in recipes. What a great discovery! I tastes so much better, and its not quiet as harsh on the digestive system! I highly recommend this cabbage! And thanks to this sight found some really great recipes to feature Savoy in at my dining room table!

    • So you had a pleasant surprise? Very nice. :) There must have been a little shock when they started growing an began looking quite different than you were expecting.

      I am glad to hear that you have finally discovered Savoy cabbage, and that you found out site so helpful to you. More importantly, I am glad that you are enjoying the Savoy cabbage so much. :)

  14. I am a produce sales associate and I had only seen the name Savoy beside a checkbox on a case of cabbage (green) I had a phone call from a lady asking if we had savoy and I had to tell her no. I really didn’t know what she was talking about I was pleased to come across the article on savoy cabbage. I am going to find some and try it out. We don’t carry it unfortunately.

    • I am sure you will enjoy it. :)

      Maybe you can pass the word along to the people that make the purchasing decisions. Then you will have it in stock and won’t have to go looking for it. :D

  15. I want to make corned beef and cabbage…I have a savoy cabbage in my refrigerator…Can I use it with the corned beef? Or should I go back to the store and get a regular green cabbage?

    • Absolutely, you can use it with corned beef. Just mind the cooking instructions. You will not want (and don’t need to) to cook the Savoy cabbage for the same length of time as you would green cabbage.

    • Sure. Cabbage is actually good for dogs. Just don’t put them on a cabbage soup diet, or something. They have other dietary needs that have to be met.

  16. The description of this cabbage is right on.
    It is delicious and tender. Because so few people are familiar with savoy, only a few grocers carry it on a regular basis. How can we change that? I’m trying to urge grocers to give it a try. People will come back for more!

    • There’s the rub. Few people know about it because few grocers carry it. And few grocers carry it because few people ask for it specifically. It is a catch 22…sort of.

      I agree, the more people that try it, the more that people will convert. I imagine that the best thing to do is tell as many people as you can about it, and.or have them try it for themselves, and then tell everyone to start asking their grocers to carry it.

      I imagine that most people will look for it, and if they don’t find it they will just look elsewhere or buy something else, and never say anything to the grocer. I think making the grocers aware of it is a big first step. I applaud your efforts. :D

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