By Sharon Hudgins Photographs Courtesy Sharon Hudgins
Germans love cabbage, a versatile vegetable that thrives in the cool climate and shorter growing season of northern Europe. Although Germany doesn’t harvest nearly as much cabbage as the world’s top three producers—China, India, and Russia—Germans still consume plenty of cabbage in soups and salads, main dishes, side dishes, savory strudels and tarts, and of course in that perennial favorite, sauerkraut.
A member of the mustard family, cabbage is a cousin of kohlrabi, kale, collards, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Nutritious and low in calories, cabbages come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors: large, small, round, pointed, smooth, crinkly, red, white, green. Red cabbage is actually closer to purple in color, sometimes even with a bluish tinge to the leaves. Green cabbage ranges in hue from light to dark, whereas white cabbage can be ivory-colored to very pale green.