As the garden season reaches its zenith, the anticipation of harvesting homegrown vegetables fills the air. Among the verdant offerings of the garden, cabbage stands out as a versatile and nutrient-packed delight. To ensure you savour the best flavour from your cabbage, mastering the art of when and how to harvest is essential.
Choosing the right time
Timing is crucial when it comes to harvesting cabbage. The key is to strike a balance between allowing the cabbage to reach its full size and ensuring it doesn’t overstay its welcome in the garden. Most cabbage varieties take around 70 to 100 days to mature from seed, while transplants may reduce this time to approximately 60 to 80 days. Keep a watchful eye on your cabbage as it grows, and when the heads feel firm and solid, it’s a signal that they are ready for harvest.
The right season
Cabbage is a cool-season crop, and its flavour is often enhanced when harvested in cooler temperatures. Aim to harvest your cabbage before the onset of extreme heat, as warmth can result in a bitter taste and affect the overall quality of the crop. In regions with mild climates, cabbage can be a year-round joy, while in colder areas, an autumn harvest is ideal for the best flavour.
When it comes to harvesting cabbage, precision is key. Use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage head from the stem, leaving a few outer leaves to protect the head during transportation and storage. Ensure a clean cut, as any damage to the inner leaves may impact the cabbage’s shelf life and flavour.
Shape and size
The size of the cabbage head is a good indicator of readiness, but so is its shape. Look for heads that are dense and firm, with leaves that tightly embrace the core. While variations in size exist among different cabbage varieties, a general rule is that the head should feel solid when gently squeezed.
Once harvested, store your cabbage in a cool, dark place to maintain its crispness and flavour. If you’re not consuming it immediately, refrigeration is an excellent option.
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