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Those outer leaves of cabbage

A good head of cabbage is almost two separate vegetables. There are the dark green outer leaves that are difficult to shred for slaw. And there is the cabbage head after the outer leaves are removed. It’s easy to waste the outer leaves, but it’s a shame to waste that intense green.

A solution is to wash each of the outer leaves separately, then roll each leaf into the tightest cigar-shape possible and cut it into strips. The cabbage above is going to be sautéed for egg foo yung.

Lucky for me, I live in good cabbage country. Cabbage grows well in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Also lucky for me is that whoever buys produce for Lowe’s Foods, which has lots of stores in this area, knows what good cabbage is like. Whole Foods, however, almost always has sorry-looking cabbage — white and with no outer leaves. A proper head of cabbage should be loosely contained in a lot of intense green outer leaves, and the head itself should be as heavy and hard as a ball of marble. The green color fades into pale green as you get closer to the stalk, but cabbage should never be white inside (except for the stalk).

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