This versatile vegetable can be crunchy, silky, pungent, or sweet, depending on how you choose to cook it. Don't be fooled by its humble reputation: Cabbage is a wonder food that's packed with flavor and nutrients.

Raw cabbage stimulates digestion as well as the immune system. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties and may help clear up ulcers and complexion problems. Both raw and cooked cabbage is great sources of vitamin C, vitamin U and calcium. Eating cabbage may reduce your risk of ulcer and cancer. The red variety is especially rich in antioxidants. Steamed cabbage with little pepper powder as snacks will help the sick for nutrients and in stomach management. Cabbage contents rich nutrients for poor too!

Green and red cabbage both grow in round heads with smooth, thick leaves. Green pairs well with meaty flavors. When thinly sliced, red ads heft to salads. Napa, an Asian variety, grows barrel-shaped or elongated. It's delicate, juicy, and perfect for slaws. Savoy has looser leaves that are green and crinkled. It appears most often in fall and early winter. You can use it in any recipe that calls for green cabbage. Go for small or medium-size heads that are firm and compact with unblemished leaves.

Pull off the very thickest outer leaves and rinse well whole heads just before slicing. Use cabbage as soon as possible for the best nutritional bang/bank, especially a partial head. Slicing amps up flavor and possibly nutrients, but the vitamin content diminishes when cabbage is stored after cutting-so stay away from the pre-cut packaged stuff.