Sprouting Napa Cabbage
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Sprouting Napa cabbage has smooth pale green leaves that are less furrowed than mature Napa cabbage. They grow in loose bunches from ribbed stems and are occasionally dotted with yellow flowering buds. It is milder and sweeter than the main cabbage head, but has the same refreshing watery texture. Use the sweet crispy leaves raw or lightly sautéed.
The season for Sprouting Napa cabbage can vary, but typically occurs 4-6 weeks after the spring and fall harvests of the main cabbage heads.
Napa cabbage is a cool season vegetable botanically classified as Brassica campestris L. Pekinensis. Napa cabbage is also known as White cabbage, Flowering cabbage, Celery cabbage and da baicai, in Chinese. After the main cabbage heads are harvested the roots and leaves are typically removed, but if left, a second crop of smaller cabbage heads will sprout. They develop from buds located in the bases of the older leaves, and share similar characteristics to mature Napa cabbage but on a smaller scale. Sprouting Napa cabbage is an underutilized culinary ingredient because it is rarely left to develop.