The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat cabbage. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What cabbage etiquette is

Cabbage etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat cabbage. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve cabbage to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat cabbage at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat cabbage

What you should know about cabbage

Cabbage is a leafy vegetable. It belongs to the Brassica family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.

Cabbages come in different shapes and sizes. Generally, cabbage has a round or oval shape with tightly packed leaves. Its color ranges from pale green to dark purple. The leaves are firm and crisp in texture, and slightly bitter in flavor.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat cabbage

1) How to store cabbage

The ideal temperature to store cabbage is between 0°C and 4°C (32°F and 40°F).

It is possible to store cabbage in the pantry at room temperature. Keep it away from sources of heat and direct light. It is best to eat it within 1 or 2 days.

It is best to store cabbage in the fridge. Before storing cabbage, remove any damaged or wilted leaves. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a plastic bag. When properly stored, cabbage can last for up to 2 weeks. Cabbage can also be frozen. It will last for up to 9 months.

Store sliced or cooked cabbage in the fridge. Place it in an airtight container. It can last for up to 4 days.

2) How to clean cabbage

To clean the cabbage, remove the outermost leaves. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water. Make sure to thoroughly clean the cabbage leaves to remove any dirt or debris.

To tell if cabbage has turned bad, look for signs such as a soft texture, a foul odor, and discoloration.

3) How to cook cabbage

Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked.

The most common ways to cook cabbage include boiling, sautéing, roasting, and stir-frying. Cabbage is an ingredient in many popular dishes, such as coleslaw, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, stuffed cabbage, and kimchi. Cabbage is also a popular ingredient in salads and sandwiches.

4) How to serve & present cabbage

Cabbage is appropriate for a wide range of occasions. You can serve it at formal or casual dinners and lunches. You can serve cabbage as an appetizer, side dish, or even main course, depending on the preparation.

The ideal serving temperature depends on the dish. Generally, it is best to serve it warm or at room temperature. You can serve cabbage on a simple plate or in a serving bowl.

If you serve raw cabbage leaves, it may be polite to slice them before serving. It is not common to present a cabbage whole at the dining table. Before serving, remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, as they are tough and not as flavorful as the inner leaves.

5) Food and wine to pair cabbage with

Cabbage pairs well with a variety of seasonings and accompaniments, such as salt, pepper, garlic, and onion. You can pair it with other vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, beets, and other root vegetables. Cabbage pairs well with many fruits too, such as apples and pears. It is best to avoid pairing cabbage with citrus fruits or tomatoes, as the acidic notes can overpower the cabbage.

You can serve cabbage with cheese and dairy, such as feta, blue cheese, and sour cream. Cabbage pairs well with meat and fish. Popular pairings include pork, beef, and salmon. It is best to avoid pairing cabbage with delicate fish or seafood, as the cabbage can overpower delicate flavors.

Cabbage goes well with red and white wines. Popular pairings include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. You can also accompany it with beer.

6) How to eat cabbage

The most polite way to eat cabbage is to use a fork and knife. Cut and slice the cabbage into smaller pieces, one piece at a time. It is not polite to eat cabbage with your fingers.

You do not need to discard any part of the cabbage.

Cabbage etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common cabbage etiquette mistakes:

  • 8/10. Serving cabbage that is past its prime or has gone bad.
  • 7/10. Serving cabbage that is not cooked properly.
  • 5/10. Over-seasoning or under-seasoning the cabbage.

Additional information for properly serving cabbage

How many calories per serving?

Cabbage is low in calories and high in fiber. Raw cabbage contains around 25 calories per 100 grams. One serving of raw cabbage contains about 22 calories. The calories of a single cabbage can vary depending on its size. On average, a medium-sized cabbage contains around 250-300 calories.

How to buy the best cabbage

A crucial factor in cabbage etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Cabbage is available all year round. However, the peak season for most varieties is from late fall to early spring. The best time to buy cabbage is when it is in season, as it will be at its freshest and most flavorful.

Choose the best

Cabbage is available in commerce in many different forms. The most common ones are fresh, canned, pickled, and frozen.

There are many varieties of cabbage available in commerce. The most popular ones are green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, and Napa cabbage. Green cabbage is the most widely available and affordable variety. Napa cabbage is a popular choice in Asian cuisine. Red cabbage is a popular ingredient in salads and slaws for its vibrant color. Savoy cabbage is prized for its tender leaves and sweet flavor.

To buy the best cabbage, look for heads that are firm and feel heavy for their size. The leaves should be tightly packed. The stem should be fresh and white. Discard cabbage with brown spots, bruises, mold, or insect damage.

Alternatives to cabbage

As a substitute for cabbage, try vegetables that are similar in nutritional content and can be prepared in similar ways. Popular alternatives include Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and bok choy.


  • Cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.). Overview of the Health Benefits and Therapeutical Uses: