What Is Chinese Cabbage?
The scientific name for Chinese cabbage is Brassica rapa. Napa cabbage, the most common variety, is the subspecies pekinensis. The name is most likely derived from the Japanese word nappa—meaning leafy green—rather than a location, which is why it’s not capitalized. You may also see it labeled as Chinese white cabbage, Peking cabbage, or celery cabbage.
This oblong, large-headed cabbage has firmly packed, crinkly, pale green, thickly veined leaves and a white stalk (hence the alternative name “celery cabbage”). Because of the vegetable’s resistance to cold, the cabbage has become popular throughout the world, especially in the northern regions of the globe. Napa cabbage is easy to prepare and, due to its increased use, is relatively easy to find. Chinese cabbage is a perfect vegetable choice if you’re on a budget or feeding a crowd—it’s nutritious, inexpensive when compared to a lot of other vegetables, and it’s filling. It’s also rated by gardeners as a vegetable that’s easy to grow.
Store napa cabbage in plastic wrap because you’ll rarely find a head that fits in plastic storage bags. It will keep well in the crisper section of the refrigerator for about three days. If you plan on cooking it, you may be able to get away with a longer period of time. The cabbage has gone bad when you notice spots on the leaves. At this stage, it will be bitter and should not be eaten.