The striking colours of the January King cabbage are one of the highlights of winter. They join Savoy, Primo, Spring Greens, purple sprouting and kales – all brassicas that are good to go this November.
January King cabbage has been cultivated in Britain since the mid 19th Century. The leaves are veined with purple and blue, on account of compounds called anthocyanins. It is crunchy to eat, with a subtle sweet flavour. January King is a hardy crop – able to withstand harsh frosts – and his been a mainstay for brassica growers for many years. They are typically sown in glasshouses in spring then planted out in early summer.
Uses in the Kitchen
To preserve the gorgeous colour of the leaves, treat it gently – a light steam rather than heavy boil. Complimentary spices include caraway, juniper, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. A squeeze of orange juice and grating of zest towards the end of cooking will also give it a lift. Cabbage can be used in soups and stir fries, as well as an accompaniment to a roast. In fact, try roasting the cabbage itself – cut into wedges first, then seasoned and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. Winter cabbage and butter bean stew is a warm and comforting dish.