Why does chopped cabbage turn bitter?

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Ever noticed that cut cabbage turns bitter in a salad if kept refrigerated for a long time? The salad is then certainly not edible! In the similar manner any kind of cut cabbage is not edible as it gives a bitter taste.

Cabbage belongs to the mustard family. All its members bear sulfur-containing compounds, which are volatile by-products of mustard oil. When we put the knife to cabbage, the plant cell walls are ruptured and the volatile oils escape. At first, any bitterness may seem pleasantly tasty as the salad’s dressing mellows cabbage flavors. After a while, however, the released mustard oils definitely become more noticeable and unpleasant. That is the main reason for the bitterness. 

Cabbage being an excellent source of fibre, vitamin C should not be avoided because of its bitterness. A few handy tips that can help us use cabbage and avoid its bitterness from emerging: 

Mix with dried fruits and vegetables that have a strong taste. Best for salads. 

Stir fry with sweet sauces that can overwhelm the ‘cabbage’ taste.

Leaves can be used as wrappers for making steamed rolls and wraps especially nice with sweeter fillings. 

Sauté with garlic and serve as a side dish with any meal.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.