Cabbage is an easily accessible vegetable that is usually pretty fairly priced year-round. It also lasts quite a while once you’ve purchased it. This makes it a great option for many families. Its crunchy texture, however, can prove to be difficult for young babies, which is why I recommend cooking it, like in this air fryer cabbage recipe.
It is a pretty versatile vegetable in that it can be eaten raw, pickled, fermented, steamed, stewed, roasted, sauteed, etc. Cabbage is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts. Because of its long shelf life, sailors would use it on long trips to help prevent scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency.
How to Serve Cabbage to Babies
When first starting out, serve cooked cabbage as that will be softer. You can offer thin strips or you can shred or finely chop the cabbage. Avoid serving the core of the cabbage as that is especially tough.
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber (which can help with poop problems). It also contains vitamin B6 and folate. There is ongoing research on phytochemicals, like some found in cabbage, to determine what health benefits they may have. Red cabbage has anthocyanins which are associated with heart health (reference).
Types of Cabbage
The main varieties of cabbage that we see in stores are the leafy green, red, or white cabbages. The red cabbage is more of a purple color and the white is a pale green. Napa cabbage is a different species than the other cabbages.
Green cabbage tends to be more mild in flavor. It has a higher moisture content so may be softer and easier for babies to eat. Red cabbage tends to be a bit more peppery and can be more bitter. It has less moisture so it may not be as tender. You can use cooking methods to increase the moisture or offer another variety to babies.
Tips for Storage
Ideally, cabbage should be stored in the refrigerator with high humidity. In ideal conditions, cabbage can last up to 6 months. IN less than idea conditions, cabbage can last up to 4 months (reference).
Air Fryer Cabbage
- ½ cabbage
- 1 tbsp oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- t tsp red pepper flakes (omit or adjust depending on desired level of spiciness)
- Cut the half cabbage into 3-4 wedges.
- Brush with oil and add seasonings.
- Air fry at 385° for 15 minutes, tossing gently once.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.