Video: Chinese Cabbages from Johnny's Selected Seeds

Chinese Cabbage: A look at Johnny's closed- and open-headed types & their distinctive qualities

Hi, this is Steve Bellavia. We're in our trial fields, and we're here to talk about Chinese cabbage today. Today we're going to talk about two basic types of Chinese cabbage:

  1. the closed-headed type, which is most popular; and
  2. the open-headed type, which is more of a specialty type.

Closed-Headed Chinese Cabbages

1 • 'Minuet'

In our Chinese cabbage lineup, starting with the closed-head type, this is 'Minuet', which is our mini closed-head type Chinese cabbage.

If you're looking for a small head — you don't want a real big head and you just want to make a salad and not have a lot of leftovers, this is a really good choice. It's probably about two-thirds or three-quarters the size of a typical standard green Napa Chinese cabbage.

2 • 'Rubicon'

This is 'Rubicon' Chinese cabbage.

This is a really big, large-barrel-shaped Napa. You can use it for fresh market sales, but it's especially good for kimchi, because it's so large. When you're making kimchi, you want to have this really big and bulky type that produces a lot of leaves.

Again, this is 'Rubicon'.

3 • 'Bilko'

This is 'Bilko' organic Chinese cabbage.

This is a large-headed type suitable for kimchi. Again, for kimchi, you want a real big bulky head that produces a lot of leaves.

So again, this is 'Bilko' from organic seeds.

4 • 'Citrus'

This is 'Citrus' Chinese cabbage, and you can tell, what's different about it is that the interior is a lot more deep yellow-orangish color than a typical Chinese cabbage.

Here you can compare it to 'Minuet'. So, 'Minuet' on the left is a pale yellow and 'Citrus' is a deep orange. 'Citrus' you can use as a salad, you could cook it, and it also will make a kimchi that's quite a bit more orange than your standard kimchi. So if you want to make a specialty kimchi, this is a great choice.

Again, this is 'Citrus'.

5 • 'Merlot'

This is 'Merlot' red Chinese cabbage.

It tastes very similar to a standard green Chinese cabbage, maybe a little bit stronger flavor. It makes really nice soups. It's nice in stir-fries. It'll get a little bit darker purplish-red, but basically it keep its color. Likewise, in kimchi, it makes a really nice red-purple kimchi, with a little stronger taste than the green kimchi, but very nice.

Again, this is 'Merlot'.

Open-Headed Chinese Cabbages

Moving on from our closed-head Chinese cabbage lineup, we have our open-head Chinese cabbage.

1 • 'Miss Hong'

This is 'Miss Hong', a red open-headed Chinese cabbage, as opposed to a Napa, or a closed-headed type.

This one has an open head, which means the leaves are really nice for making garnishes because the open head allows light in, so they really get a nice red color. Here are examples of some of the individual leaves that have been harvested off the heads, that can be used for garnishes. You can see the bigger, outer leaves have more red and then, as you get into the interior, there's a little bit more yellow. So all the different stages of leaves are really nice for garnish.

Again, this is 'Miss Hong' Chinese cabbage.

2 • 'Tokyo Bekana'

What we have here is 'Tokyo Bekana' Chinese cabbage.

It's a little different than most typical Chinese cabbage. As you can see here, it's more of a loose-leaf-type Chinese cabbage.

It's good for stir-fries; you could steam it; you could put it in soup; or you could put it in salads. And if you cut it at this stage now, where it's about a medium-sized head, you could bunch it and sell it, as well. Or, you could let it get really big and have a real head that's about the size of a typical standard big Chinese cabbage, or almost a romaine lettuce size, or even bigger.

So here's the cut head now of the 'Tokyo Bekana'. You can see the nice mid ribs and how it's a fairly narrow head. If you harvest it a little bit smaller you could bunch three in a row or three to make a nice bunch, or you could sell it like this individually. You can see that when you look into the center of the head, it's fairly loose.

View the full lineup: Chinese Cabbage…