The Best Ways To Use Your Outer Cabbage Leaves

If you've ever grown your own produce, you already know that the fruits and vegetables we buy at the grocery store are just a fraction of what actually grows out of the ground (via Where are the Chickens). Take cabbages, for example. If you grow them yourself you'll quickly realize they have large, dark, tough outer leaves that almost never make it to our plates, but that's not because they shouldn't.

In fact, as the blogger and amateur gardener behind Where are the Chickens explains, these leaves are definitely edible even if they don't look like the cabbage you know and love. They may be a bit tough and even have a spiky texture to them, but that's no reason to toss all of your hard work into the compost heap. Instead, they recommend making the most of all that surface area by turning them into cabbage wraps! To get the best results, parboil the leaves for a few minutes first to soften them before stuffing, baking, and serving (via The Spruce Eats). Or, if you're not a fan of wraps, you could try shredding the leaves to make a cabbage slaw. If this sounds like more trouble than it's worth, chances are you just don't know how many nutrients those added leaves are hiding.

The truth about all those food scraps you're throwing away

We could all use more fiber, vitamins, and essential nutrients in our diets, and it might be easier for us to get them if we stopped tossing them in the trash can. Everything from beet greens (when was the last time you cooked those?) to carrot tops to orange peels could be adding health benefits to your diet (via health enews). In particular, those outer cabbage leaves are a great source of vitamins A, C, and B, which are crucial for maintaining everything from your eyesight to bone health, metabolism, and even your immune system (via ABC News).

Of course, it's not just cabbage you've been underutilizing. For instance, you could chop up and sauté the heavy leaves around cauliflower, just like you would those outer cabbage leaves for "a silky version of a cabbage leaf, with a hint of cauliflower" (via The New York Times). And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Once you realize all the potentially tasty and healthy pits, leaves, flowers, and stalks you're stripping away from your produce, you may never go back.