Soft heads are loosely formed with large air spaces in the central portion and are very light in proportion to size. A very loose head is immature. After trimming the outer wrap leaves, cabbage heads should be a uniform color, typical of the cultivar and free of insects, decay, seed stalk development and other defects.
In Europe, Canada, and the USA – as laid out below as an example - there are two basic grades for round cabbages:
Green cabbages with tight heads and strong white interiors are used as the standard ingredient to produce sour cabbage or sauerkraut.
Of all vegetable brassicas, cauliflowers need greatest care when handling. Any slicing or trimming of the curd will also lead to downgrading. Harvested curds are usually cut with more protective wrap leaves in place than most other brassicas, so as to minimize damage in transit.
Common practice in the fresh market is to trim leaves from around the mature curd once it reaches 15-20cm size. Cauliflower is also extremely perishable and even under cold storage conditions should only be stored for a short time. Again, grading is commonplace. In the EU, there are three recognized grades: