Red cabbage is a particularly aromatic relative of white cabbage. It differs from cabbage mainly by its red color and sweet taste. Its head is a little smaller and firmer. It is a typical winter vegetable, but almost always available fresh and can stores well. One recipe in German cuisine is to chop it finely, stew it, then season with spices and sweet-sour apple. It can also be prepared as red cabbage salad, soup, used in vegetable stir-frys, or prepared with oriental spices.
Red cabbage is an incredibly versatile vegetable and is featured in many delicious, healthy, and hearty dishes. The color of this vegetable will change depending on the method used to prepare it. When you use acidic ingredients with it, such as vinegar and wine, cooked red cabbage will have a deep red color. Some recipes for red cabbage call for ingredients such as sugar or even alkaline ingredients such as soda. When you use these in a recipe, red cabbage will tend to keep its violet color even after it has been prepared, or even change to a bluish one.2
Chopped red cabbage and apples are often spiced with cloves, nutmeg, and bay leaves, cooked, and served as a traditional side dish with hearty German meals.1
You can chop it, then toss it raw into salads or use it for coleslaw. Red cabbage is a delicious and colorful addition to sautés and stir-fries. The leaves can be stuffed with a variety of fillings and then baked for a warm and hearty dish. When making a wrap sandwich, try replacing the tortilla with large red cabbage leaves for a light wrap sandwich with an extra bit of flavor and crunch.
One of the reasons red cabbage is so popular in colder climates is because it well storable, providing fresh flavor even in the middle of winter. Proper storage is the key to successfully storing it. Do not wash red cabbage until you are ready to use it. If you are harvesting cabbage from your garden or if you buy cabbage from the farm stand, make sure to leave all leaves on the head. The outer leaves of the cabbage will protect the inner leaves, which will help concerning moisture retention. You can store red cabbage in the crisper compartment of the refrigerator for up to 14 days, and for up to 3 months in a cool, airy basement or root cellar.2
If you use only a partial head, or if it has been sliced or chopped up, make sure to wrap the remainder tightly and refrigerate it. Handle your red cabbage with care. Try to minimize any bruising of your cabbages. Any cell damage makes the cabbage spoil more quickly and degrades its vitamin C content.
Wikipedia: Red cabbage has ten times more vitamin A and twice as much iron as green cabbage.1
Red cabbage is a good source of iron, minerals, anthocyanins, (a secondary phytochemical / color pigment / free radical inhibitor / immune system support / anti-inflammatory), sugar, and mustard oils. Plain red cabbage is low in calories and high in fiber. Red cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, but prolonged cooking will destroy most of this nutrient. Therefore, it is recommended that red cabbage be served raw occasionally, especially in the winter.2
The red cabbage (purple-leaved varieties of Brassica oleracea Capitata Group) is a kind of cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, red kraut, or blue kraut after preparation. Its leaves are coloured dark red/purple. However, the plant changes its colour according to the pH value of the soil, due to a pigment belonging to anthocyanins. In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish, in neutral soils they will grow more purple, while an alkaline soil will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. This explains the fact that the same plant is known by different colours in various regions. Furthermore, the juice of red cabbage can be used as a home-made pH indicator, turning red in acid and green/yellow in basic solutions. It can be found in Northern Europe, throughout the Americas, and in China (and especially in Africa). On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn blue. To retain the red colour it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit to the pot.
Red cabbage needs well fertilized soil and sufficient humidity to grow. It is a seasonal plant which is seeded in spring and harvested in late fall. Red cabbage is a better keeper than its "white" relatives and does not need to be converted to sauerkraut to last the winter.1
Literature / Sources:
- Wikipedia. Red cabbage, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_cabbage
- Wikipedia. Rotkohl, de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotkohl