Red Cabbage


Season for Red Cabbage October – February


Red Cabbage Described

Red cabbage displays brilliant leaves of either a crimson or purple color with white veins running through them, and with its hue comes additional health benefits not found in green cabbage. All vegetables in the cabbage family — the brassicas, also known as cruciferous vegetables — are packed with sulfur compounds that may help protect the body, but red cabbage has additional phytonutrients that make this one of the healthiest, economical veggies to include in your diet, not to mention gorgeous. 


How to Buy and Store Red Cabbage

Buy your cabbage by the head, as once cut, cabbage begins to lose its vitamin C content. In that vein, store it whole as well, only cutting when you are ready to use it. Choose cabbage heads that are firm, dense and heavy with shiny, crisp, healthy-looking leaves free from damage. When it comes to red cabbage, look for those with the deepest, most rich color, for that reflect its abundance of health-promoting phytonutrients. Cabbage will stay good in the coldest section of your refrigerator wrapped in cellophane, 1-2 weeks.


How to Cook Red Cabbage

Red cabbage lends itself beautifully shredded in salads and coleslaws or fermented in sauerkrauts. But this vegetable can be eaten cooked too – seared, stir-fried, or even grilled. With each cooking method your red cabbage will gain a unique flavor and texture, but it does tend to turn blue with heat. To avoid this you can add a little vinegar or lemon to your pot. The way you prepare your cabbage can be essential, nutritionally speaking. Short steaming is far superior to microwaving. A quick saute in vegetable broth will help you maintain the most nutrients while imparting great flavor.


Health Benefits of Red Cabbage

While green cabbage is the undisputed favorite, its next of kin filled with beautiful shades of magenta carries some hue-related added nutritional value that just might win you over. The rich red color actually reflects an unparalleled concentration of anthocyanins, a super protective phytonutrient. In fact, a recent study found 26 of them in red cabbage! Anthocyanins have been found helpful in providing a cancer shield, improving brain function and promoting heart health, a fierce dietary antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.


Why Buy Natural and Organic Red Cabbage

According to the Environmental Working Group, cabbage is among the safer vegetables when eaten inorganically. Reason being, it doesn’t require loads of pesticides to be grown, even conventionally. That said, unless you purchase it organically, you won’t know what and how much has been sprayed onto the vegetable. And while peeling off the outer layers is a good idea, it certainly isn’t fool proof, as chemicals can be absorbed up the vegetables’ roots and infiltrate the whole of your cabbage.

image: Ross Elliott