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Purple and slightly sweet – a popular vegetable for special occasions
For many red cabbage is an important part of any festive meal, particularly during the colder months. Consumed raw, it provides lots of vitamins and antioxidants.
Red cabbage goes by many names, but whether purple cabbage, red kraut or blue kraut, each name describes the cabbage’s rich colour and mild flavour. It tastes less like cabbage than other types and has a slightly sweet flavour. The colour of red cabbage varies depending on the pH value of the soil it grew in. More acidic soil produces a more intensely red colour, whereas alkaline soil results in a slightly blue tinge.
|Calories||30 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||4.0g carbohydrate, 3.0g fibre, 0.3g fat, 1.4g protein per 100g|
|Season||available year-round, main season September - December|
|Storage||store in the vegetable drawer of the fridge|
|Shelf life||up to three weeks|
Red cabbage originates from the Mediterranean and European Atlantic coast line. This is where the wild cabbage, from which the cultivated cabbage varieties descended, grows. Nowadays the biggest cultivation regions are in Germany, France, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands, where it is harvested between May and November. As red cabbage can be stored for a relatively long time, it is available all year.
When purchasing red cabbage make sure that the cabbage head is tightly closed and the leaves are not wilting or do not have spots. The stem where the cabbage has been cut provides further indication of how fresh the cabbage is – if the stem is dry and slightly grey, leave the cabbage. It should not be stored in the fridge for longer than three weeks and once cut into, it should be wrapped in foil to prevent it from drying out.
Many choose conserved or frozen cabbage over fresh cabbage for cooking, which is a perfectly good choice if you are in a rush, but freshly prepared red cabbage is by far more nutritious. Preparing red cabbage is also not difficult or time intensive – simply cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the stem, then thinly slice the leaves. A slicer makes the process even faster and gives you finer results which are great for a raw red cabbage salad.
Any discolouration of your hands from preparing red cabbage can be removed with lemon juice. Or, try wearing plastic gloves while chopping up the cabbage.
If you stew, boil or steam red cabbage there are plenty of ingredients or seasonings available. The following ingredients, aside from salt, pepper and sugar, are great flavourings for red cabbage:
· Red currant jam
· Juniper berries
Depending on whether you want to emphasise the sweet or the savoury taste of red cabbage, other great additions are nuts, cream, bacon or plums. Should the cabbage start to look a little dry, red wine or apple juice add moisture and flavour.
Eating red cabbage raw means you profit from all the nutrients, which include a large dose of vitamin C and K, along with lots of antioxidants. Additionally, red cabbage is a great source of magnesium, potassium and iron. And to top it all off, red cabbage is extremely low in calories – so why not go for seconds.
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