Ingredient of the Month 26: Red Cabbage

Distinctively-coloured red cabbage looks so attractive when cut!
Now here's a seasonal ingredient that most people will be familiar with, but do you know how healthy it is? Red cabbage belongs, of course, to the brassica family, and can be grown on different soils although it varies in colour from red to purple to greenish yellow according to the acidity/ alkalinity of the soil. (Because of this, its juice may be used as a ph indicator.) It is sown in Spring and harvested in late Autumn- perfect for festive fare.

Nutritional benefits: As you might well expect from a member of the brassica family, red cabbage is very, very good for you. Its purple colour tells us at a glance that it's rich in proanothocyanins, those powerful antioxidants also found in red grapes, blueberries, etc. Antioxidants fight and prevent disease, strengthening the immune system. They are good against cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease too. Even cooked (although that does depend on how), red cabbage can supply you with a significant proportion of your daily vitamin C requirement. The peppery taste of raw red cabbage is also an indicator of its beneficial qualities; it is due to sulphurous compounds which other brassicas also contain- these can prevent cancer. Vitamins A and K are also to be found in red cabbage; these help vision and the immune system, and bones and blood clotting respectively. Vitamin K also helps the body absorb calcium. And let's not forget fibre, so essential for the efficient functioning of the digestive system, of which red cabbage contains plenty.

Culinary uses: Most people first encounter red cabbage pickled in jars, but there are many other ways to eat it. Red cabbage can be eaten raw, shredded into salads and 'slaws, or even made into sauerkraut. It has a fresh, almost peppery flavour. It goes well with apple, too. Apart from using it in stews and soups as you would many other types of vegetable, you can also steam/ sweat it with caraway, anise, cumin or fennel seeds and black pepper to make a delicately aromatic side dish. It's also delicious braised with apple.

The glossy purplish leaves contain many health benefits

Thanks once more to for the nutritional information.

How do you like to use red cabbage? Come back in the next couple of days and you should find a linky tool at the bottom of this post- let's share our ideas!


  1. Neat facts about red cabbage - love them in juices, soups and salads!


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