Red Cabbage has smooth, firm leaves and the deep purple colour of red cabbage is perhaps the most striking.
The secret to cooking perfect red cabbage is adding a little vinegar to the water – this will preserve the deep purple colour of the leaves, preventing them from running and loosing colour. If you're worried about offending anyone with its odor, boiling it for a couple of minutes in salted water should remove some of its pungency.
Red cabbages are easy to prepare. Strip off the outer leaves, wash, then slice into quarters, cut out the hard central core on each, then chop or shred.
Red cabbage's firm texture makes it ideal for slaws and salads, where it won’t wilt under a hearty dressing. But as with all cabbages, red cabbage can be braised, pickled, steamed, stir-fired, stuffed, or made into sauerkraut.
It can be served raw, just make sure you slice it very finely. They add colour and crunch to salads. And you also lock in nutrients by eating your cabbage uncooked in salads.
Red cabbage can stand up to a whole host of flavours from soy sauce in an Asian salad to heady spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Onions, sweet apples and raisins also bring out the best in this earthy vegetable.
Red cabbage can also be boiled. To preserve the crunch, cook in salted boiling water with a teaspoon of vinegar for 5 minutes unless a softer consistency is desired in which case cook for a little longer.
Red cabbage is healthy, thrifty and robust, so why it remains such an underrated ingredient is beyond us. Part of the problem may be that the tightly-packed sphere yields so many layers it’s sometimes hard to know how to use up a whole one. A head of red cabbage goes a long way.