The ‘almost’ forgotten Superfood
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn
Super foods are a daily occurrence on every website we browse on www???.com. Beautiful stories about kale, Brussels sprouts, blue berries, wild salmon and avocados, but hardly anybody talks about red cabbage. When you read a bit further you will quickly realize that red cabbage is a super food.
Paired with the right ingredients this crucifer with gorgeous colors becomes food to lust after
This beautiful vegetable, marbled with white and violet colors is rich in vitamins; it has 10 times more vitamin A than other cabbage varieties and twice as much iron as green cabbage. Vitamin C and E are in abundance, calcium and potassium are present in its raw form. Lengthy cooking tends to lower the nutrients considerably, hence the incredible nutrients available in pickled and fermented cabbage.
How to choose
Red cabbage has to be heavy and dense, with leaves that are shiny and compact. Avoid buying pre-cut red cabbage either halved or shredded, cabbage starts to lose its valuable vitamin C content once cut. Choose therefore medium sized cabbages that you can use in one go, if you cannot finish one piece don’t worry there are many ways to preserve the balance.
How to store
Red cabbage will keep fresh in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator for two weeks, It is a good idea to vacuum the part you like to store this will contain nutritional values and keep the vegetable in mint condition for a long time.
How to cook
Red cabbage is very versatile when it comes to cooking, it can be used cooked, fermented, pickled or raw.
Red cabbage goes well with a mixture of sweet, tangy and savory flavors.
When cooked red cabbage works well with apple and raisins, sugar, vinegar and cinnamon complement flavors, pair the vegetable with white meat like pork or chicken for an enchanting meal.
The addition of some cumin or anise seeds to the cooking water helps to digest the cabbage better in case you have issues with that part.
Raw red cabbage works in salads with for example blue cheese and lentils. Cranberries combine well also, with brother white cabbage as a complementing ingredient.
On cooking red cabbage will turn blue, to retain the red color you need to add a form of acidity, vinegar, lemon juice or an acidic fruit, the combination of green apple and vinegar works perfect.
The recommended classic way of cooking red cabbage requires therefore seven ingredients: vinegar, sugar, and cinnamon, bay leaf, salt, onion and cloves completing the range.
Other ways of preparing red cabbage is pickling and turning the vegetable into chutney, both ways are great toppings for sandwiches made with cold cuts or some left over roast.
Red cabbage deserves recognition as ‘super food’. More than worthwhile to rediscover!
Here’s a little recipe to try it out!
Red Cabbage with Raisins and Apple
1 pound thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium sized apple (Granny Smith or Elstar work fine) cored, quartered and sliced
2 tbsp sultana raisins (soaked if needed)
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
- Add all ingredients except for the apple and the raisins in a cooking pot.
- Submerge with water and bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
- When the cabbage softens, check for taste, should be slightly more sweet than sour, but adjust to your preference.
- Add in the apple slice and raisins; cook until the cabbage is tender.
- As per preference you can drain the cabbage from the water and serve or thicken the cooking water with some cornstarch mixed with water.