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Enjoy the colour and sweetness of
red cabbage in winter

Red cabbage has a mild, slightly sweet aroma that harmonises beautifully with fruit. The traditional way of cooking red cabbage is to slice it very thinly and simmer it for 40 to 50 minutes with apple slices, chopped onion, cloves, a teaspoon of goose fat and just a little water. Season it with a dash of red vinegar or red wine, salt and pepper. This is a side dish that improves if it’s left to stand a while because the aroma intensifies.

Ideas for cooking with red cabbage

Red cabbage combines well with sweet chestnuts or prunes. If you like Asian-style food, try adding peanut butter, mangoes and sesame seeds. Add coriander and ginger if you like them to make the cabbage easier to digest, vinegar or lemon juice intensify the flavour. You can also enjoy red cabbage as a soup and in a stew, or as filling for a savoury strudel or for roulades. To make a red cabbage salad, mix the finely cut cabbage with slices of apple, pear or orange and walnuts and serve with a dressing made of lemon juice, honey and vegetable oil.

Origin and health benefits

Red cabbage, like green cabbage, belongs to the family of cruciferous plants and probably originated around the Mediterranean or the western coastal fringes of Europe. It contains a lot of vitamins C and K, selenium, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and dietary fibre. The red colour comes mainly from secondary plant substances such as anthocyan, which is an effective antioxidant.

Preparation is important

Remove any loose outer leaves, cut the cabbage in quarters and cut out the hard stalk in the middle. Then rinse the cabbage briefly in cold water, slice very thinly and remove any remaining thick ribs before cooking. It’s a good idea to wear an apron and rubber gloves, because the colour can stain.

Buying and storing, quality

Red cabbage is available virtually the whole year round, but at its best in the winter. Look for firm heads with fresh, crisp leaves; avoid dried looking leaves or discolouration. You don’t have to use a whole head of cabbage all at once; wrapped in cling film it will keep several days in the vegetable drawer of your fridge.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de

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