February 20, 2013

Red cabbage is a member of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables. Other members of the brassica family include green cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and broccoli, among others. The name cruciferous comes from the thought that the flowers with four petals are in a cross shape.

Though it has the same cancer fighting properties and antioxidants and vitamins, the anthocyanin polyphenols that give red cabbage its color also give additional health benefits. In addition to the whopping extra helping of Vitamin A, higher in any vegetables and fruits in the red and yellow color range, it is also higher in calcium and iron. Vitamin A is beneficial for eyes and skin. The additional iron is great for everyone, though women need more iron than men. Red cabbage also contributes a large portion of the Vitamin C needed daily. There are many more wonderful health benefits in red cabbage, but how do we incorporate it into the diet.

Quick and Simple Uses

Red cabbage has similar taste to green cabbage and can be used similarly. Grate red cabbage and add to green cabbage when making your favorite cole slaw. Slice it finely and mix it with thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers with an Asian dressing for a great treat. Cabbage of either color can easily be roasted. Cut the heads in half or quarters, depending on their size and roast in the center of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until done as desired. Mix together some balsamic or apple cider vinegar and honey and drizzle over the roasted cabbage.

Cooked Red Cabbage Loses its Color

Know that when cooking red cabbage the lovely purple red color goes a dull blue gray. To rectify this, vinegar or lemon juice is often added, reviving the color to a beautiful and more palatable looking magenta. There are many wonderful recipes for cooked red cabbage, but this is my particular favorite. It is an amalgamation of many recipe ideas, made into my own delicious dish. Red Zinfandel wine is the best choice because of its fruitiness, but another red wine will work, also.

Red Cabbage with Bacon and Apple

3 slices bacon, in 1/2 inch cubes

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 large apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 cup red zinfandel wine

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

In a large fry pan, deep enough to accommodate the cabbage when raw, fry the bacon. When nearly brown, add onion and fry until onion begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add cabbage and saute, tossing with tongs until it has collapsed slightly and is no longer stiff, about 2 to 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to coat with the spices. Add apple slices and wine, cover the pan and reduce heat to medium low and cook till almost tender, about 40 minutes. If the wine has not cooked out, remove cover and boil to reduce to a sheen on bottom of the pan.

Raise heat to medium and add the vinegar, stirring to deglaze the pan, and then add the brown sugar. Stir and cover again, reducing heat to medium low. Continue to cook until liquid is absorbed and cabbage is very tender - about 30 minutes. If cabbage is done, but still has liquid in the pan, raise heat and cook uncovered until liquid has reduced to a glaze.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking and help pass along my love and joy of food. I would love to hear from you! Join my "e-family" and share recipes, stories and good times in the kitchen. Visit my Web site http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/ my Blog at http://www.aharmonyofflavors.blogspot.com/ my Marketplace at or join me on Facebook. Let me know, and I will send you a copy of my monthly news letter full of recipes the latest tips.

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