Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var capitata) is a close relative of the more commonly available green or almost white cabbage. A plant that is traced back to the 1st century in the Mediterranean, cabbage figures prominently in several national cuisines. A hardy, economical and versatile vegetable, it can be cooked quickly, included in soups, eaten as a salad or pickled. At the market last week there were some terrific specimens of red cabbage on offer and since I only seem to notice this variety from about February through June or so, I picked up several heads of cabbage. Its English name, cabbage, is apparently derived from the French word â€œcabocheâ€ meaning “head”, according to Wikipediaâ€™s on-line dictionary.
Apparently, the type of soil the cabbage is grown in affects its colorâ€¦ the more acidic the soil, the “redder” it appears (thought it almost always seems purple-ly) while more alkaline soil results in a “bluer” cabbage. We always seem to have deep burgundy-ish looking cabbage from the mountain province. I normally use the red cabbage in my coleslaw to add some color and interest to an otherwise rather boring looking side dish. However, I saw an intriguing recipe for some red cabbage pickle that looked spectacular so I thought I would give it a try (will post results tomorrow) with my bounty of red cabbageâ€¦ For some reason, the stuff is MUCH more expensive than green cabbageâ€¦