Red cabbage is distinguished by its coloring, texture and flavor. Like Green cabbage it is rounded and wrapped in tightly wound waxy leaves. The leaves are more violet and burgundian versus true red. Their flavor is far more bold, cruciferous and peppery versus Green cabbage, which is also due to the anthocyanin pigments. Red cabbage lacks water weight, which makes its leaves chewier and coarser than Chinese cabbage varieties.
The concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols in Red cabbage provide far greater health benefits than that of Green cabbage varieties. The anthocyanins act as dietary antioxidants, as digestive aids, as an anti-inflammatory, and they have potentially protective, preventative, and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases.
Red cabbage is a staple within the European and New World culinary landscape. It is used in preparations both raw and cooked. It is often pickled fresh and made into sauerkraut. Red cabbage is complimented by varying textures and flavors rich, bold and spicy, such as stewed and grilled meats, cream, olive oil, butter, eggs and cheeses, avocados and chiles. Other companion ingredients include citrus, nuts, garlic, shelling beans, sausages, mushrooms, ginger, fennel, shallots and light-bodied vinegars.