There are over four hundred different varieties of cabbage to choose from these days, from round to conical in shape, with flat or curly, tight or loose leaves in green, white, red, and purple colors. The most common are the round, light green or white head variety.
Savoy cabbage, originating in Italy, has crinkly leaves and is considered the most tender and sweet. It is the better choice for stuffed cabbage leaves since the leaves are more pliable and stand up better to longer cooking times.
Red or Purple Cabbage
Red and purple cabbages take longer to mature, so these types are generally not as tender as green or white varieties. Most often pickled, raw shredded red cabbage also makes a striking addition to traditional green salads.
When cooking with red or purple cabbage, be aware that the compound (anthocyanin) that gives the cabbage that beautiful color will also turn it blue when it is cooked along with any alkaline substance.
Since tap water is often full of alkaline minerals such as lime, be sure to add about 1 teaspoon of an acidic agent, such as lemon juice, vinegar, or wine, to the pot when using tap water. If your red cabbage begins to take on that blue tinge in any recipe, the addition of the acidic agent will usually bring back the original color.
Red cabbage can be used interchangeably in most standard cabbage recipes but be aware that the color will leach into any other ingredients.
More about Cabbage:
- Greens Glorious Greens
- Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
- Vegetables Every Day
- More Cookbooks