It may seem that all varieties of cabbage are created equal, but the differences between red and white cabbage are more than skin deep. Red cabbage tends to have a more robust flavor than its paler cousin and has a wider rage of hues, falling anywhere between dark red and shades of blue, depending on the pH balance of the soil it’s grown in.
Both white and red cabbage have been shown to combat a wide variety of cancers (including colon, breast, prostate and lung) and are remarkably effective in treating peptic ulcers. Red cabbage, however, has also been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease and contains significantly more phytonurtients than white cabbage: just one cup of red cabbage provides 92% of your daily recommended value of vitamin K and 50% of vitamin C (six to eight times more than white cabbage).
Red cabbage retains the most vitamin C when it is whole and chilled, so opt for fresh rather than pre-cut. When selecting fresh cabbage, choose heads that are crisp, firm and have a shine to them. Check the leaves for cracks or bruises as they may indicate damage throughout the plant.
For a sweet twist on a classic red cabbage slaw, check out this week’s recipe for Apple Pecan Coleslaw. You can also try Food & Wine magazine’s Linguine with Red Cabbage for an original take on this cruciferous vegetable.