Brassica oleracea, Capitata group
Also known as purple cabbage, red kraut, or blue kraut (turns blue when cooked) The red cabbage is similar in flavour to green, but has solid, deep ruby red to purple outer leaves, with white veins or streaks inside. The colour comes from plant pigments known as anthocyanins, which are usually affected by soil pH value. In acidic soils, the leaves grow more reddish, in neutral soils they will grow more purple, while an alkaline soil, will produce rather greenish-yellow coloured cabbages. On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn blue. To retain the red colour it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit or ingredient to the pot.
The red cabbage has smaller and denser heads than green cabbage. The texture of the leaves is somewhat tougher than that of green cabbage.
It has almost twice the dietary fibre of regular cabbage, ten times more vitamin A and twice the iron. It also has more vitamin C, nearly 100% of RDA in 3.5oz (100g) serving.
Red cabbage is mainly used for salads, coleslaw and pickling. It’s popular in German cuisine as a side dish.
Varieties of red cabbage include: Danish Stonehead, Mamoth Red Rock, Red Acre, Red Danish, and Round Red Dutch.
Example of Taiwanese cultivars: of red cabbage are: ‘Scarlet’ and ‘Sunny Side’, ‘Red Ball’.
Grouping of Brassica oleracea cultivars
Cultivars of Brassica oleracea are usually grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups.
- Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group-includes leafy greens like kale, collard greens, Marrow Stem Kale, Palm Tree Kale, Portuguese Kale, Thousand Headed Kale. These cultivars look more like the wild cabbage in appearance.
- Brassica oleracea, Alboglabra Group: includes one variety, Chinese broccoli (kai-lan or Chinese Kale)
- Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group-Cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, broccoflower
- Brassica oleracea Capitata group: cabbage
- Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group: Brussels sprouts
- Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group– Kohlrabi (German turnip or turnip cabbage)
- Brassica oleracea Italica Group-broccoli