Until recently, it had never occurred to me to buy a red cabbage. Green cabbage was seldom on the grocery list, in fact. I just wasn’t crazy about cabbage aside from the occasional use in slaw or soup. I can’t remember exactly what started it, but about a year ago I started shredding red cabbage into salad and I have been hooked ever since. The crazy thing is that it is more about color than taste. Which leads me to wonder exactly how much the appearance of what I am eating enhances my perception of taste? Obviously great chefs are aware of this phenomenon and I am sure plenty of interesting scientific studies have been devised around this subject. However, I am satisfied just to revel in the intense purple against green lettuce, spinach, or even kale. Throw in some bright yellow corn and my eating bliss is complete. Other fringe benefits of red cabbage: it’s really cheap, stays good for a very long time, and my guess is that it is pretty healthy, as well.
So spurred on by my new culinary inspiration I planted red cabbage this year in the garden. So far, the plants are gorgeous with green and purple giant leaves, but no cabbage “head” yet. I keep looking in anticipation as the inner leaves curl ever tighter. These cabbages are my “experimental” plant this year in the garden, and so far much better than the celery experiment last year which never actually emerged from the soil. Will I notice the difference between store bought and home grown cabbage? At this point I suspect no, but the beauty of it in my garden may make it an annual planting anyway.