Sunday, November 22, 2009

Red Cabbage Wonders

Irresistible. Each and every time I cut into a red cabbage, I am amazed at the graphic beauty of it. I cannot get over that bright plum (cabbage?) purple, swirled into mazes that fold over each other in beautiful randomness.

And every time I cut into one I think to myself, "Someday, I'm going to give this cabbage the props it deserves." I dream of painting, drawing, knitting or interpreting in silver this boldly contrasting composition. I'm working up to that, but this weekend we did do a little experimenting with the color.

I boiled the cabbage for about a half hour, allowing all the pigment to leach out and boil down to a slightly thicker liquid. The result was this inky, deep purple dye.

We soaked some cotton string and fabric scraps in the dye and they dried this gorgeous amethyst color. The girls have big plans for me to knit stuffed animal hats with this string, and make clothes for their soft friends with the fabric. We shall see...

Of course, we ate the remainder of that cabbage. There is an excellent recipe for Red Cabbage with Lemon and Black Pepper, in A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg (Of Orangette fame). If you haven't picked this book up yet, I highly recommend it. Our favorites from that book also include Tomato Soup with Two Fennels, and Custard-Filled Corn Bread. yum-y!


  1. The colour of that string is amazing - I never knew you could do that! I love the 'Homemade life' book too but have never tried that recipe - can't wait to give both a try - thanks for the inspiration :)

  2. Oh this is beautiful and inspiring! I agree, the red cabbage is so graphic and colourful! Fun that you could make something to eat with it too!

  3. I can't believe that color - amazing!

  4. I came to think of prints, like potato prints? What an incredible pattern this is!

    I was shopping for groceries today, and came to a halt when I saw quartered, red cabbages, and thought of your inspirational post! :)

  5. Kate, I'd love to see some red cabbage prints, should you get around to it! I wonder if the pattern would translate? It would be gorgeous, I'm sure...