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When people begin to experience cooler fall weather, their thoughts might turn to apples.

Although most fruits and vegetables are available all year round in the supermarket, they taste best when they are local and in season. If nature had cooperated with more precipitation, my garden would have been filled with budding heads of cabbage. Fortunately, the rest of York County received sufficient rain, and fresh cabbage is abundant in farmers markets now.

While green cabbage has never had much of a fan base, red cabbage sparks more interest on the dinner plate. It is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten cooked or raw.

If you are eating blueberries for their health benefits, consider red cabbage as a much cheaper alternative. It contains the same anthocyanins, phytochemicals that nutritionists believe have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A favorite way of mine to prepare red cabbage is in a raw slaw. It comes together quickly and travels well because it contains no mayonnaise. Although usually labeled red cabbage, the actual color is a beautiful magenta. The contrast of the bright cabbage color and the orange of the shredded carrots make it as appealing to the eye as to the palate.

Red cabbage slaw is crunchy, fresh and slightly sweet. The celery seeds bring the dressing together with a powerful punch.

Red Cabbage Slaw

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons celery seed

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

A few grindings of black pepper

1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, grated on the coarse side of the grater

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup golden raisins

In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, celery seed, salt and pepper. Add the cabbage, carrots, red onion and raisins and toss to coat well. Cover and let sit at least an hour to meld the flavors.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.

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