Many Icelanders who attempted to buy red cabbage for their Christmas Eve dinner this year came home empty handed, as the vegetable was widely sold out across the Reykjavík capital area, RÚV reports. Gunnar Þorgeirsson, chairman of the board of the Icelandic Association of Horticulture Producers, says production of red cabbage is similar to last year but consumption has increased greatly.
Boiled red cabbage is part of a traditional Christmas Eve dinner in Iceland. Though many Icelanders buy it canned, more and more are preparing it from scratch, or using the traditional ingredient in new ways. “Red cabbage is not necessarily boiled as people did it in the old days rather it has become a consumer product beyond that, which is positive. People use it differently than was done before, for example to consume it more fresh, though of course we continue old traditions and boil it on the feast of St. Þorlákur (23. December) to get that Christmas smell in the house,” stated Gunnar.
Icelandic chef Sveinn Kjartansson says red cabbage has become a trend. “I think more people are boiling cabbage than baking cookies these days,” he stated. “People are preparing more food at home, giving themselves more time during the holidays to cook food. And I think that’s a good thing, people prefer to buy and make it themselves rather than just buy it in a jar.”
Gunnar says consumption of red cabbage has increased in Iceland and expects the trend to continue. Local farmers are looking at increasing its production.