Red cabbage is coarser than green and, especially when served raw, needs a little more attention, more seasoning, and a bright, sharp dressing to draw out its sweetness. It should feel firm and heavy, with shiny leaves laid tightly against one another.
Store it in a cool environment such as your fridge, basement, or garage, and when you're ready to prep, remove any outer leaves that look wilted or scraggly. Then, proceed with preparing as your recipe directs. If you're preparing the cabbage for a raw salad, cut it in half from pole to pole, then remove the triangular-shaped core in each half with a sharp knife. Cooking it instead? Boiling it for a couple of minutes in salted water should remove some of its pungency.