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Brassica oleracea Capitata Group

From The Plant Encyclopedia

Cabbage

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Cabbages

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Brassica oleracea Capitata Group

Species Brassica oleracea

Aden Earth Zone

3 - 16

Cultivation

  • Cultivation: Easy-To-Grow, For-Gardeners
  • Light: Sun
  • Soil: Rich
  • pH: 7
  • Moisture: Medium, Well-Drained

Characteristics

  • Form: Herbaceous
  • Habit: Annual
  • Flower: Small, White
  • Fruit/Seed: Small
  • Foliage: Leaves, Green, Purple
  • Uses: Edible, Ornamental, Industrial

About

Cabbage is a popular Cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae) and is used as a Leafy green vegetable. It is a Herbaceous, biennial, Dicotyledonous Flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbagehead).

The plant is also called head cabbage or heading cabbage, and in Scotland a bowkail, from its rounded shape. The Scots call its stalk a castock, and the British occasionally call its head a loaf. It is in the same genus as the Turnip – Brassica rapa.



"Ornamental Cabbage"

Ornamental Cabbage, is a coloquial term used by garden centers to see what is actually a Kale. 

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History

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The cultivated cabbage is derived from a leafy plant called the wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean region, where it is common along the seacoast. Also called sea cabbage and wild cabbage, it was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans; Cato the Elder praised this vegetable for its medicinal properties, declaring that "It is the cabbage that surpasses all other vegetables." The English name derives from the Normanno-Picard caboche (head), perhaps from boche (swelling, bump). Cabbage was developed by ongoing artificial selection for suppression of the internode length.

Uses

The only part of the plant that is normally eaten is the leafy head; more precisely, the spherical cluster of immature leaves, excluding the partially unfolded outer leaves. Cabbage is used in a variety of dishes for its naturally spicy flavor. The so-called "cabbage head" is widely consumed raw, cooked, or preserved in a great variety of dishes. It is the principal ingredient in Coleslaw.

Cooked

 
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Cabbage is often added to Soups or Stews. Cabbage soup is popular in Central and eastern Europe, andcabbage is an ingredient in some kinds of Borscht. Garbure (from Provençal garburo) is a thick soup of cabbage or other vegetables with bacon. Cabbage may be an ingredient in Kugel, a baked pudding served as a side dish or dessert. Cabbage is also used in many popular dishes in India. Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases Sugars, which leads to the characteristic "cabbage" aroma. Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized because of its strong cooking odor and the fact that it causes Flatulence. Moreover, boiling reduces the cabbage's anti-cancer properties. It is often prepared and served with boiled meat and other vegetables as part of a boiled dinner. Harold McGee has studied the development of unpleasant smells when cooking Brassicas and reports that they develop with prolonged cooking. According to Corriher's Compendium smell doubles when prolonging cooking from 5 to 7 minutes; for best results cabbage should be sliced thinly and cooked for 4 minutes.

Cabbage rolls, a type of Dolma, are an East European and Middle Eastern delicacy. The leaves are softened by Parboiling or by placing the whole head of cabbage in the freezer, and then stuffed with a mixture of chopped meat and/or rice. Stuffed cabbage is called Holishkes in Yiddish. A vegetable stuffed with shredded cabbage and then pickled is called mango.

The largest cabbage dish ever made was on 19 December 2008 in the Macedonian city of Prilep, with 80,191 sarmas (cabbage rolls) weighing 544 kg (1,221 lbs). Bubble and squeak consists of potatoes and cabbage or, especially formerly, potatoes, cabbage and meat fried together. Potatoes and cabbage or other greens boiled and mashed together make up a dish called Colcannon, an Irish Gaelic word meaning white-headed cabbage, grounded in Old Irish terms for cabbage or kale (cāl), head (cend or cenn) and white (find). In the American South and Midland, corn dodgers were boiled as dumplings with cabbage and ham.

Fermented and preserved

Cabbage is the basis for Sauerkraut. Chinese Suan cai and Korean Kimchi are produced using the related Chinese cabbage. To pickle cabbage it is covered with a brine made of its own juice with salt, and left in a warm place for several weeks to ferment. Sauerkraut (colloquially referred to as "kraut") was historically prepared at home in large batches, as a way of storing food for the winter. The word comes from German sauer (sour) and kraut (plant or cabbage) (Old High German sūr and krūt). Cabbage can also be pickled in vinegar with various spices, alone or in combination with other vegetables (turnips can be cured in the same way). Korean Baechu kimchi is usually sliced thicker than its European counterpart, and the addition of onions, chiles, minced garlic and ginger is common.

Medicinal properties

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of Glutamine, an Amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. Cabbage can also be included in Dieting programs, as it is a low calorie food.

Along with Broccoli and other Brassica vegetables, cabbage is a source of Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. The compound is also used as an adjuvant therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus (usually types 6 and 11) that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death. Boiling reduces anti-cancer properties.

In European folk medicine, cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be placed in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

Fresh cabbage juice has been shown to promote rapid healing of Peptic ulcers.Cabbage is also known for slowing down growing cancer cells. 

Effect on the Thyroid Gland

Cabbage may also act as a Goitrogen. It blocks Organification in thyroid cells, thus inhibiting the production of the thyroid hormones (Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine). The result is an increased secretion of Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) due to low thyroid hormone levels. This increase in TSH results in an enlargement of the thyroid gland (Goiter).

Varieties

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There are many varieties of cabbage based on shape and time of maturity. Cabbages grown late in autumn and in the beginning of winter are called coleworts; their leaves do not form a compact head. "Colewort" may also refer to a young cabbage. The word comes from Latin caulis (stalk of a plant, cabbage) and Old English wyrt (herb, plant, root). A drumhead cabbage has a rounded, flattened head. An oxheart cabbage has an oval or conical head. A pickling cabbage, such as the red-leafed cabbage, is especially suitable for pickling; krautman is the most common variety for commercial production of sauerkraut. Red cabbage is a small, round-headed type with dark red leaves. Savoy cabbage has a round, compact head with crinkled and curled leaves. Winter cabbage will survive the winter in the open in mild regions such as the southern United States; the name is also used for Savoy cabbage. Other traditional varieties include White cabbage, "Late Flat Dutch", "Early Jersey Wakefield" (a conical variety) and "Danish Ballhead" (late, round-headed).

Related Brassica varieties and species

Besides cabbage proper, the species Brassica oleracea has many distinctive Cultivars that are commonly known by other names. They include: Broccoli (Italica Group); Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group), whose edible small green heads resemble diminutive cabbages; Cauliflower (Botrytis Group), whose flower cluster is used as a vegetable; Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra Group); Kale or spring greens, a very hardy cabbage (Acephala group) that has curled, often finely cut leaves that do not form a dense head, and that some consider to be the original form of the cultivated cabbage; Collard greens, a type of kale; and Kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), having an edible stem that becomes greatly enlarged, fleshy and turnip-shaped. Hybrids include Broccolini (Italica × Alboglabra Group), Broccoflower (Italica × Botrytis Group) and choumoelliera or marrow cabbage (cabbage, kohlrabi and kale).

There are two species of Chinese cabbage (lettuce cabbage, pakchoi, pechay) from Asia that somewhat resemble cabbage and are widely used as greens: Brassica chinensis, bok choy or celery cabbage, which forms a loose, chardlike head of dark green leaves, and Brassica pekinensis, or pe-tsai (peh-tsai), forming an elongated compact head of broad, light green leaves. Rape, an annual herb (Brassica napus) of European origin but known only as a cultigen, differs from the cabbage in its deeply lobed leaves, which are not hairy like those of the turnip.