Cabbage is any of the various plants of the Capitata Group of the species Brassica.
It is a leafy green, red (purple), or white (pale green) biennial plant grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads.
We don’t know for certain where cabbage appeared for the first time because many plants belong to the family of “brassicas”, they grow around the world and today’s cabbage descends from them.
The most common theory is that The West cabbage is domesticated in Europe some 3,000 years ago from its wild predecessors that had thick leaves that retained water which allowed them to survive in colder places with less water. In the East, cabbage is used since the 4,000 BC and was cultivated in North China. These variants were nonheading cabbages and were domesticated by Celts of central and western Europe.
The ancient Greeks had some varieties of cabbage, as mentioned by Theophrastus, although whether they were more closely related to today’s cabbage or to one of the other Brassica crops is unknown.
The first round-headed cabbages appeared in 14th-century England, and they became more and more popular as cuisine throughout Europe.
The first cabbage in America was brought by a French explorer Jacques Cartier on his third voyage 1541 – 1542.
While there are many different varieties of cabbage, the most common are:
• Green cabbage is the standard cabbage grown commercially, available in grocery stores and from home gardens.
• Red cabbage tastes like green cabbage. When cooked it tends to bleed its color into other foods.
• Savoy cabbage is similar to ordinary cabbage, but with a milder flavor.
The plants grow best in mild to cool climates and tolerate frost; some forms tolerate hard freezing at certain periods of growth.
Cabbage seedlings have a thin taproot and cordate (heart-shaped) cotyledon. The first leaves produced are ovate (egg-shaped) with a lobed petiole. Plants are 40–60 cm (16–24 in) tall in their first year at the mature vegetative stage, and 1.5–2.0 m (4.9–6.6 ft) tall when flowering in the second year.
Heads average between 0.5 and 4 kg (1 and 8 lb), with fast-growing, earlier-maturing varieties producing smaller heads.
Most cabbages have thick, alternating leaves, with margins that range from wavy or lobed to highly dissected; some varieties have a waxy bloom on the leaves. Plants have root systems that are fibrous and shallow. About 90 percent of the root mass is in the upper 20–30 cm (8–12 in) of soil; some lateral roots can penetrate up to 2 m (6.6 ft) deep.
There are 24 calories in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Cabbage.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C and vitamin B6. It is also a very good source of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, folate and copper. Additionally, cabbage is a good source of choline, phosphorus, vitamin B2, magnesium, calcium, selenium, iron, pantothenic acid, protein and niacin.
Cabbages are prepared many different ways for eating; they can be pickled, fermented (for dishes such as sauerkraut), steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw.
The health benefits of cabbage include reducing risk of cancer, improving brain and nervous system health, promoting bone health, maintaining blood pressure, detoxifying the body, promoting bowel regularity, regulating sugar level and promoting weight loss. Other benefits includes improving health of hair, skin and nails, helping prevent or heal acne, healing stomach ulcers, helping care for the heart, promoting healthy pregnancy and boosting immunity.
Cabbage consumption varies widely around the world: Russia has the highest annual per capita consumption at 20 kilograms (44 lb), followed by Belgium at 4.7 kilograms (10 lb), the Netherlands at 4 kilograms (8.8 lb), and Spain at 1.9 kilograms (4.2 lb). Americans consume 3.9 kilograms (8.6 lb) annually per capita.
Many shapes, colors and leaf textures are found in various cultivated varieties of cabbage.
There are several Guinness Book of World Records entries related to cabbage. These include the heaviest cabbage, at 62.71 kilograms (127 lb), heaviest red cabbage, at 23.2 kilograms (138.25 lb), longest cabbage roll, at 15.37 meters (50.4 ft), and the largest cabbage dish, at 925.4 kilograms (2,040 lb).