Brassica oleracea

The Wild Cabbage

Brassica oleracea is a plant species that includes many cultivars, notably cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kohlrabi and kai-lan, just to mention a few

They all belong to the cabbage family Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) along with Brassica rapa (turnip, Chinese cabbage). and, Brassica napus (rapeseed.),  They are rich sources of glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that impart a characteristic pungent aroma when they are cut or cooked.

Brassica oleracea originated in northern Mediterranean and western Europe.

Why you should eat cruciferous vegetables

  • Several studies report that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables is linked to reduced risk of several human cancers.
  • Green leafy vegetables like kale are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and are also a good source of fibre and minerals.
  • Fresh collard green, kale and mustard greens have about as much calcium as whole milk.
  • Tip: most of the green leafy vegetables can be eaten raw, when young and tender, but as they mature and become strongly flavoured,  brief cooking is encouraged.

Grouping of Brassica oleracea cultivars

Cultivars of Brassica oleracea are usually grouped by developmental form into seven major cultivar groups.

  1. Brassica oleracea, Acephala Group-includes leafy greens like kale, collard greens, Marrow Stem Kale, Palm Tree Kale, Portuguese Kale, Thousand Headed Kale. These cultivars look more like the wild cabbage in appearance.
  2. Brassica oleracea, Alboglabra Group: includes one variety, Chinese broccoli (kai-lan or Chinese Kale)
  3. Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group-Cauliflower, Romanesco broccoli, broccoflower
  4. Brassica oleracea Capitata group: cabbage
  5. Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group: Brussels sprouts
  6. Brassica oleracea Gongylodes Group– Kohlrabi (German turnip or turnip cabbage)
  7. Brassica oleracea Italica Group-broccoli

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

2 thoughts

  1. When I was a kid I disliked these vegetables very much, probably because they were always boiled to mush and tasted awful. Now I quite enjoy them because I have learned new ways to cook them, i.e. in soups, stews, or stir frying and one of my favorites is to cut up a bunch of root vegetables, throw in some broccoli, cauliflower and cut inn half Brussels Sprouts, mix them all together in a plastic bag with some olive oil, rosemary, garlic bits and a dash of basil or tarragon. Cook them all for about 1/2 hour at 375, they are delicious. Sometimes I have to cook a little longer depending on the size I cut the pieces into. And of course, raw vegetables with a nice light dip are high up on my list for snacking.
    I’ll bet you are deep into your Christmas preparations right now Liz, but I sure commend you for doing the blog….I miss you when you aren’t there! Have a good one!

    1. Hi Sandy,
      I’ve been overtaken by events. I’m sorry it took me so long to respond to your message.
      We used to eat lots of veggies when we were young. My mum would just sauté onions in some sunflower oil, add fresh tomatoes and cook the veggies for a very short time. So they remained crunchy and nice. I still do the same thing with Kale, cabbage and collard greens. I usually add some spices too.
      I’m not into the craze of drinking kale in a smoothie. It just doesn’t work for me. I don’t mind raw cabbage in homemade slaw or salads. I just don’t like those nasty manufactured sugared slaws. I like my slaw savoury with homemade mayonnaise and a kick of pepper. I’ve been shopping today and now we’re binge watching star wars 1-6. The kids have watched them over and over and over again. I hope you already have your Christmas dinner menu. Mine is halfway done. I have some guests who are vegetarians….so I have to balance meat and veggies. Have a lovely weekend.
      Liz

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