Brassica oleracea, Capitata group
also known as, Chou Pommé (Fr), Chou cabus (Fr), Couve repolho (P)
Cabbage evolved in North Western Europe, in early mid ages, when farmers developed compact headed varieties that survived frost, from leafy unbranched thin-stemmed kales. These compact varieties were important winter vegetables and cabbage became one of the most important vegetables in the 18th Century Europe. It was later introduced worldwide.
In tropical and subtropical regions, cabbage cultivation is restricted to cooler highlands and high altitudes. In Africa, cabbage, is very common in East Africa and Egypt. Top producers in order of importance are: China, India, Russia, Japan, S. Korea and Ukraine
There are over 300 cultivars of cabbage worldwide. Commercially cultivated cabbage can be divided into 5 general types: (1) Danish (2) Domestic (3) Pointed (4) Red and (5) Savoy. Red headed cabbage and savoy headed cabbage are of economic importance mainly in Europe and America.
- Danish Type: the danish type is green in colour, has a solid rounded or oval head with compact leaves.
- Domestic Type: the domestic type is also green, has a less compact, round or flattened head, with with curled leaves that are more tender and crisp than Danish type
- Pointed Type: the pointed type is green in colour, with a pointed or conical head and is usually smaller than the Danish or Domestic types.
- Savoy Type: is yellowish green with crinkly leaves
- Red Type: has ruby red to purple outer leaves, with white veins or streaks, inside.
Flavour of Cabbage
The characteristic flavour of cabbage: is caused by glucosinolates, a class of sulphur containing glucosides. Cooked cabbage is often criticized for its pungent unpleasant odour and taste. This develops when cabbage is overcooked and hydrogen sulphide gas is produced in the process. To avoid the unpleasant smell, eat raw cabbage (as slaw) or cook it briefly.
Nutrition of Cabbage
- Cabbage supplies much of vitamin C during the winter moths for populations in very cold parts of Eastern Europe.
- Cabbage is also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin B, folate, and dietary fibre.
- Cabbages can be steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised or eaten raw.
- They can also be pickled or fermented for dishes such as sauerkraut and Kimchi.
- The cabbage used for processing sauerkraut is larger, with a lower percentage of water.
- Cabbage is used as an ingredient in soups, such as the minestrone soup, above.
- Kimchi is more often made from Chinese Cabbage, Brassica rapa, a different species from Brassica oleracea.
- British dish bubble and squeak is made from left over potato and cabbage and eaten with cold meat.
- Cabbage is very prominent in polish cuisine.
- In the USA, cabbage is used for production of coleslaw.
- Savoy Cabbage is mainly used in salads
Cabbage and Health
- Cabbage is high on the list for anticancer foods. It contains nitrogenous compounds Indole and dietary fibre and both lower the risk of cancer.
- Excessive consumption of cabbage may lead to gas and bloating due to trisaccharide raffinose since human small intestine cannot digest it.
- Availability: cabbage stores well so there is always a good suppy.