Vegetable Of The Week CABBAGE


cabbage

The cabbage is a popular cultivar of a 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 English call its head a loaf[citation needed]. It is in the same genus as the turnip – Brassica rapa L.

Cabbage leaves often display a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom. The sharp or bitter taste sometimes present in cabbage is due to glucosinolate(s). Cabbages are also a good source of Riboflavin.

History

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 which 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.

Cooked

Cabbage is often added to soups or stews. Cabbage soup is popular in central Europe and eastern Europe, and cabbage 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 belief that it causes flatulence. Boiled cabbage as an accompaniment to meats and other dishes can be an excellent source of vitamins and dietary fiber. 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.

Bulgarian CabbageThe largest cabbage dish is made in Macedonian city of Prilep, with 80,191 sarmas (cabbage rolls).

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 the German sauerkraut, Chinese suan cai and Korean kimchi. To pickle cabbage it is cut fine, placed in a jar, 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 simply “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, chillies, papaya, gin, 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 which has anti-inflammatory properties. Cabbage can also be included in dieting programs, as it is a negative calorie food.

It is a source of indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, a compound used as an adjuvent therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death.

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.

Varieties

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.

Recipes:

Here in Ayesha’s Kitchen you can Find number of recipes For cabbage:

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KJ
    Jan 31, 2010 @ 06:00:11

    Great post! I used your photo in my blog post (with credit). I hope you don’t mind!

    http://kjlivinglively.com/2010/01/30/the-colors-of-health-red-gold-and-green/

    Reply

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