Brassica Oleracea Var. Capitata
|Origin||:||The Middle East|
|Height||:||16 inches (40 cm)|
|Flowering||:||late spring (from the second year)|
|Properties||:||antibacterial, anti-scurvy, diuretic|
It is said that this vegetable was already bred in Antiquity from the wild, or sea cabbage, found on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The aim was to obtain a greater number of leaves which were even more serrated. After several rigorous selection, common cabbage and savoy cabbage were developed. These cabbages have smooth leaves and come in two different shapes and three different colors.
The heads of horticultural varieties of cabbage range in shape from pointed, through globular, to flat; from soft to hard in structure; through various shades of green, grey-green, and magenta or red. In Alsace there is a green cabbage, which is picked to make choucroute, or as it is known in Germany “ sauerkraut.” These are very ancient herbal plants.
All these forms of cabbage have a hard head formed by the grouping of entire, smooth, grossly veined leaves and a compact voluminous head with a few external leaves. The entire structure is supported by a deformed stem. The young flowers have four petals and four opposing, cross shaped sepals. They bear fruit known as siliques with two valves which open upon maturity releasing the seeds. There are of course some differences among these cabbages: red cabbage is the smallest one with a more pronounced and pungent taste than that of white cabbage, which has a sweet taste. Both are eaten raw in salads or pickled.
Cabbage is easy to cultivate and is a major table vegetable is most countries of the temperate zone. It can be kept fresh in the refrigerator or frozen after being blanched. Cabbage has a high water content and is rich in carbohydrates, nitrogen and fatty acids. It has few calories and a lot of vitamin C, which is why it is used to prevent scurvy, viral infections and anaemia. Because it contains sulphur derivatives it also has antibacterial properties.