Cabbage is the backbone of the Brassica family, which includes not only cabbage, but also broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, kohlrabi and other cruciferous vegetables.
The Brassica group is a genus of plants in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops, which is derived from the Latin caulis, meaning stem or cabbage. This genus is remarkable for containing more important agricultural and horticultural crops than any other genus. The genus is native in the wild in western Europe, the Mediterranean and temperate regions of Asia. In addition to the cultivated species, which are grown worldwide, many of the wild species grow as weeds, especially in North America, South America, and Australia, where they also provide food for many species of moths and butterflies.
It was French navigator Jacques Cartier who first brought these noble green heads to the Americas in 1536. While Brassica vegetables in general are highly regarded for their nutritional value, with plenty of vitamins and minerals that provide potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer protection, it is the simple cabbage which often receives special mention throughout history due to its particularly beneficial properties.
As food writer Jim Dixon notes, “Early cabbage fanciers... associated it with good health. Egyptians ate it with vinegar to prevent hangovers, Greeks dribbled cabbage juice into sore eyes, and Romans packed aching muscles with cabbage poultices. Herbalists today recommend cabbage for its anti-inflammatory effects, telling breastfeeding mothers to tuck a few bruised leaves into their bras for relief. It’s got lots of vitamins A, B, C, and E, and last year a study at Georgetown University showed how phytochemicals in cabbage might reduce cancer risks.”
Sesame Braised Cabbage with Leeks
Lazy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
Hungarian Cabbage Strudel
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