Cabbage or headed cabbage (comprising several groups of cultivars of Brassica oleracea) is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. Closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, it descends from B. oleracea var. oleracea, a wild field cabbage. Cabbage heads generally range from 0.5 to 4 kilograms (1 to 9 lb), and can be green, purple and white. Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen more rarely. It is a multi-layered vegetable. Under conditions of long sunlit days such as are found at high northern latitudes in summer, cabbages can grow much larger. Some records are discussed at the end of the history section.
It is difficult to trace the exact history of cabbage, but it was most likely domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC, although savoys were not developed until the 16th century. By the Middle Ages, it had become a prominent part of European cuisine. Cabbage heads are generally picked during the first year of the plant's life cycle, but plants intended for seed are allowed to grow a second year, and must be kept separated from other cole crops to prevent cross-pollination. Cabbage is prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as to multiple pests, and bacterial and fungal diseases.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that world production of cabbage and other brassicas for 2011 was almost 69 million metric tons (68 million long tons; 75 million short tons). Almost half of these crops were grown in China, where Chinese cabbage is the most popular Brassica vegetable. Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating. They can be pickled, fermented for dishes such as sauerkraut, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and dietary fiber. Contaminated cabbage has been linked to cases of food-borne illness in humans.
Health benefits of cabbage
The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fresh, dark green-leafy cabbage is incredibly nutritious; but very low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.
The vegetable is a storehouse of phyto-chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, and isothiocyanates. These compounds are powerful antioxidants and known to help protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.
Fresh cabbage is an excellent source of natural antioxidant, vitamin C. Provides 36.6 mg or about 61% of RDA per 100 g. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value) is 508 µmol TE/100 g. Red cabbages contain more antioxidant value, 2252 µmol TE/100 g.
It is also rich in essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.
It also contains a adequate amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.
Cabbage is a very good source of vitamin K, provides about 63% of RDA levels. Vitamin-K has the potential role in bone metabolism through promoting osteotrophic activity. So enough of vitamin K in the diet would gives you healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K also has established role in the cure of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage inside their brain.
Cabbage Curry Recipe
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
1 tbsp. oil or as needed
½ tsp cumin / jeera
¼ to ½ tsp mustard
¾ to 1 tsp ginger or ginger garlic paste or grated
1 large thinly sliced onion
1 large finely chopped tomato
salt as needed
a pinch of turmeric
½ tsp red chili powder
¾ tsp garam masala or sambar powder as needed
¼ cup green peas or 2 tbsp. chana dal (soaked and cooked)
2 to 3 cups chopped cabbage
few finely chopped coriander leaves
Remove the outer leaves of cabbage and cut to quarters. Soak them in salted water for sometime. Cut and discard the core. Chop the cabbage and set aside. Alternately, chop the cabbage and add to salted water. Drain off and set aside.
Add oil to a hot. When the oil turns hot, add mustard and cumin. when they begin to sizzle, add ginger garlic and fry till it turns aromatic.
Add sliced onions and fry till they turn transparent.
Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Fry until the tomatoes turn mushy and soft. Add spice powders and fry for a minute for the raw smell to go away.
Add green peas and then saute for a minute.
Add chopped and drained cabbage. Stir for the masala to coat the cabbage well and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Fry until the cabbage is cooked to your liking. If needed cover and cook.
Sprinkle Coriander leaves.
Serve with rice or roti.