Where am I from?
Now there's a question that still has academics arguing. My wild ancestor (originally found in Britain and continental Europe), inhabits rocky cliffs in cool damp coastal habitats. Some claim the Celts brought me to Europe from Asia around 600 B.C., others reckon I was introduced into Europe by the conquering Romans and then the plant was bred into the familiar form we recognise today. Certainly Cato The Elder (234 - 149 B.C.) knew of 3 varieties and recommended using me soaked in vinegar before a night of heavy drinking!
What do I look like?
I'm available in red, white, green, spring greens and savoy. I range from a tight, round head to a loose, pointy one.
And on the inside?
The outside leaves protect me, so often my inside is lighter in shade. Green and Red Cabbages have smooth-textured leaves and have a more defined taste and crunchy texture as compared to Savoy's more delicate nature.
What do I do?
Caesar's armies carried cabbage with them and used it not only for food, but bound wounds with the leaves to reduce infection. Modern studies do show that cabbage has antibacterial properties and actually reduces inflammation.
Cabbage in general - but Savoy cabbage in particular - is an especially good source of sinigrin. Sinigrin is one of the cabbage glucosinolates that has been studied in cancer prevention research. The sinigrin in cabbage can be converted into allyl-isothiocyanate, or AITC. This isothiocyanate compound has shown unique cancer preventive properties with respect to bladder cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.
The rich red colour of red cabbage reflects it concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which contribute to red cabbage containing significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. Interest in anthocyanin pigments continues to intensify because of their health benefits as dietary antioxidants, as an anti-inflammatory, and their potentially protective, preventative, and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases.
in the Real Foods Fresh Fruit and Veg webshop under brassicas.
Or search for cabbage in the shop if you'd like to see tinned or jarred alternatives.