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Popular world wide, especially in Asia, cabbage is a leafy vegetable in the broccoli and cauliflower family of “brassicas”, and comes in many varieties and colors, from deep red to dark purple and from white to jade green. Cabbage was probably a wild plant with thick leaves that helped retain water and protected the plant from cold, and was domesticated around 4,000 BC in North China, then spread by way of the Celts to western Europe. Ancient Romans considered cabbage a luxury and valued its medicinal properties for healing gout and headaches.
Savoy cabbage has a sweeter, more delicate flavor, while Asian Pak Choi has a crisper and milder flavor than the more common red and green cabbage. Red cabbage adds a colorful touch to salads or as a side dish, but be careful, as it will leach color if cooked with other vegetables.
This nutritious vegetable contains almost no fat, but is high in fiber, vitamins A, B-6, folate, C & K and magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, and protein, although purple cabbage has a higher content of vitamin C, while the savoy is a better source for Vitamin A, calcium, iron and potassium. Cabbage is also rich in powerful antioxidants which reduce risk of cancer and help prevent heart disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, improve the skin and strengthen bones, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost the immune system and aids digestion.
Cabbage is best known served as coleslaw, German red cabbage and sauerkraut, and with Irish corned beef, but this versatile vegetable can also be boiled or roasted, stuffed with hamburger, used in cabbage rolls, chow mein and soups, or chopped raw into salads.
Generally a cooler weather plant, place your St. Clare Heirloom cabbage seeds in the ground about 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost, but be sure to check the planting instructions on the package, which can vary, depending on the variety.
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