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The cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne (Capitata Group) of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae), and is used as a leafy green vegetable. It is a herbaceous, biennial, dicotyledonous flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves, usually green but in some varieties red or purplish, which while immature form a characteristic compact, globular cluster (cabbagehead).

The plant is also called head cabbage or heading cabbage, and in Scotland a bowkail, from its rounded shape. The Scots call its stalk a castock, and the English call its head a loaf . It is in the same genus as the turnip – Brassica rapa L.

Cabbage leaves often display a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom. The sharp or bitter taste sometimes present in cabbage is due to glucosinolate(s). Cabbages are also a good source of riboflavin.

History

The cultivated cabbage is derived from a leafy plant called the wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterraneanmarker region, where it is common along the seacoast. Also called sea cabbage and wild cabbage, it was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans; Cato the Elder praised this vegetable for its medicinal properties, declaring that "It is the cabbage which surpasses all other vegetables." The English name derives from the Normanno-Picard caboche (head), perhaps from boche (swelling, bump). Cabbage was developed by ongoing artificial selection for suppression of the internode length.

Uses

The only part of the plant that is normally eaten is the leafy head; more precisely, the spherical cluster of immature leaves, excluding the partially unfolded outer leaves. Cabbage is used in a variety of dishes for its naturally spicy flavor. The so-called "cabbage head" is widely consumed raw, cooked, or preserved in a great variety of dishes. It is the principal ingredient in coleslaw.

Cooked

Cabbage is often added to soups or stews. Cabbage soup is popular in Central and eastern Europe, and cabbage is an ingredient in some kinds of borscht. Garbure (from Provençal garburo) is a thick soup of cabbage or other vegetables with bacon. Cabbage may be an ingredient in kugel, a baked pudding served as a side dish or dessert. Cabbage is also used in many popular dishes in India.

Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases sugars, which leads to the characteristic "cabbage" aroma. Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized because of its strong cooking odor and the belief that it causes flatulence. Boiled cabbage as an accompaniment to meats and other dishes can be an excellent source of vitamins and dietary fiber. It is often prepared and served with boiled meat and other vegetables as part of a boiled dinner. Harold McGee has studied the development of unpleasant smells when cooking brassicas and reports that they develop with prolonged cooking. According to Corriher's Compendium smell doubles when prolonging cooking from 5 to 7 minutes; for best results cabbage should be sliced thinly and cooked for 4 minutes.

Cabbage rolls, a type of dolma, are an East European and Middle Eastern delicacy. The leaves are softened by parboiling or by placing the whole head of cabbage in the freezer, and then stuffed with a mixture of chopped meat and/or rice. Stuffed cabbage is called holishkes in Yiddish. A vegetable stuffed with shredded cabbage and then pickled is called mango.
The largest cabbage dish ever made was on 19 December 2008 in the Macedonianmarker city of Prilepmarker, with 80,191 sarmas (cabbage rolls) weighing 544 kg (1,221 lbs).Bubble and squeak consists of potatoes and cabbage or, especially formerly, potatoes, cabbage and meat fried together. Potatoes and cabbage or other greens boiled and mashed together make up a dish called colcannon, an Irish Gaelic word meaning white-headed cabbage, grounded in Old Irish terms for cabbage or kale (cāl), head (cend or cenn) and white (find). In the American South and Midland, corn dodgers were boiled as dumplings with cabbage and ham.

Fermented and preserved

Cabbage is the basis for the German sauerkraut, Chinese suan cai and Korean kimchi. To pickle cabbage it is covered with a brine made of its own juice with salt, and left in a warm place for several weeks to ferment. Sauerkraut (colloquially referred to simply "kraut") was historically prepared at home in large batches, as a way of storing food for the winter. The word comes from German sauer (sour) and kraut (plant or cabbage) (Old High German sūr and krūt). Cabbage can also be pickled in vinegar with various spices, alone or in combination with other vegetables (turnips can be cured in the same way). Korean baechu kimchi is usually sliced thicker than its European counterpart, and the addition of onions, chillies, papaya, gin, minced garlic and ginger is common.

Medicinal properties

Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid which has anti-inflammatory properties. Cabbage can also be included in dieting programs, as it is a low calorie food.

It is a source of indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, a compound used as an adjuvant therapy for recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a disease of the head and neck caused by human papillomavirus (usually types 6 and 11) that causes growths in the airway that can lead to death.

In European folk medicine, cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be placed in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort. Some claim it is effective in relieving painfully engorged breasts in breastfeeding women.

Fresh cabbage juice has been shown to promote rapid healing of peptic ulcers .

Varieties

Cultivar Unknown
There are many varieties of cabbage based on shape and time of maturity. Cabbages grown late in autumn and in the beginning of winter are called coleworts; their leaves do not form a compact head. "Colewort" may also refer to a young cabbage. The word comes from Latin caulis (stalk of a plant, cabbage) and Old English wyrt (herb, plant, root). A drumhead cabbage has a rounded, flattened head. An oxheart cabbage has an oval or conical head. A pickling cabbage, such as the red-leafed cabbage, is especially suitable for pickling; krautman is the most common variety for commercial production of sauerkraut. Red cabbage is a small, round-headed type with dark red leaves. Savoy cabbage has a round, compact head with crinkled and curled leaves. Winter cabbage will survive the winter in the open in mild regions such as the southern United States; the name is also used for Savoy cabbage. Other traditional varieties include "Late Flat Dutch", "Early Jersey Wakefield" (a conical variety) and "Danish Ballhead" (late, round-headed).

Production

Chinamarker is the leader in production of cabbages followed by Indiamarker and then the Russian Federationmarker.

Top ten cabbage producers — 11 June 2008
Country Production (Tonnes) Footnote
World 69214270


Sometimes young cabbages are picked early when it is tender and small, and it is eaten as "baby veggies". Those vegetables are more tender and sweet then older picked cabbages, and can store for a longer time

Diseases

Among the many destructive diseases affecting the cabbage and often other members of the cabbage family are:
  • blackleg or black stem, caused by certain fungi (such as Phoma lingam); lesions in the stem near the soil surface become sunken and dark, and may girdle the stem
  • black ring or black ring spot, caused by a virus; necrotic, dark and often sunken rings on the leaf surface
  • black rot, caused by a bacterium (Xanthomonas campestris)
  • cabbagehead, abnormal growth in rutabagas caused by larvae of a gall midge (Contarinia nasturtii) feeding in basal part of the stalks
  • cabbage yellows or cabbage wilt, caused by a fungus (Fusarium oxysporum or Fusarium conglutinans); yellowing and dwarfing
  • clubroot, common, caused by a protist (Plasmodiophora brassicae), formerly classified as a slime mold; swellings or distortions of the root, followed often by decline in vigor or by death
  • wire stem, caused by a fungus (Pellicularia filamentosa or Rhizoctonia solani); constricted, wiry stem; similar to damping-off but attacks older seedlings


Pests

(See also List of Lepidoptera that feed on Brassica).

Many insects and other pests infest cabbage plants, among them:
  • cabbage worm, any of numerous insect larvae that feed on cabbages:
    • imported cabbage worm, the green larva of the cabbage butterfly or cabbage white, any of several largely white butterflies (family Pieridae, type genus Pieris, garden whites); they include a small cosmopolitan form (P. rapae), called also small white; a larger Old World form (P. brassicae), called also large white; a common North American form (P. protodice), called also checkered white or southern cabbage butterfly; and the green-veined white (P. napi), occurring in Europe and North America; larvae eat the leaves, are toxic to animals that consume the infested foliage
    • cabbage moth or diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) larva, cosmopolitan of European origin
    • cabbage webworm (Hellula undalis), widely distributed, native to southern Europe or Asia, destructive in the U.S. Gulf states
    • cutworm
  • cabbage aphid, cabbage aphis or turnip aphid, widely distributed and destructive grayish green plant louse (Brevicoryne brassicae); lives on leaves
  • cabbage curculio, small weevil (Ceutorhynchus rapae); feeds within stems and on leaves
  • cabbage fly, cabbage root fly, root fly or turnip fly (Hylemya brassicae or Delia radicum, family Anthomyiidae), adult of small white cabbage maggot or root maggot that feeds in roots and stems
  • cabbage-leaf miner, small fly (Phytomyza rufipes) whose maggot is injurious
  • cabbage looper, pale green, white-striped measuring worm (Trichoplusia ni), larva of a moth of the family Noctuidae; feeds on leaves
  • cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus assimilis), small, grayish black; related to the cabbage curculio but smaller; feeds on and destroys developing seeds
  • cabbage snake, nematode worm of the family Mermithidae, parasitic on insect pests
  • gamma moth or silver Y moth (Plusia gamma) larva; migratory European noctuid moth having a bright silvery Y-shaped mark on each fore wing
  • harlequin cabbage bug (Murgantia histrionica), black stinkbug in tropical America and the warmer parts of the United States
  • serpentine leaf miner, grub that is the larva of a small fly (Liriomyza brassicae); eats out slender, white, winding burrows in the leaves
  • striped flea beetle (Phyllotreta striolata); has a yellow line on each elytron
  • zebra caterpillar, larva of an American noctuid moth (Ceramica picta); light yellow with a broad black stripe on the back and lateral stripes crossed with white


Related Brassica varieties and species

Besides cabbage proper, the species Brassica oleracea has many distinctive cultivars which are commonly known by other names. They include: broccoli (Italica Group); Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group), whose edible small green heads resemble diminutive cabbages; cauliflower (Botrytis Group), whose flower cluster is used as a vegetable; Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra Group); kale or spring greens, a very hardy cabbage (Acephala group) that has curled, often finely cut leaves which do not form a dense head, and that some consider to be the original form of the cultivated cabbage; collard greens, a type of kale; and kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), having an edible stem that becomes greatly enlarged, fleshy and turnip-shaped. Hybrids include broccolini (Italica × Alboglabra Group), broccoflower (Italica × Botrytis Group) and choumoelliera or marrow cabbage (cabbage, kohlrabi and kale).

There are two species of Chinese cabbage (lettuce cabbage, pakchoi, pechay) from Asia that somewhat resemble cabbage and are widely used as greens: Brassica chinensis, bok choy or celery cabbage, which forms a loose, chardlike head of dark green leaves, and Brassica pekinensis, or pe-tsai (peh-tsai), forming an elongated compact head of broad, light green leaves. Rape, an annual herb (Brassica napus) of European origin but known only as a cultigen, differs from the cabbage in its deeply lobed leaves, which are not hairy like those of the turnip.

Other 'cabbage' plants

A number of other non-cruciferous plants bear the name "cabbage" or are likened to it by their appearance, though many are not food plants with parts for human consumption.

  • Several palms called cabbage palm or cabbage tree have a terminal bud (cabbage, palm cabbage or palmito) eaten like cabbage as a vegetable, including:
    • assai palm (palmiste, royal palm, sago palm, Euterpe edulis)
    • cabbage palmetto (palm cabbage, palm thatch, pond top, pond top palmetto, sabal palmetto, swamp cabbage, species Sabal palmetto), a fan palm with an edible young terminal bud called heart of palm
    • Cussonia genus, an araliaceous tree
    • Livistona, especially L. australis, from Australia, from whose fibrous leaves the cabbage-tree hat is plaited
    • mountain palm (Roystonea oleracea), a tall West Indian palm, the source of partridgewood
    • saw cabbage palm (saw palmetto, Paurotis wrightii)
    • ti (Cordyline australis), a medium-sized New Zealand tree


  • Other kinds of trees seen as bearing a resemblance include:
    • cabbage bark (genus Andira), also called angelim or worm bark, whose bark (cabbage bark) is sometimes used in medicine as a vermifuge
    • Surinam cabbage tree (Andira retusa), having bark that is used as an anthelmintic and cathartic
    • black cabbage tree (Melanodendron integrifolium), with a campanulate involucre about the flower head
    • cabbage gum (especially Eucalyptus pauciflora and E. virgata), probably so called from the fleshy leaves


  • Still other cabbagy plants include:
    • cabbage rose (also moss rose, pale rose or Provence rose, Rosa centifolia), a fragrant garden rose having full white or pink flowers, with a dwarf variety (pomponia) called pompon
    • deer cabbage (Lupinus diffusus), a lupine
    • dog cabbage (dog's cabbage, Cynocrambe prostrata), a fleshy southern European herb
    • head lettuce (cabbage lettuce, Lactuca sativa capitata), distinguished by leaves arranged in a dense rosette which ultimately develops into a compact head suggesting that of cabbage
    • Kerguelen cabbage, a herb (Pringlea antiscorbutica, also called horseradish) in the family Brassicaceae, from the Indian Ocean island of Kerguelen
    • Maori cabbage, the wild cabbage of New Zealand
    • native cabbage (Scaevola koenigii), a succulent Australian shrub
    • poor man's cabbage (Barbarea verna), a winter cress
    • Saint-Patrick's cabbage (London pride, Saxifraga umbrosa), a hardy perennial saxifrage native to western Europe
    • sea cabbage, also called sea kale, a European perennial herb (Crambe maritima) sometimes cultivated for its large, ovate, long-stalked leaves, used as a potherb (distinct from Brassica oleracea)
    • skunk cabbage (fetid hellebore, meadow cabbage, polecat weed, skunkweed; stinking poke, swamp cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus or its relative Lysichiton camstschatcense) (the name is sometimes used for the pitcher plant)
    • squaw cabbage (Indian lettuce, Montia perfoliata), a succulent herb; or any of various plants of the family Brassicaceae, especially of the genera Caulanthus and Streptanthus, believed to have been used as potherbs by the Indians
    • water cabbage (Nymphaea odorata), a white water lily
    • water lettuce (also called water cabbage, Pistia stratiotes), a common tropical floating plant forming a rosette of spongy, wedge-shaped leaves
    • wild cabbage, a succulent herb (Caulanthus crassicaulis) of the family Brassicaceae that has edible foliage
    • sea-otter's-cabbage (bladder kelp, sea turnip), a brown alga


Linguistic and vernacular associations

During World War II, "kraut" was an ethnic slur for a German soldier or civilian. German cabbage (Kohl) made into a salad (Salat) became in American English "cole slaw".

A thick-witted person may be called a cabbagehead. In Hebrew, the term "rosh kruv" (cabbagehead) implies stupidity.

In Italian, "cavolo" (cabbage) is a mildly impolite expression with a similar connotation to the English "crap."

The French use a term of endearment, "mon chou" or "mon petit chou", equivalent to "darling" but translated literally as "my little cabbage" in school French textbooks in England since the late 1950s. This is still used today, as can be seen in this extract from Shamrocks Falling by P A Matthews:

“See there ma petite chou, now everything is worked out.”
Patricia turned and walked back to the desk. “Gérard, why must you call me ma petite chou all the time?”
“Ma chérie, it is an endearment. If you understood that in French…”
She cut him off mid sentence. “I know what it means Gérard. Even with my limited French vocabulary I know that it means my small cabbage.”
“But that is not the endearment. You do not understand…”'


The word also refers, much more complimentarily, to a pâtisserie item called "chou à la crème", a sphere of light airy pastry split and sandwiched with a thick layer of whipped or confectioner's cream. In addition, it is also used for a soft, cabbage-shaped ornament or rosette of fabric used in women's wear, such as a knot of ribbons on a dress or a crushed crown on a hat. "Chou" comes from the Latin caulis (stalk).

In England, cabbage is a rarely used slang word for cash, especially paper money or bank notes. It is also used vulgarly for a person in a vegetative state, and by extension "cabbaging" means "lazing about".

See also



References

  1. OEDILF - Word Lookup. The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form.
  2. 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cabbage - Wikisource.
  3. "Brassica est quae omnibus holeribus antistat." (De Agri Cultura, sect. 156.) LacusCurtius • Cato On Agriculture — Sections 156‑157(English). LacusCurtius • Cato — de Re Rustica, Capitula CLVI‑CLVII(Latin). Bill Thayer's Website.
  4. Cabbage Recipes and Cabbage Soup Recipes. Southern Food and Recipes - Southern-Style Recipes, Crockpot Recipes, Casserole Recipes, and More Recipezaar: "Where the World's Recipes Are".
  5. Stuffed Mango Peppers Recipe #277564 @ Mass Recipes. "Massive amounts of recipes!"
  6. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/adjudications/090109_Cabbage_dish.aspx
  7. Daniel Health and Disease: A Book for the People, by William Whitty Hall. Published by H.B. Price, 1859. Page 267. Google Book Search.
  8. Cook's Thesaurus: Cabbages.
  9. Colewort: Definition from Answers.com. "Online Dictionary, Encyclopedia and much more".
  10. Cavolo Verza - Savoy Cabbage. Italian Food.
  11. The Joy of Savoy Cabbage. By Barbara Damrosch. The Washington Post, November 8, 2007; Page H07.
  12. How to grow winter cabbage and savoy cabbage - by Terry Blackburn. Helium - "Where Knowledge Rules".
  13. Food And Agricultural Organization estimate
  14. Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates)
  15. Cole Crop Fact sheets list. Cornell University.
  16. UC IPM: UC Management Guidelines for Black Leg on Cole Crops. University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.
  17. CTVdB Virus Description - 00.057.0.01.072. Turnip mosaic virus. Universal Virus Database (ICTVdB), International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. On Website of the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  18. IPM Fact Sheet Swede Midge 1/20. New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.
  19. Cabbage Curculio. Organic Gardening Information.
  20. Mines of British flies and other insects - Phytomyza rufipes {Diptera: Agromyzidae}.
  21. Cabbage Seedpod Weevil. Agriculture and Rural Development : Ropin' The Web, Alberta, Canada.
  22. Sanitary entomology: The Entomology of Disease, Hygiene and Sanitation, by William Dwight Pierce. Published by R.G. Badger, 1921. Page 78.
  23. Plant Protection - Cabbage.
  24. Writing.Com: Shamrocks Falling Chapter 9
  25. Cabbage entry at Reference.com's Thesaurus
  26. Cabbage entry at Peevish slang dictionary


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