Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that grows in heads, family to kale, collards, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Cabbage varieties range in color from light to dark green to red to purple. The head can range in shape from round to flattened or pointed with layers of superimposed leaves.

Green varieties are the most popular type grown and are used to make cole slaw and other types of raw and cooked salads. The red varieties are used to add color to raw salads and cooked dishes.

Cabbage is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and essential phytonutrients.


Other names: Napa Cabbage, savoy cabbage
Translations: Kāposti, Kopūstai, Varză, Kupus, Cải bắp, Kapusta, Kool, गोभी, Repolho, Капуста, Λάχανο, ملفوف, 양배추, Zelí, Kubis, Repolyo, 卷心菜, Col, Zelje, Kapusta, Cavolo, כרוב, Kål, Купус, キャベツ, Chou, Kohl, Kål, Hodekål, Col, Капуста, Kaali, Зеле

Physical Description

Cabbage leaves often have a delicate, powdery, waxy coating called bloom.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 British occasionally call its head a loaf . It is in the same genus as the turnip

Colors: various shades of green, red and purple

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet, savory
Mouthfeel: Crunchy, Earthy
Food complements: Bacon, Onion, Vinegars, Pork roast
Substitutes: Brusseles sprout, Savoy cabbage, Napa cabbage

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: 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

Preparation and Use

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.

Cleaning: Remove outer leaves and discard. Cut cabbage in half with sharp chef's knife. Then cut each half into thin strips. Submerge in large pot of cold water and rinse thoroughly. Discard water and repeat. Transfer cabbage to colander and shake dry. Use cabbage as desired.

Conserving and Storing

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.


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 as "kraut") was historically prepared at home in large batches, as a way of storing food for the winter.

History: The cultivated cabbage is derived from a leafy plant called the wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean 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 that surpasses all other vegetables."



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kapustova's picture

thanks for this informative articles. btw can you share some cabbage soup recipes please. thanks,,