There are cabbage seeds for green, red, savoy, and napa varieties– providing for summer, fall, and winter harvest. It is hard to compete with the versatility and nutritional value of cabbage. Grow cabbage from seed for your summer salads, fall soups and stews, and winter sauerkraut. Summer cabbages, sweet and crisp, arrive just in time for cool, summer coleslaws. Grow red and green for a great color combination. If you have a small family or limited growing space, try growing a compact variety. Fall cabbages are seeded in the summer and are harvested in time for warming soups, stews and braises.
Winter cabbages have long been coveted for their storage capabilities. Enjoy them for months after harvest when stored in a cool, well ventilated location. For even longer preservation consider making sauerkraut or the fiery Korean version – kimchi. The fermentation process creates probiotics, making the humble cabbage a super health food. The cabbage is derived from a leafy wild mustard plant, native to the Mediterranean region. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans; The English name derives from the French/Norman caboche (“head”). The dense core of the cabbage is called the ‘babchka.’ It is related to the turnip and broccoli, kale and collards. Although French navigator Jacques Cartier is generally credited with the introduction of the Cabbage to the Americas in 1536, it is likely the Cabbage was brought to North America in the 1600’s. The first North American record of planting cabbages was in 1699.
It seems that Napa Cabbage, brought to Japan from China in the mid 1800’s, was introduced to North America by immigrant labourers in the 1880’s.
China and India are by far the largest producers of cabbage. (Family: Cole, Brassicaceae)