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Friday, January 8, 2010

Seasonal Vegetable Profile: Cabbage


Nutrition: Cabbage is packed with fiber, vitamin C and folate­—a B vitamin known to protect heart health. One cup of raw shredded cabbage supplies about 25% of the Daily Value for Vitamin C and potassium in under 20 calories.

About the veggie: The cabbage family, called Brassica, is extremely diverse, and includes kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and mustards.

Chemistry: The strong aromas and flavors in many members of the cabbage family are the result of chemical reactions that trigger the vegetable’s defensive system upon tissue damage. This type of chemical defense mechanism inspired the inventors of the synthetic mustard gas used in World War I.

Etymology: The word cabbage comes from the Latin caput meaning “head.” It is the only form of vegetable in the cabbage family that has a short stubby stem inside the head with leaves that form around it. This is different from kale and other members of this family, which have stalks that remain visible as leaves emerge.

Did you know? Cabbage has been cultivated for centuries in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor. According to ancient Roman mythology, cabbage originated from the sweat of Jupiter, the king of gods.

Sources:
McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner: New York, 2004.
Health content provided by Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition, UC Davis, www.lizapplegate.com
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