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Cabbage History - The history of cabbage as food

Jacques Cartier brought cabbage to the Americas

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Green and Red Cabbage

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Cabbage history

The botanical name for cabbage is Brassica oleracea capitata. The English name cabbage comes from the French caboche, meaning head, referring to its round form.

Cabbage has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and domesticated for over 2,500 years. Although cabbage is often connected to the Irish, the Celts brought cabbage to Europe from Asia around 600 B.C. Since cabbage grows well in cool climates, yields large harvests, and stores well during winter, it soon became a major crop in Europe.

Early cabbage was not the full-bodied head we take for granted today, but rather a more loose-leaf variety. The head variety was developed during the Middle Ages by northern European farmers.

It was French navigator Jacques Cartier who brought cabbage to the Americas in 1536.

Taking only three months growing time, one acre of cabbage will yield more edible vegetables than any other plant. Other related cabbage cousins include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, kohlrabi, and cauliflower.

The world's largest cabbage is credited to William Collingwood of County Durham, England, whose prized cabbage in 1865 weighed in at 123 pounds.

More about Cabbage:

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Cabbage Selection and Storage
Cabbage Measures and Equivalents
Cabbage History
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Cabbage and Health
Popular Cabbage Recipes
Cabbage Recipes
Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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