Cabbage was a dietary staple of the Greeks and early Romans. This cruciferous vegetable was most likely first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean. The cabbages eaten then had loose leaves and were probably a different variety from the types we consume today. During the Middle Ages, farmers in northern Europe developed compact-headed varieties with overlapping leaves that were capable of thriving in cold climates, important for people who had little else to eat during the winter.
Cabbage remains a useful food that is easy to grow, is tolerant of cold, keeps well, and can be cooked in a wide variety of ways. A longstanding dietary staple, the cabbage is a sturdy, abundant, and inexpensive vegetable that is versatile and full of texture.
Cabbage can be a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and the B vitamin folate. However, each type of cabbage has a slightly different nutritional make-up. For example, red cabbage has more vitamin C than green cabbage, and compared with other types of cabbage. Savoy cabbage contains more beta carotene.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, cabbages are rich in phytochemical compounds that research suggests help protect against disease when part of a healthy diet.
Types of Cabbage
You will find three basic types of cabbage in American markets: green, red, and Savoy. Here's how they differ, plus tips for choosing the best cabbage.
Cabbage and vitamin K interactions
Cabbage also contains relatively small amounts of vitamin K. People who take blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) are sometimes told to avoid foods high in vitamin K, such as chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, and spinach. In fact, they don’t need to shun these vegetables. It’s more important to keep a consistent diet, and eat these vegetables moderately. If you take blood-thinners, the National Institutes of Health suggests eating no more than ½ cup a day of chard, collards, kale, mustard greens, or spinach. Cabbage has about one-fifth of the amount of vitamin K in spinach and one-sixth as much as kale.
8 Recipe Ideas for Cabbage
Cabbage makes a crunchy, flavorful salad, as well as a hearty hot side dish. Try these eight recipe ideas to enjoy cabbage hot or cold.
Published September 28, 2015