Today’s write-up is courtesy of Eric La Fountaine, as well as the first photograph (taken in mid-January 2008). The second photograph is one I took in early February 2005. Thanks, Eric!
The Brassicaceae, or mustard family is the source of more vegetables than any other plant family (source: Simpson, B.B., Ogorzaly, M.C. Economic Botany – Plants in Our World, 3rd ed., 1995). Brassica oleracea, native to the Mediterranean region, has been grown as a food crop for over 2500 years. People saved the seeds of their favourite plants for cultivation and reselection every year; over a relatively short period of time, this human selection process resulted in some of our most popular vegetables. This single species has been developed into kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and today’s BPotD feature, cabbage.
Cabbage was developed around the first century. It has become an important staple in many regions, as it is easy to grow, tolerant of cool climates, very nutritious, and amenable to long-term storage. The vegetable lends itself to pickling and was an important source of vitamin C during times when fresh produce was not readily available. Not only is cabbage high in vitamins and low in calories, recent research shows it to be rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cancers.