The cabbage (Brassica oleracea Capitata Group) is a plant of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae).
The only part of the plant that is normally eaten is the leafy head; more precisely, the spherical cluster of immature leaves, excluding the partially unfolded outer leaves. The so-called 'cabbage head' is widely consumed raw, cooked, or preserved in a great variety of dishes. Cabbage is a leaf vegetable.
Raw cabbage is usually sliced into thin strips or shredded for use in salads, such as coleslaw. It can also replace iceberg lettuce in sandwiches. Cabbage is an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Cabbage is often added to soups or stews. Cabbage soup is popular in central Europe and eastern Europe, and cabbage is an ingredient in some kinds of borscht. Cabbage is also used in many popular dishes in India. Boiling tenderizes the leaves and releases sugars, which leads to the characteristic "cabbage" aroma. Boiled cabbage has become stigmatized in North America because of its strong cooking odor and the belief that it causes flatulence. Boiled cabbage as an accompaniment to meats and other dishes can be an opportune source of vitamins and dietary fiber. Stuffed cabbage is an East European delicacy. The leaves are softened by parboiling or placing the whole head of cabbage in the freezer, and then filled with chopped meat and/or rice.
Cabbage is the basis for the German sauerkraut and Korean kimchi. To pickle cabbage it is placed in a jar, covered with water and salt, and left in a warm place for several days to ferment. Sauerkraut was historically prepared at home in large batches, as a way of storing food for the winter. Cabbage can also be pickled in vinegar with various spices, alone or in combination with other vegetables. Korean baechu kimchi is usually sliced thicker than its European counterpart, and the addition of onions, chilies, minced garlic and gingers is common.
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