Cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Brassica oleracea capitata

A blue dye can be obtained from the leaves of purple cultivars[168].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[1, 27, 46]. Cabbages are generally used as a cooked vegetable, though the shredded leaves can also be eaten in salads. Dutch cabbages are generally sweeter and milder in flavour making them more suitable for raw eating. Those leaves in the heart of the plants are more tender than outside leaves and so are also more suitable for eating raw. These heart leaves, though, are less nutritious because they have been excluded from the light[K]. Many people find that the raw leaves give them indigestion[K]. The leaves can be fermented and made into sauerkraut, used as a health food and said to be good for the digestive system[K]. By careful selection of cultivars, it is possible to harvest cabbages all year round[K].

    Seeds – sprouted and added to salads. Very good eating[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – this can be sown from early spring to late summer in a seedbed outdoors, depending on the cultivar. The plants are moved to their final positions when about 7 – 15cm tall. Do not let the seedlings get overcrowded or they will soon become leggy and will not make such good plants. If your seedlings do get leggy, it is possible to plant them rather deeper into the soil – the buried stems will soon form roots and the plant will be better supported. For a summer crop, the seed is sown in early to late spring, autumn maturing cultivars are sown in mid to late-spring and winter maturing cultivars in late spring. Winter to spring maturing cultivars are sown in mid to late summer, these are often sown in situ and thinned as required. Seed of fast-growing summer cabbages can also be sown in a greenhouse in January/February in order to provide an early crop. This is planted out in early to mid-spring as the weather allows and can be harvested in late spring and early summer.
Succeeds in full sun in a well-drained fertile preferably alkaline soil[16, 37, 200]. Prefers a heavy soil and a cool moist climate[16, 27]. Succeeds in any reasonable soil. Succeeds in maritime gardens[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. The cabbage is widely cultivated throughout the world for its edible leaves There are three main types of cabbage, the common hearting cabbage has dark green leaves, Dutch cabbages form a much larger heart and the leaves, which have a milder flavour, are a pale green or even white, whilst the third type, red cabbages, has red leaves. There are many named varieties of each type and by careful choice of varieties it is possible to ensure a year round supply of fresh leaves. Several cultivars are hardy enough to stand the rigours of a British winter, there are also some less-hardy varieties that can be harvested in early winter and stored for a few months in a cool place to provide leaves in areas with very severe winters[200]. Some varieties have been selected for the ornamental value of their leaves, these tend to be of poor culinary quality[206]. Cabbages are good companions for dill, camomile, sage, wormwood, mint and other aromatic plants which help to reduce insect predations on the cabbages[18, 201]. Cabbages also grow well with potatoes and beet[201]. They grow badly with strawberries, tomatoes and climbing beans[18, 201].
A cultivated form of B. oleracea.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.