Known as the grandfather of all veggies, cabbage grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense leaved heads. It is an incredibly versatile leafy vegetable that descended from the wild cabbage. It comes with different colors such as green, purple, and white or pale green. It is closely related to brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and savoy cabbage. Cabbage weights generally range from 1 to 9 lb. Under conditions of long sunny days, they can grow pretty significant. As of 2012, the most massive cabbage recorded was 138.25 lb.
Species: Wild cabbage
Binomial name: Brassica Oleracea
- Cabbage is one of the oldest existing vegetables in the world.
- Red cabbage (purple) makes an excellent all-natural dye in food or on fabric.
- Dutch sailors used to eat Sauerkraut on long journeys to prevent scurvy.
- China is the biggest manufacturer of cabbage, while Russia consumes the most cabbage in the world.
- In ancient China, people believed that cabbage is a magic cure-all for bald men.
- Most people also apply cabbage to the face to clear up acne-prone skin.
When buying cabbage, look for the ones that have a bright color. Green cabbages must be shiny and bright with firm stems, while red cabbages must be a deep purple.
Choose a tight, compact head that feels heavy for its size. The outside should be dense and firm to the touch. If it feels soft and spongy, the cabbage might be rotten on the inside. Avoid any cabbages that show signs of discoloration or rotting.
Production & Farming in Texas
Cabbage is mainly produced as a winter crop in South Texas. It is a cool-weather crop that requires abundant moisture. Most of the Texas commercial crop is grown under ilTigation. It yields well and marketed in 50-pound bags. Some growers direct-seed plant 2 to 10 acres every two weeks to hit some market window; some plantings are abandoned if prices are low.
Most Texas cabbage is seeded from July through November and harvested from October through April. It is also harvested in other areas of Texas in April through September, but in a small amount to give Texas cabbage supplies year around. During 1964-68 Texas cabbage averaged about 18,000 acres per year with an average annual value of over 8 million dollars. The value of Texas cabbage generall ranks fifth. The world production of brassicas, including cabbage in the year 2017, was 71 million tonnes.
About 20 insects and pests commonly attack cabbage. Some of them do little damage, while others can destroy the crop. That’s why pesticides are used to control the most damaging pests. There are about twenty-six different pesticides that are being used by farmers to control insects and pests on cabbage.
Cabbage originated in Shensi Province, China, sometime around 4,000 BC. It was domesticated in Europe before 1000 BC and became famous. By the Middle Ages, it becomes a notable part of European cuisine. In America, it was introduced in 1541-42 by Jacques Cartier, who planted it in Canada on his third voyage. It was planted in the US by some of the earliest colonists, but there is no record until 1669. In the 18th century, the cabbage was being grown by American Indians as well as by the colonists.
Cabbage is harvested by bending the head to one side and cutting it with a sharp knife or small machete. After that, they are sorted according to size, shape, and compactness of the head before putting them in baskets or well-ventilated picking containers and taken out of the field immediately. They are generally packed in fiberboard cartons, wooden or wire-bound crates, or mesh bags holding about 23 kg. Cabbages that are stored in non-ventilated field sacks will heat up due to tissue respiration and start to wilt. If there is a delay between harvest and packing for an hour or two, a spray of clean water to the leaves can help prevent dehydration.
Once it reached the market, the torn and loose outer wrapper leaves are removed so that the head will have a clean, compact, and fresh appearance. The stem end is also trimmed close to the base of the head, so it does not protrude more than 2 cm.
Cabbage can be prepared in different ways of eating. It can be pickled, fermented, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. There are also different types of cabbage, so it will tend to vary in flavor. Some taste little bitter, but you can also find cabbage that is a bit sweet. Others tend to have a deep and lasting flavor that will linger on your tongue.
Before storing the cabbage, do not wash it or remove the outer leaves because it will protect the inner leaves from drying out. Also, excessive water from washing can lead to rot or mold. Put the cabbage in a plastic bag and store it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator with a high humidity setting. It can last for 3-4 weeks in the fridge.
If you have a root cellar, the cabbage can last longer for three months or more because the root cellar has a cold temperature and high humidity. Just put the cabbage stem-side up and leave ample space between each head and any other vegetables. The cabbage can also be hang upside down in the root cellar.
For half-head or wedge cabbage, cover it tightly with plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. It will still be good for 2 to 3 days.
Before cooking, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut into quarters, then wash it. If you are planning to cook it in quarters, leave the core to prevent the leaves from splitting apart. If you will shred the cabbage for coleslaw, ydo not do it ahead of time because once you do, the enzymes will begin to destroy the Vitamin C in the cabbage.
Cabbage must be cooked slightly tender but still crisp to preserved more nutrients. It will also taste better if it is cooked only about 10 to 12 minutes for wedges and five minutes for shredded. For red cabbage, it needs a few minutes more.
To avoid the infamous stink problem of the cabbage, you can steam it in a small amount of water for a short time and do not cook it in an aluminum pan. Uncover briefly, shortly after cooking begins, to release the sulfur smell.
Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable and a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is high in fiber, and it is also naturally fat-free and cholesterol-free. It is frequently recommended for those people who want to lose weight in a healthy way.
Different varieties have varying nutritional strength: The red cabbage has more vitamin C, while the savoy has more vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B: A class of water-soluble vitamins that play essential roles in cell metabolism.
Vitamin C: An antioxidant that decreases the duration of the common cold and improves skin health
Vitamin K: It plays a crucial role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding.
Calcium: It is the most abundant mineral in the body, and it is vital for bone health.
Iron: It is needed for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the body cells.
Magnesium: A mineral that is important for healthy bone structure in the body.
Phosphorus: The second most abundant mineral in the body that makes up 1% of a person’s total body weight.
Potassium: Important for blood pressure control and may decrease the risk of heart disease.
Manganese: Trace mineral essential for growth, development, and metabolism
Zinc: It helps our immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses.
When Are Cabbage in Season in Texas?
To find out when Cabbage are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.