Cabbage is one of those vegetables we find almost everywhere, so most people don’t see anything special about it (the same way many see air and water as ‘ordinary’).
The truth is that cabbage might be ordinary, but certainly not your run-of-the-mill veggies when it comes to its nourishing benefits.
Growing cabbage is easy, and you only get one head of cabbage per plant (or do you?). If you want to get more than one head of cabbage, the secret is how you harvest it, and you must know that the two heads grow only once but one after the other. Find details below.
Important Information About Cabbage
Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that grows well in the spring and falls in soil with a neutral pH and under full sun. It is a cool-season plant easily prone to disease and pest infestation. Scientifically, cabbage is classified thus:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Brassicales
- Family: Brassicaceae
- Genus: Brassica
- Species: B. oleracea
- Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea (Capitata group)
Different Varieties Of Cabbage
Cabbage belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts; there are over a hundred of them. They come in different textures and sizes and have different colours, especially green, red, white, and purple.
Different cabbage has different flavours. While some have a subtle and delicate flavour, others have a slightly peppery taste. Here are some of the numerous common types of cabbage :
Bok choy and baby bok choy: this variety of cabbage has leaves flowing out of a central stalk.
Brussels sprouts are tiny round cabbages that grow on a thick stem.
Green cabbage or cannonball cabbage: these cabbages have packed soft leaves and a strong head that can grow almost as large as a basketball.
January King cabbage: these cabbages have vibrant green and purple tinted leaves.
Kale: This is another Variety of cabbage with crinkled, dark green leaves spreading out from a central stalk.
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese or celery cabbage, has long, light green leaves on a thick white stalk.
Red cabbage: a roundish, red-coloured cabbage that’s incredibly nutritious and usually smaller than green.
Savoy cabbage: they are curly cabbage with loosely layered, ruffled leaves.
How Many Heads of Cabbage Per Plant
In the real sense, cabbage plants do not produce multiple heads on their own. What you have is just one head of cabbage on a plant. However, you can double or even triple the amount of cabbage you get from a plant by following a style of harvesting that will cause fresh cabbage to grow from the original plant.
The trick is that when harvesting the main cabbage head, you should leave some leaves at the bottom so fresh cabbage can grow from them.
It means that you do not dig up the entire cabbage, nor do you have to cut below the lowest leaves. If you do so, the remaining part of the cabbage will quickly wilt and die. The remaining leaves will now serve as a surface for a new cabbage head to grow from.
After harvesting the original cabbage head, treat the remaining part of the plant, which is still anchored to the soil, as you would treat a new cabbage plant. You must cultivate it, give it manure and water, and eliminate weeds around the plant.
If you do a good job, you will notice that new cabbage heads will start sprouting around the outer edge of the main head’s stub in a matter of days. Usually, you will find 3 or 6 fresh cabbages sprouting around the rim of the original cabbage stub. Just keep cultivating the plant; before long, the tiny sprouts you see will grow to the size of a fist.
The beautiful thing about these new smaller heads of cabbage is that they will all add up to almost the size of the original cabbage head. Still, the news is that these small cabbage heads are more tender, delicate, and delicious than the original cabbage.
These new, more miniature cabbages have white or pale green cores, which are leafy and tender, while the outer leaves will be darker green. Many people prefer this mini cabbage head to the original cabbage because it has a nice and tender texture.
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage deserves a place on every dinner table because of its many health benefits. Aside from its nutrient content, there are many other reasons you should incorporate it into your daily meal.
For starters, they are not one of those exotic food ingredients that cost ‘an arm and a leg. They are inexpensive, and they are readily available in almost any store around.
This leafy vegetable comes in different colours, shapes, and sizes to suit your needs. They are also very versatile because they can be eaten raw, stir-fried, or even fermented in kimchi and sauerkraut. You can use them in various ways for making sandwiches, coleslaws, salads, soups, and what have you.
Don’t imagine the reasons above are the only reasons for including cabbage in your daily meals. There are still loads of health reasons for eating cabbage, including:
It Is Rich In Nutrient
Cabbage has a nutrient profile that is nothing short of impressive. It is because it has a very low-calorie content. A cup of raw cabbage contains the following nutrient:
- Calories – 22
- Protein – 1 gram
- Fibre – 2 grams
- Vitamin K – 85% of the RDI
- Vitamin C – 54% of the RDI
- Folate – 10% of the RDI
- Manganese – 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6 – 6% of the RDI
- Calcium – 4% of the RDI
- Potassium – 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium – 3% of the RDI
( RDI- recommended daily intake)
It also contains trace amounts of other micronutrients, like vitamin A, iron, and riboflavin.
They Fight inflammation
Cabbage contains anthocyanins, which are naturally occurring antioxidants, and we know that antioxidants take care of the harmful free radicals in the body that cause inflammation by cellular damage. Apart from imparting color to fruits and vegetables, these Anthocyanins may also reduce inflammation, especially those associated with heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Cabbage Keeps you strong
Cabbage has a high Vitamin C content which is otherwise called ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid, a complex process in the body, makes collagen which helps improve the immune system and helps the body absorb iron from plant-based foods. Hence cabbage helps to keep us strong.
Cabbage Aids in Digestion
Cabbage contains plant sterols and insoluble fibre, which helps digestion by keeping the digestive system healthy and regular bowel movements. When the beneficial bacteria in the gut that shields your immune system and builds essential nutrients act on cabbage, they help in releasing nutrients.
Cabbage Is Great For Weight Loss
Cabbage can also help support safe and healthy weight loss and this is because of its high fibre content. Fibres are not exactly nutrients per se. They are just non-digestible food materials that add bulk to our food, which gives us a feeling of being full faster and longer. When we eat a lot of fibre, like in cabbage, we tend to less food, and this will help us lose weight.
They Protect The heart
The anthocyanins, asides from taking care of inflammation, also help lower the risk of heart disorder, and research has shown that there are about 36 different kinds of anthocyanins in cabbage. So the more cabbage you consume, the better the health of your heart.
Cabbage Aids In Lowering blood pressure
You can lower your blood pressure by consuming cabbage because it contains a good amount of potassium which helps the body control blood pressure.
It Also Lowers Cholesterol.
LDL, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol, can induce heart issues if it builds up in your arteries. The good news is that cabbage has fibre and phytosterols, which helps the digestive system to absorb cholesterol. It means cholesterol levels get reduced, which is excellent for total health and well-being.
Cabbage Is Great For Blood Clotting
lack of vitamin K can cause the blood not to clot, but cabbage contains a high amount of vitamin k that the body requires for blood clotting and keeping the bones strong and the body protected from illnesses and diseases.
It Protects Against Cancer
cabbage contains certain phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer. These phytochemicals include antioxidants and glucosinolates, which can be broken down during digestion into chemical compounds that may fight cancer in the body.
Side Effects Of Consuming Too Much Cabbage
If you eat the right amount of cabbage daily, you will likely not experience any side effects. However, if you take so much of it all at once, you might experience side effects like constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, flatulence, etc. Cabbage also contains substances that can interfere with medications like blood thinners or cause hypothyroidism.
One of the ways to keep from experiencing any of these symptoms is to grow your cabbage intake gradually and allow your body to adjust. Secondly, you should eat cabbage as part of a meal and not alone. If you consume a lot of water with your cabbage, you can reduce constipation, which can cause excess gas.
Cabbages are ubiquitous leaf vegetable that has found their way to most parts of the globe. It is a nutritious food that has a lot of health benefits. While one cabbage plant will only produce one head of cabbage, if harvested correctly, the original head can produce more delicious smaller sprouts that are tender and flavorful.
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Remember, cabbage might be ordinary, but it is still a healthy food ingredient.