Cabbage-long used in Eastern and Western European recipes, most likely originated in Asian countries, as far back as 4,000 B.C. Older forms of cabbage were most likely looser leafed varieties, more similar to kale. The heads of cabbage we know today came around later, but its origin isn't exactly known. (source: http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/FOOD_IS_ART_II/food_history_and_facts/cabbage.html)
Cabbage can grow in many climates, warm and cool alike. It's known for its cooling properties. As a nursing mom, I found great comfort in cabbage leaves to sooth my skin. It travels and stores very well, making it a great crop to have over long winters. It's inexpensive and can feed a crowd. Cabbage is great fermented, another way to extend its use, and has long been used in German cuisine, sauerkraut, as well as asian dishes, like kimchi. Eastern Europeans love stuffing cabbage, and the Irish love to boil it or to combine it with potatoes in a traditional dish called colcannon.
Cabbage has tons of nutritional benefits. As a member of the cruciferous family (like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower) it's packed with anti-cancer properties, as well anti-inflammatory agents. It's recommended to eat cruciferous veggies 4-5 times per week to keep the benefits of these veggies flowing. Cabbage is high in polyphenols, a chemical that helps to reduce inflammation and fight cancer. Cabbage is also high in glucosinolates, a compound when converted is important in cancer prevention. These chemical compounds also help with intestinal health with the regulation of H. pylori, a bacteria found in the gut. It's high fiber content helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In so doing, cabbage is great for improving cardiovascular health. (Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19)
Cabbage is high in Vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts immunity. Potassium is an important nutrient to regulate kidney and nervous system function, as well as reduce blood pressure.
So add some cabbage to your life! If you're looking for a healthy way to incorporate some cabbage into your St. Patty's Day feast, or upcoming Passover, try this vegan cabbage soup recipe, made oil free too!