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Cabbage Soup Diet - Some Cabbage Facts And Stories

Mar 26, 2008
Did you know that, aside from its nutritional properties and its fame in the Cabbage Soup Diet, the cabbage also contains a lot of stories with it? Believe it or not, it does. The botanical name for cabbage is Brassica oleracea capitata. The name 'cabbage' is derived from the French term 'caboche', which means 'head'. It was called such because the head of the cabbage is typically of a round form.

The History of Cabbage

For more than 4,000 years, cabbage has been farmed and has been a staple for over Two and a Half millennia. It was the Celts who brought cabbage to Europe from Asia around 600 years B.C. Since cabbage grows pretty well in cooler climates and is known to store well over winter, the cruciferous vegetable soon became a major product in Europe.

Back then, the early cabbage was a more loose-leaf variety rather than the full-bodied head that it is today. Northern European farmers developed the many varieties of head cabbages during the Middle Ages. A French navigator named Jacques Cartier brought cabbage to the Americas in the year 1536.

The Facts of Cabbage

Cabbage grows to its full harvestable size with in three months. It has been known that the cabbage yield is greater than that of any other vegetable. That is the reason why it is such a preferred product. Other related cruciferous cabbage cousins include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and kale.

The largest cabbage the world has ever seen weighed in at 123 pounds. This monster of a cabbage belonged to a 19 century farmer named William Collingwood. Collingwood hails from the County of Durham in England. The Cabbage weight was recorded in 1865.

The Stories of Cabbage

The Romans and Greeks placed great value, significance, on the healing abilities of cabbage. They thought that the vegetable is able to cure any kind of disease or illness. In Roman mythology, the crop is believed to have sprung from the tears of the "King of the Edonians", Lycurgus. Even Emperor Claudius called his Senate to debate whether any other dish could top that of the highly popular "Corned Beef and Cabbage". The answer of course is a resounding No!

An interesting fact is that Egyptian Pharaoh used to consume immense quantities of cabbage before setting out for a night of merriment and drinking. They believed that consuming the cabbage gives them freedom to drink more alcoholic beverages without fear of its adverse side effects. This ideology still stands today, with people still practicing the use of cabbage cooked with a bit of vinegar as a cure for hangovers.

In 1769, Captain Cook was documented to swear on the healing properties of the Sauerkraut, which is a fermented cabbage dish. He is said to have used the dish as a compress for the wounds of soldiers in the war. Apparently cabbage prevented the soldiers from getting infected gangrene.

The part of cabbage in popular lore and history are always present. The earliest parental alibi to the question: "Where do babies come from?" were answered by mothers saying that babies were gathered from cabbage patches. This is the legend behind the immensely popular and collectible cabbage patch kid dolls that came all bundled up or dressed and with their own birth certificates.

So now you see that cabbages do not only offer us health benefits, whether in the Cabbage Soup Diet or in fighting against Cancer, but they also contain stories that will feed our minds and imaginations.
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