Popular green cabbages are Polar Green, Green Express, Charmant, Sunup and Belbro. Red types include Ruby Ball, Red Acre and Red Perfection.
Mid-season varieties are Survivor, Sanabel, Green Express, Shamrock, Super Red and Prime Time. Late storage ones include Bartolo, Hinova and Zerlina. Savoy King, Chieftain, Ice Prince and Ice Queen are Savoy cabbages.
Cabbage is a good source of Vitamin C and a source of folacin.
Greek mythology tells us the cabbage sprang from the fallen tears of a Thracian king who was about to be killed by Dionysus, the wine god, for uprooting some of his favorite grapevines.
In Roman times cabbage was a relatively expensive vegetable that was widely used in a dish we now know as corned beef and cabbage.
By the 15th century, it was widely cultivated in Europe and came to North America with the early settlers.
Buying and storing
Look for firm heads that seem relatively heavy. Leaves should have good colour and be fairly firm, without blemishes or signs of wilting along the edges.
To store cabbages for several weeks, refrigerate in a moisture-proof bag. Winter cabbages will keep for longer periods if kept moist and cool in a root cellar or similar cold-storage area.
Rinse the cabbage in cool water and it's ready for use.
Grated or shredded in a salad, cabbage is a fine source of fibre and provides freshness and crispness even in the middle of winter. It also lends itself to microwaving, steaming, stir-frying and boiling.
Traditional European methods include serving cooked in a rich cheese sauce, stuffing the leaves with a savory meat and herb filling and simmering shredded or finely sliced red cabbage with apples.
Cooked cabbage is also used to fill tiny boiled dumplings in eastern Europe. Cabbage can be preserved as sauerkraut or choucroute, baked with meats, poultry, game and sausages (a regional delicacy in the Black Forest.)