Cábbage. n.s. [cabus, Fr. brassica, Lat.] A plant.
The leaves are large, fleshy, and of a glaucous colour; the flowers consist of four leaves, which are succeeded by long taper pods, containing several round acrid seeds. The species are, 1. The common white cabbage. 2. The red cabbage. 3. The Russian cabbage. 4. The flat-sided cabbage. 5. The sugar loaf cabbage. 6. The early Battersea cabbage. 7. The white Savoy cabbage. 8. The green Savoy cabbage. 9. The boorcole. 10. The green broccoli. 11. The Italian broccoli. 12. The turnep-rooted cabbage. 13. The cauliflower. 14. The turnep cabbage. 15. Curled colewort. 16. The musk cabbage. 17. Branching tree cabbage, from the sea coast. 18. Brown broccoli. 19. Common colewort. 20. Perennial Alpine colewort. 21. Perfoliated wild cabbage, with a white flower. 22. Perfoliated cabbage, with a purple flower. The common white, red, flat, and long-sided cabbages, are chiefly cultivated for winter use; the seeds of which must be sown in the middle of March, in beds of good fresh earth. The Russian cabbage was formerly in much greater esteem than at present, and is rarely brought to the market. The early Battersea and sugar-loaf cabbages, are called Michaelmas cabbages; the season for sowing them is in the middle of July, in an open spot of ground. The Savoy cabbages are propagated for winter use, as being generally esteemed the better, when pinched by frost. The boorcole is never eaten till the frost has rendered it tender. The turnep cabbage was formerly more cultivated in England than at present; and some esteem this kind for soups, but it is generally too strong, and seldom good, except in hard winters. The curled colewort is more generally esteemed, and is fit for use after Christmas, and continues good until April. The musk cabbage has, through negligence, been almost lost in England, though, for eating, it is one of the best kinds we have; for it is always looser, and the leaves more crisp and tender, and has a most agreeable musky scent when cut. It will be fit for use in October, November, and December. The branching sea cabbage is found wild in England, and on the sea coast, and is sometimes gathered by the poor inhabitants in the spring, and eaten; but it is apt to be strong and bitter. The brown broccoli is by many esteemed, though it does not deserve a place in the kitchen garden, where the Roman broccoli can be obtained, which is much sweeter, and will continue longer in season. The Roman broccoli has large heads, which appear in the center of the plants like clusters of buds. The heads should be cut before they run up to seed, with about four or five inches of the stems; the skin of these stems should be stripped off, before they are boiled; they will eat very tender, and little inferiour to asparagus. The common colewort is now almost lost near London, where their markets are usually supplied with cabbage or Savoy plants instead of them; which, being tenderer and more delicate, are better worth cultivating. The perennial Alpine colewort is also little cultivated at present. The other two sorts of wild cabbage are varieties fit for a botanick garden, but are plants of no use. The cauliflowers have, of late years, been so far improved in England, as to exceed, in goodness and magnitude, what are produced in most parts of Europe; and, by the skill of the gardners, are continued for several months together; but the most common season for them is in May, June, and July. Miller.
Cole, cabbage, and coleworts, which are soft and demulcent, without any acidity; the jelly, or juice, of red cabbage, baked in an oven, and mixed with honey, is an excellent pectoral. Arbuthnot on Aliments.