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Cabbages as a group have complex horticultural genealogies: the brassica
family, with its ease of cultivation and criss-crossing of varieties, has
resulted in everything from savoy cabbage to broccoli to kohlrabi.
Cabbage that form heads (that is, cabbage as we normally think of it) can grow as far north as Lapland and Siberia. After a heavy rain, growers of head cabbage may give the heads a twist as to damage a few of the roots, so that the heads do not split from absorbing too much water.
What had to have been organic cabbage was introduced to North America in 1541 by the French navigator Jacques Cartier. Because cabbage contains a great deal of vitamin C, Captain Cook took many crates of it on his voyages in order to prevent scurvy.
Germanic tribes from the steppes brought their early version of sauerkraut with them to the rest of Europe; the idea of picked cabbage was brought to Europe by Tatars from China.
Holubtsi is a traditional Ukrainian rice-stuffed cabbage, yummy with a tomatoey sauce. Red cabbage sauteed with sugar, vinegar, and currant jelly accompanies Danish meat dishes such as meatballs. The Irish colcannon, a mix of cabbage, potatoes, and bacon, was often eaten communally from the same dish.