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Cabbage
 

Pictured above; Bok Choy

 
 
 
 

The cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is an edible plant of the Family Brassicaceae (or Cruciferae). It is herbaceous, biennial, and a dicotyledonous flowering plant with leaves forming a characteristic compact head. Surprisingly, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi and brussels sprouts, Chinese kale or Chinese broccoli, broccolini and broccoflower are varieties of the same plant species: Brassica oleracea.

The cabbage head was bred into the species from the leafy wild plant, found in the Mediterranean region around 100 CE. The English name derives from the French caboche (head). Varieties include Red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, and Chinese cabbage.

Cabbages are commonly used both cooked and as a salad vegetable. They keep well and were thus a common winter vegetable before refrigeration and long-distance shipping of produce. Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage often used as a condiment or side dish.

Bok choy (Brassica campestris) is an Asian relative of the common cabbage. The English umbrella term Chinese cabbage usually refers to a type of bok choy, particularly the Pekinensis variety.

There are two distinctly different groups of Brassica campestris, and a wide range of varieties within these two groups.

The Pekinensis group is the more common of the two, especially outside Asia; names such as da bai cai, pe-tsai, Chinese white cabbage, nappa cabbage and hakusai (Japanese) usually refer to members of this group. Pekinensis cabbages have broad green leaves with white petioles, tightly wrapped in a cylindrical formation and usually, but not necessarily, forming a compact head. As the group name indicates, this is particularly popular in northern China around Beijing (Peking), as well as in Japan and Korea.

The Chinensis group was originally classified as its own species under the name B. chinensis by Linnaeus. Smaller in size, the Mandarin term xiao bai cai as well as the descriptive English names Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard and spoon cabbage are also employed. Chinensis varieties do not form heads; instead, they have smooth, dark green leaf blades forming a cluster reminiscent of mustard or celery. Chinensis varieties are popular in southern China and South-East Asia.

 
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Quick Facts
Chopsticks
Chinese Chopsticks taper to a rounded end, Japanese taper to a pointed end and Korean taper to a blunted end.
Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand only, and in East Asia, as in Muslim nations, the left hand is used in the toilet.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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