There are many benefits of cabbage in an 1825 Fernandina market. Cabbage was brought to America by the French in 1542, long before the founding of Fernandina Beach. Cabbage came on a long journey across the sea. It would have been welcome on a ship due to its high amount of Vitamin C, necessary to prevent scurvy. Also, on the ship, the doctor of the crew would use the cabbage leaves, soaked in brine, to treat wounds. This would also be a way to stretch the value of cabbage as a nutritional food, in the form of sauerkraut.
In Northeast Florida, cabbage grows easily and would have been cultivated by the new settlers as well as Native Americans. In the 16 and 1700’s, a variety of cabbages would have been found to be quite useful in many ways.
The outer, dark green leaves of the cabbage would have been used to color fabrics.
Cabbage would have been eaten boiled, the leaves could be stuffed, raw in salads, or Cole slaw would have been made and sweetened with sugar, honey, or even molasses.
During the 19th century, cabbage leaves were thought to reduce swelling, they would have been used to feed livestock, and helped ease digestion. Cabbage is low in calories, helps prevent constipation, and is high in fiber. Cabbage would also have been used in soups and stews.
As you can see there were many benefits of cabbage in an 1825 Fernandina market. A farmer would have found it a valuable item to trade with others for goods or services.