What are my special features?
Much variation can be found in this cabbage/kale (Brassica oleracea L) and the heart is a lot more open than modern cabbage varieties. The cabbage has a characteristic peppery taste and is traditionally cooked in a mutton stew.
What is my history?
Shetland Cabbage/Kale is the oldest known Scottish local vegetable variety and has been grown on the Shetland Islands since at least the 17th Century. Specific origin details of this land race are unknown. The outer or dropped leaves were often used as winter feed for cattle and sheep.
Due to the extreme weather conditions on the Islands cabbage seeds were traditionally planted in ‘plantie crubs’, a small circular stone-walled enclosure. The cabbage seedlings were then transplanted into larger yards also often with stone walls. These structures can still be seen all over the islands despite many being in ruins.
Why am I forgotten?
In the last 30 years, there has been a steep decline in Shetland Cabbage and competition with other well-known supermarket varieties is further problematic for such traditional varieties.
Don’t lose me… cook me!