To find out all there is to know about vegetables, health and nutrition.
Scientific NameBrassica oleracea (acephala, fimbriata, tronchuda, capitata, bullata, gemmifera) (Brassicaceae/Cruciferae Family)
Varieties and seasons
From the first early plants (planted in open ground in mid-April) until the harvesting of the cabbages at the end of November and early December, it is possible to choose from an incredible range of cultivars. Including drumhead cabbages and varieties of kale, which tolerate cold conditions, you can eat fresh cabbage practically throughout the year.
Vegetable garden: growing cabbage
There are several varieties of cabbage, adapted to each season in order to provide supplies throughout the year.
-Spring cabbages are sown in nurseries at the end of summer. The final planting takes place in November or December in manured and loosened ground. Cabbages can be harvested from early April, if the ground is well exposed.
-Summer cabbages are sown in the Spring for summer harvesting.
-Autumn and winter cabbages, sown in April, are harvested in September, and long after November.
Cabbage is highly popular across Europe. It’s undoubtedly one of the oldest vegetables eaten in Europe, and forms the stable ingredient of popular soups and pork hotpots. Still today, it can be found on shelves throughout the year.
China remained the leading producer of cabbage in 2007, followed by India and South Korea (FAO). Then, ranked in terms of production, Indonesia, Poland, Russia, Japan, United-States.
Cabbage is primarily eaten raw and cooked from October to March. The Russian are the highest consumers of cabbage in Europe with 20kg per capita, compared with the 4kg in the Netherlands and the 1,9kg for the Spaniards. In 2006, the belgium consumption of cabbage was 4,7kg per capita.
Nutritional values (per 100 g)
* Ciqual 1995 *** Recommended Daily Intake **** USDA nd : undetermined
Very low in calories because of its high water content, cabbage is a good source of fibre, provitamin A, Vitamin C and B9.
In addition, for vegans (people who do not eat animal products, including milk and cheese) it provides a vital source of calcium, which is easily absorbed by people suffering from nutritional deficiency.
Recently, cabbage was found to contain substances such as indole, isothiocyanates and dithiolthiones which seem to have powerful anti-cancer properties. A large number of experiments performed over twenty years, both on animals and people, have confirmed the beneficial effect of eating cabbage on a regular basis to help the prevention of colon, stomach, lung and oesophagus cancers.
Vitamin C (the vitamin that stimulates the body’s defence system): a 200 g portion of cooked cabbage covers 40 to 50% of daily requirements, along with a dose of fibre, consisting mainly of cellulose and hemicellulose.
Benefits in practice
What is about portions...?
-a child portion : two leaves
-an adult portion : five leaves
Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations
-Raw, cabbage is delicious in a crunchy, tangy salad, mixed with one or two Granny-type grated apples, and a little grated raw onion, for those who like a little punch: this refreshing salad is rich in fibre and vitamins, making it an extremely healthy starter, especially for anyone who has a tendency to put on weight.
-Guineafowl with cabbage is a traditional recipe and a perfect pairing: the cabbage ensures the meat does not dry out, enabling it to remain moist and flavoursome without adding fat (like a slice of bacon). Simmered over a long period, the cabbage leaves soften, which are infused with the flavours of the guineafowl.
Add a few cumin seeds or star aniseed pods to the casserole dish when cooking: they will help you avoid feeling bloated, which sometimes happens when you eat too much cabbage.
Cooking is not always destructive: it softens soluble fibre and makes vegetables easier to digest. It also transforms certain carbohydrates to make them much more digestible.
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