Cauliflower, Tuscan cabbage, Roman cabbage, Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts: a complete guide to the different varieties of cabbage and how to cook them.
Published 2023-01-15, by ,
Table of contents:
Cabbage is a vegetable from the cruciferous family, genus brassica, of great health benefit, very cheap and easy to find in many varieties on the stalls of a local market as well as in large supermarkets: cauliflower, Tuscan, Roman, Chinese, red, cabbage, Savoy cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts. This vegetable in all its forms is a versatile food and challenges us to bring it to the table in many different ways. They are winter vegetables, with a few exceptions, and for most cabbage, as well as broccoli, the rule of thumb is to wait until the first frost, after which there will be the best specimens.
Beneficial and nutritional properties
Cabbage was considered sacred by the Greeks and known to the Romans as a medicinal plant for curing a wide variety of illnesses. They also ate it raw before banquets to help the body better absorb alcohol.
All varieties of cabbage have healthy virtues due to their high fibre and mineral content, significant amounts of vitamins and proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which slow down cellular ageing due to the presence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; recent studies have proven that these vegetables have cancer-preventive properties due to the presence of flavones, glucosides and sulforaphans, like explained here https://cabbage.news/.
Cabbage is mainly composed of water (more than 90 %), has a very low fat content and a low sugar content (dextrose and fructose, traces of saccharose). For this reason, it is considered a low-calorie food (25-30 kcal in 100 g of edible portion) perfect for those on a slimming diet. Out of 100 g of product, an average of about 2% is protein and about 2.5 g fibre, which helps the gastro-intestinal system and has a high satiating power.
The minerals present in greater quantities (potassium, phosphorus, as well as sulphur, selenium, calcium, magnesium, sodium) help replenish the body's mineral reserves. All cabbage (especially if fresh) has an important presence of vitamin C (about 60-80 mg per 100 grams, compared to 45 in an orange) but is also rich in B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, folic acid (B9) and vitamins E and K; it is therefore an excellent cold-relief vegetable and a food recommended for pregnant women also due to the presence of beta carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, in good quantities that allows the baby to grow and develop better.
How to clean cabbage
To clean the cauliflower, remove the base by cutting the core with a cross cut and wash it well under running water. If you want to cook the whole head, leave it to soak for about 30 minutes in a little water acidulated with lemon or vinegar to drive out any insects that may have lurked among the inflorescences, then wash it thoroughly with cold water to make sure you have removed any traces of soil. If you prefer to divide the cauliflower into florets, place the cauliflower sideways on the chopping board, hold it with one hand on the side of the florets and use a knife to remove the stem and outer leaves. Remove the inflorescences, one by one, from the stalk with the help of a smaller knife. If the inflorescences are particularly large, you can split them further apart. Collect the florets in a colander and wash them under running cold water, then dry them with a kitchen towel and use them as an ingredient in your recipe.
Clean Tuscan kale - Remove the soft, damaged outer leaves from the stem first, then peel off all the others. At this point you can decide to leave the central rib and cut the leaves horizontally into small pieces, then wash them in plenty of cold water and proceed to cooking, knowing that it will take a long time. Or you can remove the centre rib with an operation called 'peeling': hold the leaf with your left hand at the base of the rib, then with your right hand grasp the leaf at the base and pull it upwards, clenching your fist around the rib. In this way you will be left with the rib in your left hand and the green part in your right. If you are unfamiliar with 'peeling' the kale, you can place one leaf at a time on the cutting board and with a small knife cut along the central rib and remove it. Wash the cleaned leaves under cold running water, then dry them by blotting them with a sheet of paper towel or a clean tea towel. To cut the cabbage, take 2-3 leaves at a time, place them on the chopping board and roll them up, then cut them into strips with a knife and proceed to cooking.
Clean the cabbage - Discard the tough or damaged outer leaves, wash it under a stream of cold water, rubbing it with your hands to remove traces of dirt. Dry the cabbage with a sheet of paper towel, then place it on a chopping board and cut it into 4 parts with a knife (preferably stainless steel, not carbon steel as it will blacken the edges of the cabbage slices). Remove the core from each quarter of cabbage and cut the leaves into thin strips and use them according to the recipe you want to make.