The plant of Cabbage
Cabbages belong to the family of cruciferous (Brassica oleracea). The edible part of this plant are inflorescences not yet ripe, called head, bush, flower head, corymb.
Thanks to the perfect balance of its components, cabbage exerts a beneficial effect on the entire body.
These fresh vegetables are, indeed, very rich in water, which constitutes more than the 90% of their total volume and their energy value is around 25-30 cal./ 100g of the edible part. It was always used to prevent, treat or allieviate many diseases and it contains active principles such as anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-scurvy.. In general, cabbages are very interesting vegetables in many ways: they are purifying and remineralizing and facilitate tissue regeneration.
They can be eaten in case of diabetes, as they are low in calories and have high levels of potassium, minerals, folic acid, fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin C. Cabbages are very satiating and are low in fat, so they are very useful in a low-calorie diets. Moreover, they provide also fibers rich in cellulose, useful to the intestine.
According to some U.S. studies, among the main properties of this winter vegetable, there is also the fact that it prevents colon cancer and ulcers; head cabbage and savoy cabbage are usually used with therapeutic goals. The chlorophyll that they contain, in fact, enhances the production of hemoglobin that is helpful in curing anemia. The infusion of cabbage and honey is useful in case of respiratory illnesses.
Finally, cabbage is very helpful against bronchitis, colitis, conjunctivitis, bruises, sinusitis, diabets, diarrhea and dysentery, stomach and intestinal pain, muscular and rheumatic pains and flu.
In was also widely documented that raw cabbage juice is excellent against peptic ulcer: a liter of fresh juice a day, taken in divede dosed, helps in curing ulcer in only about ten days, probably because of the high content of glutamine. In cosmetics, the juice is used as an ingredient in products for the revitalization of the skin.
Usally, cabbage is boiled in large pots with a lot of water, but in this way, over the half of vitamin C and folic acid present in this fresh vegetable gets lost: a good solution is to cook it in a microwave or to steam it without slicing it in small pieces.
Cabbages can be difficult to digest for people with sensitive stomachs, therefore, it is always wise not to serve them in the evening. Furthermore, they should never be recommended to people suffering from liver and they can cause flatulence.
Instead, to mitigate the unpleasant odor that they emanate during the cooking, it is enough to add to the water a piece of breadcrumb and a pinch of baking soda.
Cabbage does not contain gluten and, therefore, is suitable also for people suffering from celiac desease. They contain substances that slow down the work of thyroid, therefore they must be avoided in case of hypothyroidism. It is also contraindicated for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, because to exceed with cabbages can cause bloat and diarrhea.
The plant of cabbage is a cultivation that grows well in most soils, but prefers soils rich in organic matter: in fact the plant water requirements are considerable and it is not very resistant to drought.
The cabbage fears excesses of nitrogen, which can create problems of quality to the vegetable (infloresence), deficiencies in boron, which cause vegetal deformation in stems, where the inside becomes black and creates holes inside the stem itself, and deficiencies in molybdenum, which may cause blistering and deformed leaves.
Finally, cabbage is very demanding of calcium and, as all cruciferous vegetables, in sulfur.
To choose a fresh cabbage, it is good to use severeral precautions: for example, external leaves must be crisp and close to the head, which in turn must be large and free of dark spots; a hard and compact flower, with tightly closed florets, is index of freshness: while a slightly blackened flower surface is a sign of inadequate and plolonged storage.
To clean the cabbage, it is necessary to remove the external leaves.
As regards the cooking of cabbage, instead, it can be cooked whole or chopped: if you decide to cook it whole, it is necessary to make a cross-shaped cut at the base of the stalk and soak it in water acidulated with lemon to remove all the soil hidden between the florets. If you decide to cook the cabbage chopped, instead, it is necessary to remove the core and cut the tops with a sharp knife, leaving a piece of stem attached to each top.