The cabbage it is one of the many "cabbages" that in winter is a panacea because it is rich in benefits for our health and simple to prepare, and in season while many other vegetables in winter are not easy to have at zero or almost km. We can also learn a grow it in our garden, it is not difficult.
Cabbage: characteristics of the vegetable
It belongs to the family of Brassicaceae just like savoy cabbage, kale, broccoli, black cabbage, red cabbage and cauliflower. It is a plant that has been known for a long time, even the ancients had understood its values and the health benefits it brings. Surely to its advantage there is the fact that it is not difficult to cultivate and does not require too much time and too much attention while in the kitchen it is versatile and it can be, as we will see, an excellent side dish or a condiment for first courses, together with other winter ingredients to our liking.
Cabbage can have a diameter of about ten centimeters but even up to 20, it has smooth and concave light green leaves. Occasionally they can also be white tending to violet. If we don't grow it but buy it, it lasts about two weeks but it is important that it is not damaged in the leaves. It must be washed very carefully and then cut and used in the kitchen with maximum imagination. We find it protagonist in numerous South Tyrolean soups but also in Italy, in Trentino and in Alto Adige, it is also eaten in salads, cut into fine julienne strips and flavored with cumin seeds and sometimes with strips of speck. As we will see in the recipes suggested below, we can also prepare it in a pan with speck, celeriac, onions and julienne carrots.
The beneficial substances that cabbage contains are different, it is rich in fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium but it also has a lot of iron, more than red meat and milk. It also contains sodium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin C. Excellent news also for those on a diet because it has very few calories, 20 kcal per 100 gr, and zero cholesterol. If you want to benefit more from this cabbage, it is better to eat it fresh and raw in the salad, or if we prefer to cook it, the best method is steamed.
Cabbage: cultivation in autumn and winter
Although it can also be grown in summer and spring, the cabbage it is considered above all a winter vegetable, then it all depends on when we sow it. In winter it gives its best and is more appreciated because other vegetables are scarce. With the red variety, in addition to having more colorful dishes, we also fill up with antioxidants.
When to plant cabbage
Depending on the variety and the season in which you intend to harvest, this cabbage can be sown from February to September. We can indeed speak of three types of cabbage, the summer and autumn one and the spring one. In the first case, they are sown from January to May; the others in May and June; and in August and September. In principle, we can plant it in the season we prefer, consequently it adapts and grows. The climate most suited to its nature is certainly not the summer one because it fears the heat and loves cool climates and rain, it fears drought.
The optimal temperature for its growth it ranges from 15 ° to 18 °. When we want to plant cabbage we can also take into account the rotation and intercropping methods, for example by planting it where previously there were legumes such as beans, peas, broad beans, chickpeas, etc. this is because they are plants that leave the soil rich in nitrogen and the cabbage can take advantage of it. Better to avoid re-planting it in the same position the following year, we can instead replace it with some onions or carrots.
At what distance to plant cabbage
First we plant it in seedbeds or in small individual pots, then later in the garden, waiting for the seedlings to grow up to 15 cm and have some leaves. It usually takes about two months. When we put the seedlings on the ground we must keep a distance from each other of about half a meter, while between one row and the other of about 60 centimeters.
If we are putting cabbage in a populated garden, better know the neighbors that are more interesting to him than they are peas, snow peas, celery, leeks, lettuce, endive, spinach.
Ideal soil for cabbage
We have explained the ideal climate for this crop but the characteristics of the soil are also very important. For the cabbage it takes fresh and deep, as little acid as possible. To prepare it you have to dig to a depth of about 30/40 cm and add an organic substance of which he is greedy.
How and how much to water cabbage
To correctly dose the water when growing cabbage it is very important not to overdo it and be extremely regular, especially in the early stages of cultivation. Then the heads will begin to take shape on their own. When the heads are firm and compact we can cut them and collect them by cutting right under the first leaves.
Cabbage: insect enemy of cabbage
It is obvious that the cabbage is an insect very fond of cabbage and that it can damage it heavily. To hunt it, avoiding chemicals, we can use biological ones based on the microorganism Bacillus thuringiensis. The alternative is prevention and in this case you need fine mesh or non-woven fabric that let the water pass but block the female butterflies that aim to go and lay their eggs near the leaves.
How to cook cabbage: recipes
Cabbage lends itself to many recipes, let's see three. The first is there cream of purple cabbage, very easy to prepare.
- 1/2 purple cabbage or a small one
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 onion or leek
- 20 gr EVO oil
- 400 ml of water
- 1 tsp vegetable nut
- sesame q. b.
Put the onion or leek in a blender and chop for a few seconds, then sauté with a little oil and add the cleaned cabbage cut into strips. We also add the peeled and chopped potatoes, the water and the cube and cook again. At the end we can blend for another thirty seconds and serve with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkling of sesame.
A second cabbage-based recipe is that of pie with potatoes too, excellent in winter if you are in a hurry and children also love it.
- 500 gr of potatoes
- half cabbage
- cinnamon powder
- salt until integral
- extra virgin olive oil
- bread crumbs
We boil 500 grams of potatoes and prepare half cabbage separately, chopping it into thin strips and then put it in a pan with just a little water. It must simmer, wait when it is wilted and then let it cool. Let's take care of the potatoes that we have to peel and mash, season with salt and grated nutmeg. Now we can combine the cabbage and potatoes in a baking dish, mash the dough with a fork and cover the surface with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It must bake in the oven at 180 degrees for half an hour.
We continue with an appetizing dish of farfalle with cabbage, carrots and zucchini. To prepare they are trivial but they perform well. They are needed
- butterflies (also integral)
- half a finely chopped red cabbage à la Julienne
- 2 Carrots cut à la Julienne
- 1 Zucchini cut à la Julienne
- 1 clove of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil: to taste
- Half chopped onion
- Chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
Chop the garlic clove and onion and fry them in a pan with a little olive oil. We take and cut the cabbage à la Julienne, then cook it in a pan together with the carrots and courgette, salt and let it cook. Let's boil the water to cook the pasta. When the farfalle are ready, al dente, drain them and toss them in the pan with the vegetable dressing and a little chopped parsley. If necessary, add a drop of pasta cooking water.
Those who prefer rice to pasta can prepare it with cabbage and hazelnut puree. It is a very refined and tasty dish, and very wintery
- 300 gr of red rice
- 500 gr of cabbage
- 1/2 white onion
- a few juniper berries
- a dozen toasted hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
- vegetable broth to taste
- Salt to taste.
We fry the onion in a pan and then add the cabbage cut into thin strips with some juniper berries. We salt and add 2 ladles of hot broth and let it cook with the lid on for about 30 minutes, waiting for the cabbage to become soft absorbing the broth. We blend the cabbage together with the hazelnuts. Aside we boil the rice and drain it so we can do it stir-fry with oil and soy sauce. We can serve the rice on plates and then add a little cabbage puree. Next to it we can combine a salad of raw cabbage dressed with oil and a pinch of salt and some hazelnuts.