Cabbage and Savoy Cabbage
Head cabbage has smooth, indented leaves, easily reaches a height of 50 cm
Cabbage and Savoy cabbage are two subspecies of the well-known Brassica oleracea L., a plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family
In botany, head cabbage is known as 'capitata', while savoy cabbage is called 'sabauda'.
Cabbage has smooth, indented leaves, easily reaches a height of 50 cm (ref.: cabbage.news) and the edible part consists of the central sprout which, as on the outside, can be either green or red (depending on quality); both types of head cabbage (green or red) boast the same botanical, chemical-nutritional (except for pigment content) and cultivation characteristics. Savoy cabbage is very similar to the former but has wrinkled leaves with numerous wrinkles and protrusions.
Cabbage and Savoy cabbage can be classified according to when they are harvested; there are early, summer and late harvests, although, from a dietary point of view, like most Brassica oleracea L. (especially Brussels sprouts), they are a vegetable typically eaten in winter. Their resistance to the cold is a highly 'desirable' characteristic since, at low temperatures, most vegetables and fruits (vitamin C suppliers) 'should' be in short supply or even disappear (with the exception of potatoes which, for their part, need to be cooked for a long time to reduce the vitamin C they contain). The best-known varieties of cabbage and savoy cabbage are:
- Early white cabbage: Copenhagen Market (tapered), Gloria of Enkhuizen, Filderkraut Spezialzucht (recommended for sauerkraut production)
- Early red cabbage
- Early Savoy cabbage
- Late red cabbage: Septemberrot, Monhrenkopl
- Savoy cabbage latenza
Savoy cabbage and Savoy cabbage are vegetables that belong to both food groups VI and VII, since, even in the absence of ALL reference values, they can be assumed to contain high amounts of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and B-carotene (retinol eq. - pro-vitamin A); on account of this vitamin concentration and that of many other antioxidants (especially phenolic substances), Savoy cabbage and Savoy cabbage are considered to be protective foods against various forms of cancer. In addition, the high dietary fibre content is highly effective in promoting proper bowel function (preventive and curative towards constipation).
The potassium and iron intake (although the latter is not very bioavailable) of green, raw cabbage is appreciable; it is unclear whether the purine content of cabbage and Savoy cabbage is comparable to that of cauliflower (and probably broccoli) or lower.
By virtue of their resistance to cold, as with Brussels sprouts, late cabbage and savoy cabbage performed a DETERMINING dietary function for all northern or colonising continental populations. Late cabbage and savoy cabbage, like citrus fruits for the Mediterranean ethnic groups, are an excellent source of vitamin C and retinol equivalents for much of the temperate season (during which other vegetables would NOT be available in the temperate season). Finally, green cabbage forms the basis for the preparation of sauerkraut, a fermented food to be served cooked (thus depleted of easily oxidisable and thermolabile vitamin C) rich in many other vitamins derived from microbial lactic fermentation.