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All about “Chinese cabbage”

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Chinese cabbage is part of the cruciferous family, a botanical family that would help protect us from cancers, particularly those of the lung and digestive system. It has a very light spicy flavor that enhances vegetable dishes. It perfectly matches all oriental flavors.

Characteristics of Chinese cabbage:

  • Rich in fiber;
  • Rich in antioxidants;
  • Rich in calcium;
  • Limits the risk of cancer;
  • Participates in the solidification of bones and teeth.

What is Chinese cabbage?

Chinese cabbage identity card

  • Type: Cabbage;
  • Family: Cruciferae;
  • Origin: East Asia;
  • Season: May to February;
  • White colour ;
  • Flavor: spicy.

Characteristics of Chinese Cabbage

When harvested, Chinese cabbage is made up of large leaves that form a firm, elongated “apple”.

Word from the nutritionist

Cabbage is a food rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. To make the most of its benefits, you can eat it raw.

Nutritional values

Per 100 g of raw Chinese cabbage:

Nutrients                                                              Quantities                                                              
Protein 1.07 g
Fat 0.3g
Carbohydrates 1.24 g
Water 94.9 g
Fibers 1.9g
Vitamin A 71 µg
Vitamin K 80 µg
Vitamin C 26 mg
Potassium 144 mg
Calcium 40 mg
Iron 0.6 mg


12 benefits of Chinese cabbage: why eat it?

  1. Antioxidants are compounds that protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. These are very reactive molecules which are implicated in the development of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers and other diseases linked to aging. Chinese cabbage contains phenolic compounds as well as carotenoids.
  2. Chinese cabbage contains considerable amounts of carotenoids, particularly in the form of beta-carotene. Carotenoids are compounds that also have antioxidant properties. In general, the consumption of foods rich in carotenoids is linked to a lower risk of suffering from certain cancers.
  3. Boiled Chinese cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin A (mainly in the form of beta-carotene) in women and a good source in men, since vitamin A requirements are higher in men. Raw Chinese cabbage is a source. Vitamin A is one of the most versatile vitamins, playing a role in several body functions. It promotes, among other things, the growth of bones and teeth. It keeps the skin healthy and protects against infections. In addition, it has antioxidant properties and promotes good vision, especially in the dark.
  4. Boiled Chinese cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, while raw Chinese cabbage is a source. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of proteins that participate in blood clotting (both in stimulating and inhibiting blood clotting). It also plays a role in bone formation. In addition to being found in food, vitamin K is manufactured by bacteria present in the intestine, hence the rarity of deficiencies in this vitamin.
  5. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a good source of vitamin C in women and a source in men, the need for this vitamin being higher in men. Raw Chinese cabbage is a source. The role that vitamin C plays in the body goes beyond its antioxidant properties; it also contributes to the health of bones, cartilage, teeth and gums. In addition, it protects against infections, promotes the absorption of iron from plants and accelerates healing.

  6. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a source of calcium. Calcium is by far the most abundant mineral in the body. It is mainly stored in the bones, of which it is an integral part. It contributes to the formation of bones and teeth, as well as to the maintenance of their health. Calcium also plays an essential role in blood clotting, maintenance of blood pressure and contraction of muscles, including the heart.
  7. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a source of potassium. In the body, potassium is used to balance the pH of the blood and to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, thus promoting digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses.
  8. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a source of iron. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It should be noted that the iron contained in plant foods, such as Chinese cabbage, is less absorbed by the body than the iron contained in animal foods. However, the absorption of iron from plants is favored when it is consumed with certain nutrients, such as vitamin C.
  9. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals.
  10. Boiled Chinese cabbage is a source of vitamin B2 for women only, since vitamin B2 needs are higher in men. Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, it plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.
  11. Chinese cabbage is a source of vitamin B6. Also called pyridoxine, this vitamin is part of coenzymes which participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the manufacture of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also contributes to the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells.
  12. Chinese cabbage is a source of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and wounds. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.

How to choose your Chinese cabbage

Choose heavy apples in your hand, firm and with healthy leaves, without signs of browning.

The different varieties

There are more than 30 different varieties of Chinese cabbage. Most are commonly consumed in Asian countries and in Asian communities in Western countries. Peking cabbage (Pé-tsai) and Pak-choi (Bok choy) are varieties that are gaining popularity in North America. They are now found in most food markets. Chinese cabbage, which is part of the large cruciferous family, contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals as well as active compounds whose properties on health are well demonstrated.

Keep well

In the refrigerator: Two weeks. For salads, it is best to consume it within four or five days of purchase.

In the freezer: Blanch it for two or three minutes, cut it into thin strips and cool it in ice water before putting it in a freezer bag.

Preparation of Chinese cabbage

How to cook it? How to match it?

You can stuff or braise Chinese cabbage like other types of cabbage. It is also excellent cooked in a meat broth. But here are some suggestions for more refined preparations.

  • Prepare a soup with dried shrimp, Chinese pasta, thinly sliced ​​pork shoulder or tofu, soy sauce, ginger root, brandy or sake, and water.
  • Prepare it in a salad with a hot vinaigrette, made with rice vinegar, ginger, sugar and hot pepper. Bring to a boil, and pour over the Chinese cabbage, cut into thin strips and mixed with green onion rings.
  • Braising Indonesian style coconut milk with chili, green onions and ginger. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  • It is ideal for stir-fry dishes: with chicken, beef or tofu, mushrooms, young bean sprouts, snow peas, bamboo shoots, etc. Add ginger, soy sauce, cornstarch, a few drops of sake and a little sugar to get an authentic oriental dish. A little oyster sauce will add flavor.
  • In Japan, Okonomiyaki is served, a kind of pancake which is prepared by mixing in a bowl grated Chinese cabbage, pieces of meat, shrimps, mushrooms, green onions and a dough made of flour, water and eggs. We cook everything in a pan like a pancake and serve with soy sauce or tamari.
  • Chinese cabbage in brine is universal in the East, either for preservation purposes or simply because you like its salty and tangy flavor. One of the many ways to prepare it is to cut it into thin strips that you put in a stoneware jar or, failing that, a plastic container. We add in salt the equivalent of 3% of the weight of the cabbage, one or two pieces of kombu (seaweed), and the zest and the juice of one or two lemons. Place a weight on the preparation, so that the juice rises so that it covers the cabbage. This condiment is ready to be consumed after a few days.


Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by various disorders of the digestive system, including abdominal pain, flatulence, and changes in bowel movements. This disorder can also manifest as gastroesophageal reflux or dyspepsia. Some people with this syndrome may experience intolerance to a variety of foods, including vegetables from the cabbage family. By limiting or avoiding these foods, people who suffer from this syndrome can reduce their symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc.). When the symptoms are mild or during so-called “remission” periods, it is sometimes possible to gradually reintegrate these foods, always respecting individual tolerance. To learn more about this functional disorder,

The interaction between crucifers and certain drugs

Indoles, compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, can in particular reduce the action of certain analgesics such as products containing acetaminophen (Tylenol®, Atasol®, Tempra®, etc. ) and other drugs combining a mixture of active ingredients (Benylin®, Contac®, Robaxacet®, etc.). People who eat a large amount of cruciferous vegetables should take this into consideration.

History of food

“Chinese cabbage” is a general term that can refer to several subspecies of Brassica that are grown and consumed in Asia as well as in West Asian communities. However, the pekinensis subspecies generally refers to Chinese cabbage with elongated apple, Chihli type or Napa type, which can be found in our grocery stores. Brassica rapa recently replaced B. campestris as the scientific name, as this species is not botanically different from the turnip. In short, Chinese cabbage is a leafy turnip.

Brassica rapa could be the first plant of the Brassica genus to have been domesticated. This species probably comes from two completely independent lines: one of western origin (Europe, Central Asia and India) including turnip and rapeseed, and the other, of eastern origin (East Asia), comprising leafy vegetables (many variations of Chinese cabbage). It is from the province of Anhui, in the south of China, that this second line would come, which would then have dispersed in other parts of the world. Although there is no mention of Chinese cabbage in the writings before the 5th century AD, researchers believe it is quite possible that it was grown some 7,000 years ago.

Cabbage on clothesline

In China, cabbage leaves were once hung on ropes to dry them in preparation for winter. In the fall, all the courtyards of the houses were thus garnished with rows of hanging cabbage leaves. This habit still exists in certain campaigns where the refrigerator is still not the norm.

Introduced in the West at the end of the 19th century, Chinese cabbage has recently gained an excellent reputation throughout the Western world because of its nutritional value, its yields and the fact that its production period is relatively short (50 to 60 days for early varieties).

For further

Organic gardening

For its maturation, Chinese cabbage prefers autumn, a period when the days get shorter and the temperatures are cool. Optimal temperatures for good growth are between 15 ° C and 20 ° C. Paradoxically, it does not support the cold temperatures of spring. Exposed to temperatures of 10 ° C or less for a week, the young plant may go to seed. Therefore, in our climates, it is better to sow or transplant it between July 10 and 30. Despite these precautions, and given the climatic aberrations that we have known for a few years, it is recommended to choose varieties resistant to the uplift.

Each year, the damage caused to vegetables by slugs results in losses of several million dollars: the sight of a field of Chinese cabbage completely defoliated by these voracious animals is enough to discourage the most valiant producers. In addition, the molluscicides used to destroy them are expensive, in addition to being toxic to other creatures that live in the soil, as well as to birds and mammals such as shrew and field mice. Furthermore, these substances are not very effective, the slugs being perfectly adapted to their environment. Indeed, they hide underground, and the layer of mucus that covers their body gives them relative protection. However, in September 2003, researchers from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne discovered that a purified extract of garlic could significantly limit the damage caused by these creatures, destroying not only the adults, but also the eggs laid on the ground, which is quite extraordinary. After treatment, damage to the leaves was measured to find that it was minimal. According to the researchers, if in field crops it is better to use a purified extract, in the family vegetable garden, a preparation based on crushed garlic and water will do the trick.

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