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Chinese cabbage (raw, organic?)

Chinese cabbage is a popular, low-calorie, easily digestible vegetable whether raw, fermented or cooked. It is readily available in organic quality.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 69.76%
Macronutrient proteins 25.92%
Macronutrient fats 4.32%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, <0.1g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Chinese cabbage ( Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis ) can be prepared raw as a salad, pickled as a sauerkraut or cooked. This cabbage is a very digestible and low-calorie vegetable and is often available in organic quality.

Use in the kitchen

The so-called Peking cabbage has large, tender leaves without a stalk and tastes pleasantly fresh with a subtle cabbage aroma. It has a milder taste than other types of cabbage and is easy to digest, so it is also suitable for people who don't like cabbage. In addition to the common yellow-green variety, there is also a variety with violet (red-violet, purple) leaves.

Can you eat Chinese cabbage raw and is Chinese cabbage a raw food? Chinese cabbage can be eaten raw. Raw and finely chopped, Chinese cabbage makes a wonderful salad. Even mixed with dressing, its leaves stay crisp for hours, making it popular for picnics and barbecues. You can also enjoy it as a raw food snack with various dips or add it raw to a sandwich to give it more bite.

Is Chinese cabbage better raw or cooked? Whether raw or cooked is a matter of taste. Chinese cabbage is also suitable for stewing, steaming, frying, braising and baking. If you don't eat it raw, you should make sure it is cooked for a short time of around 5-7 minutes, otherwise it will lose its crispness and many of its Chinese cabbage nutrients.

Chinese cabbage is omnipresent in Asian cuisine. It is ideal for Asian wok dishes and a variety of curries. In Thailand, it is also chopped into noodle soups. In Korea, Chinese cabbage is used to prepare the famous dishes bibimbap (rice dish with vegetables) and kimchi (or gimchi: cabbage pickled in salt and hot spices and fermented). For other pickled cabbage varieties , pak choi or the leaves of brown mustard (= amchoi), often called 'pickled mustard cabbage' (see the chapter on alternative names), are also used.

Briefly steamed or fried Chinese cabbage makes a quick and tasty side dish for all kinds of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Chinese cabbage can also be used to make delicious vegan stews, casseroles, soups, vegetable stir-fries, mushroom stir-fries and gratins. The leaves are suitable both as a covering and as a filling for cabbage rolls that can be baked in the oven. Chinese cabbage is also excellent as the contents of wraps, spring rolls and gyoza (Japanese dumplings).

Vegan recipe for a summery Chinese cabbage salad

Ingredients (for 2 people): 1 raw Chinese cabbage (organic), 250 g apricots , 250 g mushrooms , 125 g tofu (smoked), 1 onion , 1 tbsp rapeseed oil , juice of an orange , possibly agave syrup , salt andpepper , soy sauce , parsley .

Preparation: Wash the Chinese cabbage and mushrooms, peel the onion, wash and stone the apricots; now cut everything into slices/strips. Cut the tofu into thin strips. For the dressing, mix the rapeseed oil, orange juice and possibly agave syrup and season with a little salt and pepper. Briefly fry the tofu in a pan. Briefly fry the onion and mushrooms and season with a little soy sauce. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, add the dressing and mix well. Garnish the vegan salad with finely chopped, fresh parsley and serve. This Chinese cabbage recipe is very low in calories.

Vegan Chinese cabbage recipes can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

Supermarkets such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa generally offer Chinese cabbage all year round, often in organic quality. In organic supermarkets (e.g. Alnatura , Denn's Biomarkt ) you will only find Chinese cabbage that has been organically grown (bio). You can buy it locally and freshly at weekly markets, directly from the farmer or order it in the weekly vegetable box (subscription box). This cabbage is in season from May to March , although local fresh produce is more likely to be available from August to November, after which stored produce hits the shelves.

The availability of Chinese cabbage varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. Our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries can be found above under the ingredient image - and by clicking on them you can see their development at different suppliers.

Storage tips

Stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, freshly bought Chinese cabbage should last up to a week. Wrapped in a damp cloth, sandwich paper, beeswax cloth or cling film, it will stay fresh raw for a few weeks because the leaves do not wilt so quickly. It is important to wash it just before use.

Home-grown Chinese cabbage is harvested in late autumn (October to November) or some varieties in early winter (can withstand light frosts) including the root ball. After cleaning the cabbage and checking it for pests, wrap it in newspaper and store it in a wooden box in the cellar, for example. At around 3-5 °C, it should last until the end of January.

Can you freeze Chinese cabbage? Blanched (washed, chopped, boiled briefly in lightly salted water and then rinsed in cold water) Chinese cabbage can also be frozen. If you pat it dry, cut it into appropriate portions and fill it into a well-sealable bag, it will keep for several months.

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

Chinese cabbage (raw) is very low in calories and fat with 16 kcal and 0.2 g fat per 100 g. Chinese cabbage contains 3.2 g carbohydrates/100 g, and 1.2 g fiber and protein each/100 g. 1

Cabbage is rich in vitamin K (43 µg/100g; 57% of the daily requirement). Pak choi (46 µg/100g) and red cabbage (38 µg/100g) contain a similar amount. Swiss chard contains a particularly high amount of vitamin K, at 830 µg/100g . 1

In addition, raw Chinese cabbage contains 79 µg of folate per 100 g (40% of the daily requirement). Savoy cabbage (80 µg/100g) andlettuce (73 µg/100g) have similar contents. Edamame have a significantly higher value at 303 µg/100g. 1

The vitamin C content is 27 mg/100g (34% of the daily requirement). This is similar to that of spinach (28 mg/100g) and chard (30 mg/100g). Significantly more vitamin C is found in yellow bell peppers (184 mg/100g). 1

Chinese cabbage also contains vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) , potassium and calcium in such quantities that 100 g cover at least 10% of the daily requirement. 1 Read about the beta-carotene content in the Health Aspects section.

The complete ingredients of Chinese cabbage, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Effects on health

Is Chinese cabbage healthy? Chinese cabbage is a low-calorie food due to its low carbohydrate, fat and protein content. However, it does provide a significant amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene (provitamin A, see nutrient description of vitamin A, as RAE ). 2 There are large fluctuations in terms of the beta-carotene content. Depending on the variety, 14 part of the plant (leaves, stem) and age of the leaves, 15 different values can be found in the literature. A comparison with other nutrient databases (approx. 426 µg/100g) and publications (600 µg 15 ) showed that the values listed from the USDA 1 are in the lower range at 190 µg.

Unlike other types of cabbage, Chinese cabbage is easier to digest; therefore, you can safely eat Chinese cabbage raw, even if you have a sensitive stomach.

Like other plants from the cruciferous family, Chinese cabbage is said to have anti-carcinogenic properties, mainly due to the glucosinolates it contains. 2 Research has shown that regular and long-term consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer. 3,4 There are also studies on special preparations (powders) made from Chinese cabbage, with the aim of increasing daily intake and thus preventing liver cancer. 3 However, unprocessed vegetables and fruit should be given preference in the diet, as processed products always correlate with a greater loss of important phytochemicals. 4

Chinese cabbage contains antioxidants that counteract reactive oxygen species, which trigger pathological disorders that cause oxidative damage, such as inflammation and atherosclerosis. According to a study, prolonged exposure to sunlight leads to a higher content of various types of antioxidants in Chinese cabbage. The further out the leaves are, the higher the levels of antioxidants can be detected. 5

Is Chinese cabbage edible raw? You get the most out of Chinese cabbage's nutrients when you eat it raw.

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

The bioaccumulation of heavy metals in vegetables is a problem that increasingly requires our attention. Chinese cabbage that is exposed to increased copper applications does not show any visible symptoms of damage itself, it even benefits from it in terms of chlorophyll content, but the copper it contains may pose a risk to human health. Therefore, the copper content should be kept in mind. 6 Chinese cabbage is also very susceptible to the accumulation of cadmium, which is why efforts are being made to reduce this heavy metal. 7

Studies from China show that Chinese cabbage also accumulates nitrate and that regular nitrate exposure increases the risk of cancer. The extent of nitrate accumulation in vegetables depends, among other things, on the use of chemical nitrogen fertilizers and special cultivation methods (eg hydroponic cultivation, where the plant is in artificial nutrient solutions). The correct dosage of fertilizers (or not using them) and conventional cultivation methods can significantly reduce the accumulation of nitrate in vegetables. 8

Folk medicine - natural healing

In traditional Chinese medicine ( TCM ), Chinese cabbage is used as a diuretic and digestive stimulant. Its fresh juice mixed with honey, ginger and onions and drunk as a tea is said to help with coughs. 9

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Achieving a consistent quality of Chinese cabbage over generations is difficult in organic farming . Organic Chinese cabbage is nevertheless of higher quality because it is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and synthetic pesticides and insecticides. 10 Although pesticides have advantages for agriculture, the consequences for the environment should not be ignored. Some pesticides are difficult to break down and can accumulate in nature. They directly or indirectly pollute the air, water, soil and entire ecosystems. This can pose a risk to the health of all living things. 25 The use of chemical-synthetic agents and pesticides is prohibited in organic farming. 26 Therefore, if possible, choose organic Chinese cabbage.

In 2009, the FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) conducted life cycle analyses (LCAs) of various organic products (organic own brand of a supermarket chain) in Austria. The researchers compared these LCAs with the conventional equivalents. Organic vegetables caused 10-35% less CO₂ emissions (based on 1 kg of product). 24

The global average water footprint of the Brassica genus is approximately 280 L/kg. 22 A small footprint: vegetables use 322 L/kg, fruit 967 L/kg, nuts 9063 L/kg and beef 15,415 L/kg. 23

Carbon footprint: Pak Choi, a very close relative of Chinese cabbage, has an approximate carbon footprint of 0.26 kg CO2eq/kg (Danish market). 18 This is a small footprint compared to other foods. 19,20 Seasonal, regional and sourced from organic farming, Chinese cabbage is a climate-friendly food; even if you put the carbon footprint in relation to the nutrients. 21

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Chinese cabbage probably originated from a cross between pak choi (Chinese mustard cabbage, Brassica rapa var. chinensis ) and a turnip ( Brassica rapa var. rapa 10 or ssp. rapifera 16 ). It is therefore only distantly related to the European cabbage species that are derived from a wild form (here Brassica oleracea var. silvestris , although this is disputed 17 ). 11 As the name suggests, Chinese cabbage probably comes from China, where it was first cultivated in the 5th century. It came to Europe much later, at the beginning of the 20th century. The largest cultivation areas in Asia are in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. In Europe it is mainly grown in Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 11

Growing in the garden or as a potted plant

For cultivation, it needs a sheltered, sunny to partially shaded location with loose, rich soil. To avoid diseases and pests, cultivation breaks of several years and a well-planned crop rotation are very important; this includes, for example, root thickenings such as clubroot, caused by a fungus. Sowing takes place at the end of July. The distance between the individual plants is about 30 cm. Chinese cabbage needs a lot of water, but waterlogging must be avoided at all costs. When the head is completely closed, the Chinese cabbage can be harvested. In October, cut the head off close to the ground and remove the outermost leaves. If the main harvest takes place a little earlier, the cabbage will grow back a little and you can harvest more leaves later. 12

Cultivation - Harvest

To enable harvests in early summer, plants are planted in greenhouses in southern Ontario (CA), for example, at the beginning of May, hardened and then planted outside within a month of sowing, either by hand or by machine. Depending on the region, direct sowing is possible outdoors from the end of April. To save on labor costs, some larger farmers use precision seed drills. The Chinese cabbage is ripe after around 60-95 days (depending on the variety). It is generally harvested by hand. 13

Further information

What is Chinese cabbage? Brassica rapa ssp. pekinensis is a vegetable plant from the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae) and, as mentioned, closely related to pak choi ( Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis ). 16 Both belong to the cabbage genus ( Brassica ). The firm, oval to cylindrical heads with their mostly yellow-green leaves weigh around 1-3 kg.

There are many cultivars of Chinese cabbage. In China, there are two main types: Baak Choi (white vegetable) and Lung Nga Paak (white dragon's tooth). The variety that is mainly grown in Europe is derived from Lung Nga Paak. 11

Alternative names

Chinese cabbage is also called Peking cabbage, Japanese cabbage, celery cabbage, leaf cabbage, Shantung cabbage, Chinese cabbage and cooking salad. In Chinese, Chinese cabbage is called Pe-Tsai. 1 Incorrect spellings (such as raw Chinese cabbage, Chinese pickled cabbage) creep in; also Kim Chi instead of Kimchi / Gimchi.

Mustard cabbage is not a valid name for Chinese cabbage: it stands for pak choi, rocket or arugula ( Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa ) or for the mustard herb of brown mustard ( Brassica juncea 16 ).

In English, the names Chinese cabbage or napa cabbage are common, and occasionally celery cabbage is also found.