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Health Benefits of Cavolo Nero

Updated: Jan 21



Cavolo nero (black cabbage) is part of the brassicas family that, for decades, were not considered very appealing. Lately however, they have been rediscovered as some of the most interesting and useful vegetables we have to hand.


Helpful tips for buying, cooking and eating cavolo nero

When buying leafy brassicas such as cavolo nero, look for leaves that stand up to attention and are vibrantly green. Don't buy any that are floppy or dull-looking.

When cooking, timing is critical. Cooking should be either short and sweet, or long and slow, as in soups or braised. Nothing in between will do. Over-boiled brassicas release sulphurous odours and turn to unappetising mush.

The best way to capture the flavour is to use little water as possible. Either stir-fry, sauté or steam them, or use the half-boil/half-steam 'conservative' method, which involves putting the leaves in a wide shallow pot with only a little boiling water, so they are not covered, and then cooking them briefly with the lid on.


Cavolo nero adds its interesting iron-tinged flavour to hearty winter broths with root vegetables and pulses, but you can also be inspired by more vibrant flavours and pair it with lemon zest or other citrus fruits.


Health properties

In terms of health benefits, cavolo nero (and all other brassicas) offers a truly impressive package of vitamins and minerals. They are loaded with vitamin C, which is protective against many diseases and supports the immune system; vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and bone health; soluble fiber, which slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream; and folate, which helps with fertility and during pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

In addition, brassicas contain a collection of useful minerals and phytochemicals, which have anti inflammatory effect and help reduce risk of heart disease and stroke.


Cavolo nero in the UK is in season from June until March.


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