What can I do with too much cabbage? That’s a question asked by many people, not just you. Having food items more than we need always leads to this question.
Of course, you can cook cabbage into many delicious dishes. Soon after running out of time to cook these leafy greens, you’re wondering: can you freeze cabbage for later use?
Without a doubt, yes, cabbage freezes wonderfully. The next question might be, should I blanch, or can I just freeze cabbage without blanching it?
No worries, people. We got you covered. In this article, we share the essential tips on freezing cabbage and other related topics. Sounds interesting? Read on!
The Best Way To Freeze Cabbage
Before we get down to the step-by-step guide on freezing cabbage, it is important to note that raw cabbage doesn’t freeze well. While you can freeze cabbage without blanching it, this step is vital to preserving the quality of frozen cabbage.
If you want to freeze cabbage for the long term–more than 1 to 2 months, blanching is highly necessary before freezing raw cabbage. It deactivates enzymes responsible for color, flavor, and texture losses. Therefore, blanching is a part of the freezing procedure that you shouldn’t skip if you want to keep this leafy green until the next harvest.
Follow this step-by-step guide on how to freeze cabbage properly. You can use this guide to freeze green and Chinese cabbage.
1. Select the cabbage
To start with, choose good quality cabbage to freeze—one that is fresh, clean, and unspoiled. Don’t use the cabbage if the leaves are wilted, yellowish, or rotting.
2. Wash the cabbage
Cabbage heads (mostly homegrown ones) may host insects and other tiny bugs. You need to get rid of them by soaking the cabbages in cold water or salt solution by adding 1 tablespoon of salt per gallon of water.
After soaking for about 30 minutes, remove the cabbages and rinse under running water.
3. Cut the cabbage
Trim the coarse outer leaves. Next, you can cut cabbage heads in different styles according to your preference; in quarters, as separate leaves, wedges, shredded, or slices.
If you have no idea how you’ll use the cabbage, consider freezing it in wedges. This shape works well in many cooked dishes.
4. Blanching the cabbage
Start by preparing two big pots. Fill one pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill the other one with an equal amount of ice and cold water.
When the water is boiling, boil the leaves for 1 ½ minutes. Set a timer so you won’t overcook or undercook the leaves.
Make sure all leaves are submerged in the boiling water. Don’t overcrowd the pot. Repeat this step if you have a large quantity of cabbage.
To blanch cabbage, let’s start with preparing two big pots. Fill one pot with water and bring to boil. Fill the other one with ice and cold water.
Next, quickly remove the boiled leaves from the pot and dunk them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Finally, drain the leaves in a colander and shake off the excess water. Pat dry the leaves with kitchen paper. The drier the leaves, the lower the risk of getting freezer burn.
5. Freezing for long term
Divide the leaves into portion sizes and pack in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
A single portion pack is handy for thawing. You can just take out one bag enough for a single serving, instead of thawing a hefty amount and having leftovers.
Leave ½ inch of headspace if you use a container. Press as much air as possible if you use a freezer bag.
Label each pack with a freezing date and amount. Place it in the freezer for future use.
It is advised to check your freezer once in a while. Make sure the temperature is set to 0 °F (−18 °C) or lower.
How To Freeze Cooked Cabbage
You can freeze dishes prepared with cabbage, such as cabbage rolls or cabbage soup. The procedure is similar to freezing other cooked dishes.
For leftovers, try to freeze within two hours after cooking. If you intentionally cook a big batch to freeze, wait until the dishes cool down.
Place the cooked cabbage in a freezer-safe container, leave a 1 to 1 ½ inch headspace on the surface. Seal tightly and label with a freezing date. Freeze up to 1 to 2 months to enjoy the best quality.
How To Use Frozen Cabbage
Frozen cabbage can be used in various delectable dishes, either as a side or main dish. Here are just some ideas on using frozen cabbage:
– cook into stewed cabbage, stir-fries, cabbage rolls, soup, casseroles, roasted vegetables
– add into fried noodles
– make into coleslaw
How To Defrost Frozen Cabbage
Thawing frozen cabbage is easy and straightforward. You can just place a pack in the refrigerator for a few hours to overnight. You may want to do it ahead of time to thaw a large quantity.
For cooked dishes, you can throw frozen cabbage instantly into the pan while cooking. Allow extra time for cooking.
How Long Can You Freeze Cabbage?
Cabbage only stays fresh for 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. Freezing significantly improves its storage time up to 8 to 12 months. Make sure to follow the preparation and freezing procedures properly.
Frozen cabbage may stay safe and edible after a year, but the quality might be lower. Lengthy freezing makes frozen cabbage susceptible to freezing burn. So, use up your cabbage supply while it’s still in good shape.
Freezing does change the texture, so it’s not exactly as great as a fresh one. Frozen cabbage is best to use for cooked dishes. In terms of nutritional values, frozen cabbage is as good as fresh. Freezing extends its storage time while at the same time preserves its healthy nutrients.
Cabbage can be served as part of the main and side dishes. As side dishes, cabbage is an excellent pair for animal proteins from pork to beef to lamb to poultry. You can process cabbage into crunchy salads, roasted, sauté, boiled, baked, etc.
Black spots may appear as the cabbage grows or probably because of mold. If you plan to eat them, remove and discard first the affected leaves, then wash the remaining leaves thoroughly.
Freezing cabbage helps to preserve its quality and lengthen its storage time from only a couple of weeks in the fridge to a year in the freezer.
Make sure to follow the freezing procedures properly. Blanching your leafy greens is essential to maintain their texture, color, and flavor.
If you have leftover cooked cabbages, you can also freeze them for later serving. The procedure is similar to freezing other leftover dishes.
Whether you have a little too much from your vegetable garden or got a great deal from the market, freezing is your best option to preserve cabbages. It is an excellent way to make sure you always have this leafy vegetable on hand all year round.
Up next: Can you freeze kale?