Fall time is cabbage season, and it is wise to stock up while they’re at their best. Cabbage is a hugely versatile ingredient and freezes very well. Freezing cabbage while it is in season is the best way to ensure you get the highest-quality food for the lowest cost.
Freezing is an excellent way to preserve all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that naturally degenerate over time. Cabbage is high in Vitamins C and K as well as fiber, making it a powerhouse of health. There are many different types of cabbage, each with a slightly different taste and nutrient profile.
Cabbage does not have an overwhelmingly strong taste or smell and can be included in a huge variety of dishes without detection. It is a great vegetable to sneak into your kids’ food if they are being difficult about eating their greens.
For the cabbage connoisseurs, you can turn it into sauerkraut and get lots of gut biome benefits from that.
How to freeze cabbage
Before you do anything else, it is important to clean your cabbage thoroughly. Remove the outer leaves and soak in a bowl of cold, salted water for 30 minutes to remove dirt and small animals. Shake it off and then pat dry. This is particularly important if you are freezing organic or homegrown cabbages.
Cut the cabbage up into whatever size pieces you like. We advise wedges, leaving the hard core at the bottom intact. This is because it will help hold the cabbage leaves in the wedge shape until you are ready to use them.
You can also freeze cabbage in shreds and individual leaves.
Heat some water in a large pan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the cabbage and blanch for 3 minutes if you have cut wedges, 1.5 if you have opted for leaves or shreds. This helps to kill any bacteria living on the cabbage and halts the enzyme action meaning it will freeze better.
Remove the cabbage from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately drop into a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process. Shake off the excess water and place on a baking tray.
Put the tray in the freezer and leave for a few hours. When frozen, place the cabbage in a freezer bag and squash out all of the air before returning to the freezer.
How to defrost cabbage
Cabbage is a resistant vegetable and can be destroyed quite aggressively. This is not an excuse to blast it in the microwave, as this is likely to leave you with a soggy, limp cabbage.
If you are using it in a soup or casserole dish, simply drop the frozen cabbage in and allow the heat to defrost it. Frozen shredded cabbage should take 3-5 minutes to cook fully.
If you are defrosting cabbage wedges, it is wise to leave them in the refrigerator overnight to defrost fully. This helps retain the flavour and the crunch of the frozen cabbage. If you don’t, you may end up with an overcooked and frozen cabbage wedge, which no one wants!
If you are defrosting shredded cabbage or individual leaves for a cold dish such as coleslaw, allow the cabbage to defrost in the refrigerator for a few hours first.
Factors to consider before freezing cabbage
You must have a saucepan, a knife, water, salt, a baking tray and freezer bags for the process. You must also prepare a large bowl of iced water.
You must have enough freezer space to comfortably fit a baking tray for the first stage of freezing. YOu must also have freezer bags that seal shut in order to freeze cabbage correctly. Alternatively, rigid plastic and glass containers or thick aluminum foil will work too.
You can freeze cabbage raw as well as through the blanching method described above, but this changes how long it will survive in the freezer. Raw cabbage will only keep for 8 weeks, whereas blanched cabbage will keep for around 9 months if done correctly.
If you use thick freezer bags and vacuum pack the cabbage, this will also increase the freezer lifespan to about 14 months. This is when the cabbage will be at its best, however the cabbage will remain safe to eat for much longer than we state here.
If you are freezing cabbage soup, this should be eaten within 2 months.
To separate individual cabbage leaves there are 3 main methods. The first is to blanch the head of the cabbage whole, softening the leaves and causing them to separate easily.
You can core the cabbage and microwave for 3 minutes on the highest setting, which will cause a similar reaction. Finally you can freeze the cabbage head whole for 4 hours and leave in the refrigerator to thaw for 1 hour. This will allow the leaves to peel back easily.
Ensure the cabbage you are freezing is vibrant in color, dense, and has no yellow leaves. These are the best indicators of freshness when purchasing a cabbage. It should be firm at the stem and have few loose leaves.
Well, there’s everything you would ever need to know about freezing cabbage.
Cabbage is a perfect vegetable to freeze as it is strong and can withstand the freezing process. It can be frozen raw or cooked, but it is important to follow the instructions above to freeze it correctly.
The steps we have laid out for you will maximize the lifespan of the cabbage and keep it in the best condition possible in the freezer. We strongly advise blanching to retain the colour and crunch of the cabbage leaves.
Cabbage is such a nutritious and versatile vegetable it can be added to almost any dish, making it a great staple to keep in your freezer. It is incredibly cheap to buy, super simple to freeze and defrost and adds great texture and flavour to soups, stews, salads, stir fries and many more simple dishes.