When it comes to a snack or meal that is both healthy and tasty, you can’t go wrong with the humble yet versatile cabbage. There are so many ways it can be prepared and preserved, and it can be purchased for next to nothing at your nearest grocery store.
Keeping fresh reserves of cabbage might sound like something they might have done in World War 2, but it is a wholesome foodstuff that has a very long shelf life both inside the freezer and out.
So, the short answer to the title of this article is: yes. You surely can freeze cabbage. However, first, you will have to cook the cabbage, so you might want to wait until you’re preparing a meal before you start frying or boiling your whole cabbage.
The cabbage had fibrous membranes and a lot of water contained in its leafy exterior, so when you freeze it you can expect to lose some of that distinctive cabbage crunch. However, if you cook the cabbage first, then you don’t run the risk of losing that excess flavor and nutrients.
But what is the best way to prepare cabbage for freezing? How long will cooked cabbage last once in the freezer? Are there any other cabbage-based meals that can be stored in your freezer and thawed at a later date for consumption?
In short, cabbage-lovers, we’ve got answers to all those questions and a whole lot more. So grab your biggest cabbage and pot and let’s start by looking at the varieties of cabbage that are best for freezing.
Which Cabbage Is The Best For Freezing
Choosing the right cabbage for freezing is going to be crucially important for retaining that flavor and nutrient-quality. The fresher and more organic the cabbage, the better it will be able to withstand harsh cold temperatures.
The best way of detecting how fresh the cabbage is is by checking the color of the leaves: the best cabbages have the darkest and greenest leaves. The kind of cabbages you really do not want to freeze are the ones with yellow and wilting leaves. You can also check the sell-by date on the packaging of the cabbage.
A lot of cabbages might have been picked at their most fresh, but they are then kept in a warehouse for several days before shipping. If you can, pick up a cabbage from a framer’s market, where the soil will undoubtedly still be on the leaves, which will demonstrate how fresh they are.
If you have cabbages growing in your backyard, they pick them in the morning before the temperature gets too hot and the cabbages start to lose their freshness.
There are a few types of cabbages that are best for freezing, often being grown in harsher climates and having the DNA to withstand the cold. The following cabbages can be utilized in different meals and frozen quickly and easily.
- Green cabbage - this is the cabbage you’ll more than likely find in your local supermarket, and it is perfect for stews and stir-fries.
- Red cabbage - you can spot a red cabbage because of its distinctive red and violet color. It is often used as dressing in salad mixes along with rocket and iceberg lettuce.
- Bok choy cabbage - This is an incredibly popular Chinese type of cabbage that has deep green leaves and fleshy stems. It is incredibly resilient and should be steamed before eating.
- Savoy cabbage - with its light green patterned leaves, this cabbage is a little more unusual than most. It is mainly cooked into stir-fries and added to soups, although it is seasonal and cannot be found all the year-round.
How To Freeze Cooked Cabbage
Before sticking your cabbage in the freezer, it is important to ensure that it is completely dry. Any water still clinging to the cabbage will turn to ice and result in freezer burn, which will damage the leaves. It will also result in a cabbage that is very damp and soggy when thawed.
Tear off the cabbage leaves and place them on a baking tray, ensuring they don’t touch. Then take this baking tray and place it in the freezer.
By pre-freezing them, you’ll prevent the leaves from sticking together and causing further damage when trying to separate them. Cabbage will require around 60 to 180 minutes to freeze.
Once this initial freezing process is complete, you can place the leaves in freezable sealable bags, taking care to remove as much air from inside them as possible before you place them back in the freezer. Air pockets will allow bacteria in, which will sour and rot your leaves.
How To Freeze Cabbage And Bacon
If you have pre-prepared a cabbage meal, you can easily freeze it to avoid wastage. A popular combination is cabbage and bacon and this meal can be frozen too!
You don’t even have to prepare the dish differently, simply wait for it to cool when you’re finished cooking or eating it. Try not to cook the cabbage too thoroughly to avoid a soggy texture after defrosting.
Then take the cooled leftovers and spoon then into sealable freezer bags, again, taking care to squeeze out any excess air. Slap on a storage label and replace it back in the freezer.
How To Freeze Cabbage Soup
This is another dish that a lot of people will be familiar with: cabbage soup. This is quick to make, although most people would prefer to make it in larger portions and divide the final soup into batches that can be eaten at a later date.
Make sure you have plastic containers with airtight lids. Pour in the cooled cabbage soup mix, making sure to leave a few inches of room in the top, as cabbage soup expands upon freezing.
Pour out a few servings and make sure you have plenty of space in your freezer for them. It is much easier to keep soup in hard plastic containers. A plastic bag might cause the soup to stick to the inside and eventually break through the bag and cause spillages.