Cabbage is super affordable and versatile. But, it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves because many people don’t know how to use them in the kitchen. Cabbage isn’t just any vegetable. This vegetable is filled with health benefits for the human body. The high fiber content and disease-fighting compounds, name it and cabbage has got it.
Unfortunately, cabbage only blooms in the fall. It might be one of the heroes in the kitchen, but it doesn’t last for long. Cabbage can only be harvested once a year. So, if you need fresh cabbages, you need to learn how to preserve them.
Can you freeze cabbage? Yes, you can. Cabbage can retain its freshness for over a year in the freezer. This would mean that you can have cabbages stored to last you till the next season. If properly done, cabbage can be frozen at no cost to the texture, flavor, or taste.
While cabbage might be the star ingredient in coleslaw, it can be used in soups, dishes, and even as a substitute for bread. It is very versatile, and there is a lot you could do with it. But, most times we never finish that head of cabbage we got from the farmers market or convenience store. So how do you freeze these things anyways?
How to Freeze Cabbage
It is always advisable to blanch vegetables, greens, and fruits before freezing them. This process helps to keep the color and texture. It keeps your vegetables and greens from darkening or rotting in the freezer. It also keeps that bright radiant green color that points to the fact that your food item is fresh.
Step 1: Picking the Right Cabbage
When freezing cabbage, picking the right cabbage is very important to how well it freezes in the freezer.
When picking your cabbage from the store, farmer’s market, or your garden, you need to make sure that the cabbage is green without yellowing leaves. Also, check for the presence of mold or damages. If you notice any, don’t pick the cabbage. That right there is how you pick the right cabbage.
Step 2: Cleaning the Cabbage
If your cabbage is coming from the convenience store, all you need to do is just rinse it under running water. But if you have had them harvested from your garden or had bought them from the farmers market you would have to clean them thoroughly to get rid of dust, debris, and bugs that could be present in there.
To get rid of all of the bugs, you could soak the cabbage in saltwater solution for at least half an hour. Then rinse it under running water to get it clean. After getting the cabbage clean, remove the outer covers of the cabbage. You can throw these out or make them into compost.
Step 3: Blanching the Cabbage
After getting your cabbages clean, get a sharp knife and cut your cabbages into wedges or sizes that would suit you. But wedges would work best because that grants you the liberty to then cut the cabbage into any shape you like after freezing.
Get a stock pot on the stove and put water on it till it boils. While you wait for your water to boil, you should prepare your ice bath.
Once your water comes to a boil, put the cut wedges of cabbage into the boiling water and let it boil for three minutes then, with tongs, remove them from the boiling water and transfer them into the ice bath. The ice bath would help to stop the cooking process, thereby stopping the ripening process of the cabbage and stopping the enzymatic reactions that could cause it to rot.
Leave the cut wedges of cabbage in the ice bath till it cools completely. Then drain the cabbages in a colander and let them air dry.
Step 4: Storage and Freezing
Now, for another crucial part. You could store your blanched cabbages in small airtight Tupperware containers or Ziploc freezer bags. Smaller containers can easily be used to put the cabbage into portions.
Wait until the cabbage is dry before you pack them up for storage. This would help reduce the chances of the cabbage getting freezer burn in the freezer.
If you would be using Ziploc freezer bags, don’t stuff the cabbage in there, use multiple bags if you have to. Fill it with cabbages then press it flat to expel excess air before you seal the bags.
Before you place the bags of cabbage into the freezer to freeze, label the has with the contents and date of the freeze. This would help you keep track of the cabbage in the freezer in case you ever lose sight of it.
How to Thaw Frozen Cabbage
The best part about frozen cabbage is that you don’t have to thaw it. Especially if you plan to use the frozen cabbage in soups or dishes, you could just throw them in. But, if the intended use of your cabbage is in something like coleslaw or similar, you can thaw frozen cabbage in the refrigerator. Thawing frozen cabbage is pretty easy.
Does Cooked Cabbage Freeze Well?
Yes, it does. Cooked cabbage can be frozen as long as it is kept airtight. After cooking, wait for it to cool down to room temperature before transferring it into a Ziploc freezer bag and press it flat to expel as much air as possible before sealing it. If you would be using a container, make sure the lid shuts tightly, then finish it off by wrapping it with plastic or aluminum foil.
How to Recognize Spoiled Cabbage
It is very easy to spot spoiled cabbage because it is characterized by discoloration. When cabbage begins to go bad, the color begins to change from green to yellow, brown, or grey. In more advanced spoiled cabbages, the texture is extra soft, and there is that offensive odor present.
Don’t attempt to eat spoiled cabbage as spoiled food is unhealthy and bad for one’s health and personal wellbeing.