Cabbage is packed with nutrients and can be used in so many ways. Whether you grew it in your garden or you want to preserve in-season cabbage, freezing it is a great way to keep it fresh.
Having it on hand to use in stir-fry, soup, or coleslaw, is a lifesaver when you are in a bind as thawing it is very simple.
If you live on a farm you can also store your cabbage there. It also will last a good amount of time in your refrigerator.
Steps for freezing
1. Wash and cut
Washing your cabbage before you use it or freeze it is imperative to get out any dirt, bacteria, or worms that are inside.
- Take off the outer thick leaves and soak the whole cabbage in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes. This will allow the water to seep in and help clean the inner layers a bit. Shake off the excess water and pat it dry.
- Cut up the cabbage however you would like to store it. If you know you are going to use it for coleslaw later then go ahead and shred it up. If you are unsure of how you are going to use it, it’s best to cut it into wedges.
NOTE: When cutting into wedges make sure you keep the core intact so that the layers stay together.
The process of blanching is to boil or steam for a short time. This stops the enzyme’s actions which would otherwise result in color, flavor, and texture loss in your vegetables.
Blanching also helps in cleansing the vegetables of whatever dirt and microorganisms might still be on them even after rinsing.
Most vegetables should be blanched as part of the freezing process. It will preserve your vegetables and they will last a lot longer in the freezer.
You want to bring a pot of water to a boil and then place your cabbage in the water. If you shredded your cabbage you are going to want to leave it in for 1-2 minutes and if you cut wedges you want to boil them for 3-4 minutes.
3. Ice bath
As soon as your cabbage has reached its boil time you want to place it directly into an ice bath. An Ice bath is a bowl with ice and water deep enough to submerge your cabbage.
This stops the cooking process. Once the cabbage is cooled off go ahead and remove it from the water.
We are going to place the wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet and placing them into the freezer until they are fully frozen. This will take about 12 hours for wedges and an hour or two for shredded cabbage.
Once they are frozen you want to put them into a freezer-safe container or bag and make sure that they are sealed tightly to prevent moisture from getting in which will cause freezer burn.
Date your containers and put them back into the freezer until you are ready to use them. These will last in the freezer anywhere from 9 months to a year.
Tips for freezing cabbage
How to thaw frozen cabbage
You don’t always have the thaw out cabbage before you use it. If you shredded your cabbage before you froze it you can easily throw it right into a stew, soup, or stir-fry and it will defrost as it cooks.
Thawing out frozen shredded cabbage or wedges can both be done in the fridge. Depending on how you prepared it before the freeze will determine how long it will take to defrost.
Shredded cabbage will defrost in the refrigerator within 2-3 hours. Whereas if you are defrosting cabbage wedges in the fridge you will want to pull them out of the freezer and put them into the fridge the night before you want to use them.
Alternative: Storing Cabbage in the refrigerator
If you planned to use your cabbage within a couple of weeks of buying it, then you can store it in the refrigerator. Cabbage will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
You will want to make sure the stem is cut short and remove any loose outer leaves. Wrap the whole cabbage in a dampened paper towel and place it in a breathable bag. Something that has holes or makes holes if you need to.
This will help the cabbage breathe but also keep moist so that it doesn’t dry out. Keep it in the crisping drawer if you have one for longer-lasting freshness.