For health reasons, I have recently decided to be a vegetarian. My favorite dish is vegetable salad made mostly of cabbage, kale, and other greeneries. However, due to my busy career life, I don’t have enough time to go to the market weekly just to buy cabbages and other vegetables. Is it a good idea to buy many cabbages and store them all in the freezer?
Cabbage is a great source of many important nutrients such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B2. It is also a luscious component of many dishes – both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Yes, preserving cabbages by freezing is a good idea. Freezing slows down their respiration with their metabolic process, keeping them from spoiling quickly. It is necessary to slow the metabolic rate, so you can preserve their flavor, color, texture, and nutrients.
Can You Freeze Cabbage?
The goal for preserving cabbages effectively is to delay their metabolic process. You can do this by slowing down their respiration or so-called ‘breathing’.
Refrigeration is an effective way to do this. In addition, it is a huge help in preserving its vitamin C content.
It is important to wrap them in plastic bags to limit their exposure to air flow, reducing their respiration. Wrapping cabbages with plastic keeps moisture out, preventing spoilage.
However, take note that wrapping with plastics has a health risk. The plastic residues have been found to move into foods at refrigerator temperatures and may contaminate the body if not detoxified; hence, it is better to use reusable Tupperware containers.
Canning may also preserve cabbage. However, take note that this process also tends to degrade the color and quality of cabbage.
You can also preserve cabbages without freezing or canning. You can do this by using certain ingredients such as salt, oil, sugar, and alcohol.
How to Freeze Cabbage?
Freezing is usually the most convenient way to preserve cabbage. Here’s how you can do it:
- Wash – Before anything else, wash the cabbage thoroughly. Freshly-picked cabbage is likely to contain vegetable worms, aphids, beetles, or earwigs. Soak them in a solution of 1 to 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water for about 30 minutes.
- Cut – Cut the cabbages into smaller pieces. You can do so by halves until your desired size is attained.
- Blanch – Freezing cabbage without blanching is possible. However, blanching them first can help extend their storage life. It also helps kill bacteria, mold, and fungi. Immerse the cabbage in boiling water for about 3 minutes.
- Pack – After cooling, you can now pack them in freezer boxes or other secure containers. Keep out as much air as possible to reduce the risk of freezer burn and increase their shelf life.
- Store – You can now finally put them in the freezer. The quality of cabbage deteriorates the longer you freeze them so do not expect the same quality from fresh ones once it’s time to eat the frozen version.
How To Use Up Extra/Leftover Cabbage?
Cabbage is a versatile and delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed in many different ways. But what do you do when you have extra cabbage? Here are five delicious ways to use up your leftover cabbage:
- Make a slaw – Cabbage makes a great base for a slaw. Just add in some shredded carrots, green onions, and a dressing of your choice, and you’ll have a tasty and healthy dish in no time.
- Stir-fry it – Cabbage is also great when stir-fried. Just add it to a pan with some other vegetables and your favorite seasonings, and you’ll have a delicious meal in no time.
- Add it to soup – Cabbage can also be used to add some extra flavor and nutrition to soup. Just add it in with your other ingredients, and you’ll have a delicious and healthy soup in no time.
- Make it into sauerkraut – Sauerkraut is a delicious and traditional dish that is made with cabbage. To make sauerkraut, you will need 2-3 pounds of cabbage, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds (optional). Simply shred the cabbage and mix it with the salt and water in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes so that the cabbage can release its juices. Once the cabbage has released its juices, mix in the caraway seeds (if using) and transfer the mixture to a clean jar. Make sure to press the cabbage down so that it is completely submerged in its juices. Close the jar tightly and let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 weeks. Once the sauerkraut is finished, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
- Pickle it – Cabbage can also be pickled. To pickle cabbage, you will need 1 head of cabbage, 2 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of peppercorns (optional). Simply shred the cabbage and mix it with the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peppercorns (if using) and let the mixture cool. Once it is cooled, transfer it to a clean jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
So there you have it – five delicious ways to use up your leftover cabbage. Next time you find yourself with extra cabbage, try one of these recipes and enjoy!
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Yes, you can freeze cabbage. However, blanching them first is the best way to go about it as this kills bacteria and fungi that might otherwise spoil your fresh produce. It is important to pack in airtight containers or Tupperware and keep them out of direct contact with the plastic wrapping materials. Have you frozen any cabbages before? Share your experience in the comment section below!