Can You Freeze Cooked Cabbage?

Cabbage is a great vegetable, packed full of vitamins and minerals. It keeps fairly well in the fridge, but can you freeze cooked cabbage?

Well, nearly all leafy vegetables are difficult to freeze. The reason for this is that they have a high water content, and freezing temperatures will make the consistency of the leaves start to break down, causing soggy results.

However, you can freeze cabbage with very little noticeable differences, so long as you cook it thoroughly beforehand. If you don’t want to cook it through, blanching is also an option. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of cabbage, as some do freeze better than others. 

The Different Types Of Cabbage Available

Green Cabbage

One of the longest lasting and widely used types, green cabbage is best for cooking. It’s primarily used in stir fry, salads, and boiled as a side to any meal.

Red Cabbage

One of the most vivid cabbages you can get, it’s usually finely sliced and forms part of salads, or pickled. While you can cook it, most people don’t as it turns an unappealing blue color.

Savoy Cabbage

Also known as curly cabbage, this cabbage is more tender than other types. You can recognize it by its ruffled leaves, which aren’t as tightly packed as green cabbage.

Savoy cabbage is usually used for salads, stir fry, or stewed in butter. It’s also used as an alternative to rice paper or tortillas as a wrap with some crunch.

Bok Choy

Bok choy looks distinctly different from other types of cabbage, more resembling Swiss chard than cabbage. More often than not, it’s used for stir fry. 

The Shelf Life Of Cabbage

Depending on the type of cabbage, it’s best kept whole in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. 

Keep it in the salad drawer in your fridge, and while it may last longer than two weeks, you’re best using it before then, otherwise it will lose its crisp texture.

If it starts to look a bit tired, you can revitalize it somewhat by putting it into icy water for a couple of minutes to rehydrate it.

Cutting the cabbage will reduce its shelf life to 3 days, maximum. 

While two weeks doesn’t sound like a huge amount of time to begin with, you can extend this by freezing it. 

Cooked cabbage stored in the freezer will keep for up to a year. 

It’s worth noting that choosing the freshest cabbage will help ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible, and this also applies to the freezer. 

How To Pick The Right Cabbage For Freezing

The better the quality of the cabbage when it’s raw, the better the cabbage will be after it’s been defrosted, and the longer it will last. 

When it comes to choosing cabbage in the first place, choose cabbages with crisp, fresh leaves. Make sure the heads are firm.

Don’t use cabbages which have yellowing leaves, brown edges, or other signs of wilting, as these cabbages won’t freeze well.

If you’re buying them from a supermarket, always choose those with the longest dates and the most vibrant leaves. 

There’s always some delay in getting them from the field to the shelves, as you might imagine.

For the freshest fruit and vegetables, buy locally from your nearest farmer’s market or independent farm. 

Of course, you can also grow your own if you have a suitable garden bed or allotment. 

If you are picking your own cabbages, either do it in the early morning or the evening, and use the cabbage as soon as you pick it in order to retain its goodness.

Preparing The Cabbages For Freezing

The best way to prepare cabbages for the freezer is to blanch them first. 

This ensures that the cabbage will keep as much flavor and texture as possible when it’s been frozen and defrosted. 

Blanching is a great way of preparing most types of vegetables for the freezer, as long as you don’t overdo it.

How To Blanch Cabbages

The first thing you need to do is wash the cabbages with water. Get rid of any bugs or pests which might be lurking in the leaves.

If you want, you can make a salt and water solution to soak the cabbage heads in for about 30 minutes, which will ensure that your cabbages are insect free.

If you do decide to do this, you’ll need to rinse them with plenty of water afterward.

Discard any yellowing leaves or anything with brown spots or edges.

Then, cut the cabbage into quarters, but don’t remove the core. The core will help keep the leaves together during the blanching process. Dry off the cabbage with some paper towels. 

Prepare a large bowl with ice and water. Let the temperature drop.

Get a very large pan, and fill it with water. Boil it over a high heat. Once the water boils fiercely, put the cabbage heads into a heat-proof colander, and submerge them for 90 seconds. 

Quickly, take the colander out of the boiling water and submerge it into the ice bath. Once the cabbages have completely cooled, take them out of the water and drain.

You’ll also need to dry them off as much as possible. Now the cabbages are ready for freezing. 

How Do You Freeze Cooked Cabbage?

Make sure the cabbages are dry before you go any further, otherwise they will get freezer burn and the texture will be ruined. 

Put the cabbages onto a lined baking tray, making sure they don’t touch, and put the tray in the freezer. 

Leave them in the freezer until they are frozen solid, and then transfer them into resealable freezer bags. Seal, label, and freeze.

How To Freeze Cabbage Rolls

Freezing cabbage rolls is a little more tricky. You’re best freezing them separately – freezing the cabbage and the fillings individually. 

This will make sure that the liquid within the filling won’t render the cabbage soggy or watery. 

If you’re not making cabbage rolls from scratch, or if they’re already made, you need to freeze this dish as slowly as possible. 

Put the surplus cabbage rolls into a freezer bag into the fridge, and let them chill overnight. Then you can put them straight into the freezer.

How To Freeze Fried Cabbage With Bacon

In order to get the best out of the cabbage, don’t cook it completely, so it will retain its texture once defrosted. Otherwise, make the dish how you normally would, and leave it to cool.

Once completely cold, decant the fried cabbage with bacon into a freezer bag or several, and seal. Label as necessary, and freeze.

How To Freeze Cabbage Soup

Make sure the cabbage soup has cooled completely. 

Grab some freezable airtight containers, and portion the soup as necessary, making sure to leave some room at the top for the liquid to expand as it freezes.

Seal the containers, making sure it is fully closed, label, and freeze.

How To Thaw Frozen Cabbage

There’s only one way to thaw frozen cabbage that won’t end in tears. Put it in the fridge, and leave overnight.

Don’t be tempted to try and speed up the thawing process by leaving it out on the counter. Both the flavor and the texture will be severely affected, and you want to avoid this as much as possible.

Once the cabbage has fully defrosted, you can either reheat it on the hob or in the microwave.

Conclusion

Freezing cooked cabbage makes a lot of sense, as it significantly extends the shelf life, for up to a year. 

You do need to be careful to freeze and thaw it properly, and doing this will ensure that you’ll hardly notice the difference between fresh and thawed cabbage, especially if it’s part of a dish. 

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