Red cabbage is a delicious and versatile vegetable. You can roast it or braise it and have it as a side with your main meal. You can turn it into coleslaw with carrots and mayonnaise. You can add it to a spicy stir fry or make it into a soup. It also makes a great addition to stews and casseroles.
However, it is only in season for a short time so is there any way you can keep it for longer? Yes, there is. You can freeze it and enjoy it at other times of the year. This article will tell you how to freeze red cabbage and how to defrost it.
How To Freeze Red Cabbage
1. Prepare the red cabbage.
First, remove the outer leaves and wash the cabbage. It is a good idea to soak the cabbage in salted water for half an hour to get rid of any bugs. Then decide how you want to cut it. If you are making coleslaw you can shred it. Otherwise, you can freeze whole leaves or cut them into wedges.
2. Blanch the red cabbage.
It is a good idea to blanch the red cabbage as it helps the cabbage retain taste, texture, and nutrients. First, bring a pot of water to the boil, and meanwhile, prepare a bowl of ice-cold water.
Once the water has reached boiling point, put the cabbage in the pot and boil for a minute and a half if the cabbage is shredded or three minutes if the cabbage is being frozen as leaves or in wedges.
When you have done this, put the red cabbage straight into the cold water and leave for a few minutes until the cabbage has completely cooled down. You don’t want to put warm cabbage in the freezer as it will bring up the temperature and other food in the freezer may spoil.
3. Dry the red cabbage.
Drain the cabbage in a colander and dry it. You don’t want to freeze the red cabbage while it is wet as ice crystals may form, and the cabbage could be mushy when you defrost it.
4. Flash freeze the red cabbage.
It is a good idea to flash freeze the red cabbage as this stops the leaves or wedges from sticking together. Make sure that the leaves or wedges aren’t touching each other. If you are freezing shredded cabbage, divide it into meal-size portions. Put the cabbage on a baking sheet and freeze. It should take a couple of hours to freeze.
5. Put the cabbage in freezer bags.
Put the cabbage in freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible otherwise, freezer burn may occur. While it will still be safe to eat, it will lose taste and texture and won’t be as delicious.
Try to divide the red cabbage into serving sizes so that you don’t defrost more than you need. Put a label on the bags with the date you put them into the freezer. You don’t want to keep them in the freezer for longer than you should. Alternatively, you could use airtight containers.
6. Put the bags or containers in the freezer.
Is It Possible To Freeze Raw Red Cabbage?
Nothing is stopping you from freezing raw cabbage. Just follow the method above without the blanching stage. However, we recommend that you blanch the cabbage as the final result is better. The red cabbage will retain more texture, taste, and nutrients.
How To Freeze Braised Red Cabbage
1. Braise the red cabbage.
Shred the cabbage and slice an onion and put them in a casserole dish. Add brown sugar, cider vinegar, red wine, butter, and cinnamon. Cook with the lid on for an hour and a half and then take off the lid and simmer for another half an hour.
2. Cool down the red cabbage.
Transfer the cabbage to a cold pan so that it cools down quickly. You don’t want to leave it at room temperature for longer than two hours otherwise bacteria may start to develop.
3. Put the cabbage in freezer bags.
Divide the red cabbage into meal-size portions so that you only defrost as much braised cabbage as you need. You could also use airtight containers. If you use freezer bags, squeeze out all the air so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Put a label on the bags or containers so that you know when you put them in the freezer.
Tips For Freezing Red Cabbage
- Blanch the red cabbage rather than freeze it raw. This helps to retain taste, texture, and nutrients. It does take a bit of time but it’s worth it.
- Always squeeze the air out of the freezer bags so that freezer burn doesn’t occur. Freezer burn will ruin the taste and texture of the red cabbage.
- For a bit of variety, freeze the red cabbage with other vegetables such as green cabbage, kale, and broccoli.
For How Long Can You Freeze Red Cabbage?
You can freeze red cabbage for up to three months. This goes for either blanched cabbage or braised cabbage.
How Do You Defrost Red Cabbage
How to defrost red cabbage depends on how you have frozen it. If you have frozen it in wedges, it is best to defrost it slowly in the fridge. Then you can chop it up to use in whatever dish you want.
If you have frozen the red cabbage as leaves or shreds you can put them straight into a dish such as a casserole or a stew. They won’t take long to defrost. If you have frozen shredded cabbage to use in coleslaw, you are best defrosting it in the fridge for an hour or two before making up the coleslaw. Braised red cabbage should be defrosted in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Can You Refreeze Red Cabbage?
We don’t recommend that you refreeze red cabbage. Whenever you freeze, defrost, and refreeze, moisture is lost and the cabbage will lose texture and taste. It will probably end up mushy and there’s no way back from this.
Is It a Good Idea To Freeze Red Cabbage?
We believe that it is a good idea to freeze red cabbage whether it is shredded, in wedges, or as leaves. However, we do advise you to blanch the cabbage before freezing it so that it retains taste, texture, and nutrients. You probably won’t be able to tell the difference between fresh and frozen red cabbage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now know all there is to know about freezing red cabbage but in case you are still curious about freezing red cabbage or about cabbage in general, we have answered a few questions here.
Can you freeze red cabbage coleslaw?
It’s not the best idea to freeze red cabbage coleslaw, but this is not because of the cabbage and carrots, but because of the dressing. Coleslaw dressings usually contain mayonnaise which is an emulsion and has a tendency to split and become grainy.
Can you freeze savoy cabbage?
Yes, you can freeze savoy cabbage. Just follow the same instructions we have given for freezing red cabbage.
What nutrients does red cabbage have?
Red cabbage is jam-packed with nutrients including vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin, and thiamin. As you can see, it is a very healthy vegetable and it is a good idea to make it part of your diet.
What herbs and spices go well with red cabbage?
Red cabbage is versatile and there is a myriad of herbs and spices that go well with red cabbage. Try basil (see also article titled ‘Can You Freeze Thai Basil?‘), bay leaves, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, dill, fennel seeds, juniper berries, mint, nutmeg, or parsley.