Cabbage is a nutritious, delicious vegetable that keeps so well in the fridge. But what about storing cooked cabbage in the freezer? Can you freeze cooked cabbage? Freezing is not recommended for storing fresh leafy greens of any kind. Cabbage in particular is quite delicate as it mostly consists of fibrous membranes with high water content. Freezing these raw vegetables might change their texture.
The good news is that it’s possible to freeze cabbage with little to no change in flavor or texture as long as it’s cooked. Or at least blanched. Cooking the cabbage makes the vegetable resistant to freezing temperatures.
Different types of cabbage
There are different types of cabbage, some freeze better than others:
Kale is the most popular type of cabbage and is best used for cooking. It’s used in a variety of dishes, including stir fry and coleslaw.
Red cabbage has a deep red to almost purple hue. This type of cabbage is just as popular as kale, but is best used for slaves and raw salads.
Savoy cabbage has a distinctive wrinkled or patterned leaf and is medium to light green in hue. It is often used for cooking. Savoy cabbage is a seasonal vegetable, so it’s not always readily available. This savoy cabbage is ideal for stir-fries and soups.
A mainstay in Chinese cuisine, bok choy is notable for its fleshy stems and deep green leaves. Because bok choy is quite resilient and fibrous, it should be steamed first before adding it to a recipe.
Pick the perfect herb for cooking and freezing
The quality of the cabbage before cooking affects the shelf life after freezing and thawing the product. That’s why it’s important to choose the freshest produce to freeze.
Choose cabbages with dense, firm heads. The leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid cabbages with wilted or yellowing leaves or brownish edges.
For store-bought cabbage, check the label to assess freshness. Typically, the cabbage is harvested at the peak of its maturity and stored in warehouses for several days before being sold at your local supermarket.
If you want the freshest produce possible, buy the cabbage at the local farmer’s market. Ask vendors when the heads were picked to check freshness. If you are harvesting the cabbage in your own garden, do so early in the morning, before the day gets too hot. Wait until closer to frost before harvesting the cabbages for optimal freshness.
Read Also: Can you freeze cheesecake?
Preparing the cabbages for blanching
Blanching is the perfect way to prepare any type of vegetable before freezing as it locks in the nutrients and brings out the natural color of the product. Care must be taken when blanching delicate vegetables, however, or they may overcook.
To prepare the cabbage for blanching, wash the heads thoroughly. Remove aphids, beetles, caterpillars and other critters hiding under the leaves. Soak the cabbage in a salt and water solution for half an hour to ensure the cabbage is bug-free. After soaking the cabbage, rinse well with clean water.
Peel off the yellowed leaves and use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage into quarters. The core must not be removed as it will hold the leaves in place during blanching. Pat the chopped cabbages dry with paper towels. The cabbage is now ready for cooking or blanching.
To blanch the cabbage, fill a large stock pot with water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the quartered cabbages using a colander. Blanch the vegetables for a minute and a half.
After blanching, you need to give the vegetables an ice bath. This stops the cooking process while locking in the color of the product. Collect the quartered cabbages with the colander and plunge them into ice water. When the cabbage is completely cool, remove it from the ice bath and shake off the excess water.
How do you freeze cooked cabbage?
Be sure to pat blanched cabbage dry before packing to avoid freeze burns. Place the blanched cabbage on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer to blast chill. Let the vegetables freeze for an hour or two. Once the cabbage is frozen, place the veggies in freezer-friendly plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air, seal the bag and write down the storage date. Put the cabbage in the freezer and that’s it.
Freeze cabbage rolls
Do you have leftover cabbage rolls? Since the cabbage has been thoroughly cooked before making the buns, you need to prepare the dish for freezing. Otherwise, the cabbage rolls will turn into a soggy, soupy mess! If you’re making the rolls from scratch and expect a lot of leftovers, try freezing the filling and cabbage separately. That way the sauce doesn’t make the veggies soggy.
On the other hand, when freezing leftover cabbage rolls, you want to freeze the dish slowly. Start by chilling the leftovers in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight. Place the dish in a freezer-friendly container beforehand so you don’t have to transfer the rolls when you’re ready to freeze them. When the buns are nice and chilled, place the container in the freezer.
Frozen fried cabbage with bacon
This is another popular cabbage-based dish that’s easy to make and freeze for later!
Simply prepare the dish as you would normally prepare it, then allow to cool completely. For minimal textural changes after thawing, don’t cook the cabbage all the way through. When the dish is completely cool, spoon it into several resealable plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air and then seal. Write down the storage date and then stick it in the freezer.
Frozen Cabbage Soup
Yes, it is entirely possible to freeze cabbage soup for later enjoyment. Just make sure the soup is completely cool when preparing to freeze.
If you have a lot of leftovers on hand, prepare several rigid plastic containers with airtight lids. Using a ladle, transfer the soup into the containers, but do not fill the containers completely. The liquid will expand as it freezes, so leave about an inch or two of space when preparing the soup for freezing.
When you’re done, close the lid, make sure it’s completely sealed, then write the keep-by date. Put it in the freezer and you’re done.
Shelf life, thawing and reheating suggestions
When stored in the freezer, cooked cabbage will keep for about a year or more, especially if the freezer temperature is kept consistently at 0 degrees.
Defrosting cooked cabbage — or any type of frozen vegetable — needs to be done slowly. Never thaw the cooked cabbage or dish at room temperature, as this will affect the texture and flavor of the vegetable. Simply place the frozen veggies in the fridge to thaw overnight.
Once the cooked herb is completely thawed, you can begin reheating the dish in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Can you freeze cooked cabbage? Of course you can! As long as you prepare the vegetables properly before freezing, you can extend the shelf life of the cooked vegetables.