If you plant a lot of cabbage and it all comes in at once, it’s best to harvest it at its prime rather than leave it there to pick when you need it. The longer you leave cabbage in the garden, the more chances for insects to ravage it.
Freezing cabbage is a super easy way to preserve it for future use. It only takes a few steps, and will be ready to sauté or toss into a soup or your favorite dish at your convenience. It won’t be good to eat straight, like some people do with fresh cabbage, but it’ll be great for cooking with.
Here’s how to do it…
Benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that is often overlooked in favor of more popular options like broccoli and spinach. However, cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse that offers numerous health benefits.
For example, cabbage is an excellent source of potassium, vitamins C and K, and fiber. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a great choice for those watching their weight. In addition, cabbage is a good source of minerals like manganese and iron.
One of the best things about cabbage is that it freezes well, so you can always have extra on hand. When stored in a freezer, cabbage retains its flavor and texture well, making it a convenient option for quick meals and snacks.
How Do You Prepare Fresh Cabbage for Freezing?
Freezing fresh cabbage is a great way to preserve its nutrients and flavor. However, it’s important to take some steps to prepare the cabbage for freezing, in order to prevent freezer burn.
First, cut the cabbage into wedges or thin slices. This will help the cabbage to thaw quickly, preserving its texture and preventing it from becoming mushy.
Next, blanch the cabbage in boiling water for two minutes. This will help to preserve its vitamins and color.
There are options to freeze cabbage that don’t require blanching – I’ll discuss those in more detail below. But basically, it’s important to know that cutting your cabbage into the desired shapes BEFORE freezing is ideal – that way, it’s ready to work with as soon as you pull it out of the freezer.
Which Cabbage Types are Best for Freezing?
Red cabbage, green cabbage, and savoy cabbage are all excellent choices for freezing.
Red cabbage is especially well suited for freezing because it has a high water content. This means that it will not turn to mush when thawed, and it will still retain its crisp texture.
Green cabbage is also a good choice for freezing, although it may become slightly more wilted when thawed.
Savoy cabbage is another excellent option for freezing, as it has a high moisture content and a delicate flavor that is well preserved when frozen.
When choosing a cabbage to freeze, look for one that is fresh and free of blemishes. Avoid cabbages that are yellowing or have brown spots, as these will not freeze well.
Cabbage can be frozen whole or shredded, depending on your preference.
How to Freeze Cabbage: Step by Step
Here are a few steps to help you learn how to freeze your cabbage for use in all of your favorite cabbage dishes. All you need is a stove, some pots and pans, a cookie sheet, and some ice-cold water.
Method 1: Blanching
Step 1. Cut the cabbage in half, right through the stem:
Do not remove the stem or the heart of the cabbage or the pieces will all fall apart.
Step 2. Cut your cabbage into quarters, through the stem as shown:
Examine the interior of home-grown cabbage to make sure there aren’t any little critters in there still. You might wanna spray water through the middle just to be sure.
Step 3. It really helps to have a blanching basket to lower the cut cabbage into a pot of boiling water:
Otherwise, you can just dump it in there and fish it out with a slotted spoon when it’s done.
Step 4. Blanch the cabbage for 2 min.
Step 5. Quickly remove the cabbage from the boiling water, and dunk it in a pot or large bowl of very cold water to stop the cooking process. You don’t want to fully cook your cabbage, or it’ll get mushy. Allow it to sit in cold water for about 2 min:
Drain it off well.
Allow the cabbage to cool for a few minutes before removing it from the ice water and draining it well. Place the blanched cabbage on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 2-3 hours, or until frozen solid.
Once frozen, transfer the cabbage to an airtight freezer bag and label with the date. Frozen blanched cabbage will keep for up to 12 months.
Only pack as much in each bag as you think you’ll use in one recipe. You might want to use smaller bags for freezing half of a head at a time.
Method 2: Freezing in Water
Another easy way to freeze cabbage is by freezing it in water. Simply:
- Cut the cabbage into quarters or slices
- Place it in a large freezer bag.
- Add enough cold water to cover the cabbage.
- Seal the bag tightly and label with the date.
Frozen cabbage will keep for up to 6 months.
Method 3: Freezing Without Blanching
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to blanch the cabbage, you can still freeze it without blanching. Simply cut the cabbage into quarters or slices, then place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 2-3 hours, or until frozen solid.
Once frozen, transfer the cabbage to an airtight freezer bag and label with the date. Frozen unblanched cabbage will keep for up to 3 months.
Can You Freeze Damaged Cabbage Leaves?
You will read a lot of articles that tell you only to freeze vegetables that are absolutely perfect and unblemished. That is good advice… in a perfect world.
But in my world there’s rarely such a thing as a perfect cabbage. But that’s quite alright. I figure, if the bugs are eating it then I know it’s safe for me to eat.
There is an easy solution that will still allow you to get the most out of your harvest – you just need to put in a little work!
The first thing you’ll wanna do is strip off the first set of outer leaves, or continue stripping leaves until you’ve discarded all of the yucky ones.
If you’re working with home grown cabbage, cut the stem off. Next, soak them in a sink full of cold water with about 1/4 cup (more or less) of salt.
This will cause any cabbage worms that may still be in there to die and come loose from the cabbage. I let mine soak for about 15 min.
That’s all there is to it!
Thawing and Using Frozen Cabbage
To thaw, place the frozen bag of cabbage in the refrigerator overnight or run cold water over the bag until thawed. Frozen cabbage can be used in most recipes that call for fresh cabbage; however, it will be more tender than fresh so cooking times may need to be adjusted accordingly.
So what can you do with all of this frozen cabbage?
Frozen cabbage can be used in all kinds of recipes, including salads, stews, and stir fries.
It tastes great in coleslaw or cabbage rolls – or how about some cabbage enchiladas? There are so many uses for frozen cabbage so be sure to get some in the freezer ASAP! It’s a great way to use up all the cabbage you grew in your garden (or your farmers’ market haul).
How Long Can You Freeze Raw Cabbage?
Label and date the package, then place it in the freezer. Cabbage will keep for up to twelve months in the freezer, so you can enjoy it all year long. When you are ready to use it, simply thaw the cabbage in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed with your recipe.
When frozen, particularly through the flash freeze method described above so the pieces don’t stick together, the freezing process will give your cabbage a shelf life of many months (a year or more) without losing any quality. The cabbage will be safe to eat after that time, but may start to decline in quality.
Can You Freeze Cabbage Whole?
If you’ve ever had a bumper crop of cabbage or simply picked up too many heads at the grocery store, you may be wondering if you can freeze them whole. The answer is yes!
Just wrap each head tightly in plastic wrap, making sure to remove any air pockets. Then place the wrapped cabbage heads in a freezer-safe bag and pop them into the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, simply thaw the heads in the fridge overnight and then cook as desired.
Whether you slice them for sauerkraut or chop them for coleslaw, your frozen cabbage will be just as delicious as fresh.
Can You Freeze Raw Shredded Cabbage?
Frozen shredded cabbage will last for about 3-4 months in the freezer. To freeze, first wash and dry the cabbage. Remove any damaged or wilted leaves. Shred the cabbage using a sharp knife or a food processor. Spread the shredded cabbage on a baking sheet in a single layer and place it in the freezer.
Once frozen, transfer the cabbage to a freezer-safe bag or container. Be sure to press out any excess air before sealing. When you’re ready to use the cabbage, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Use it within 24 hours of thawing.
Frozen shredded cabbage can be used in any recipe that calls for raw cabbage, such as coleslaw or stir-fry. Just be sure to add it near the end of cooking so it doesn’t become mushy.
Other Ways to Preserve and Store Cabbage
If you have more cabbage than you can eat fresh, there are several ways to preserve it for later.
Even if you don’t have much freezer space!
One option is to pickle the cabbage, which will give it a tart and tangy flavor. Another option is sauerkraut, which is made by fermenting the cabbage in salt water. This process not only preserves the cabbage but also creates beneficial probiotics.
Finally, you can also freeze dry cabbage, though this will cause it to lose some of its texture. However, freeze dried cabbage can still be used in soups and stews where it will rehydrate and add flavor.
It’s nice to know I have these on hand for making my favorite cabbage recipe.
Now that you know how to freeze cabbage, will you be giving it a try? What’s your favorite way to preserve an abundance of fresh cabbage?
There are a few different methods for freezing cabbage, but the simplest is to just wash and chop the cabbage into desired pieces, then place in freezer bags. For best results, try to use the cabbage within six months. If you want to extend the shelf life of your frozen cabbage, blanching the cabbage before freezing is recommended.
Yes! When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw the cabbage in the fridge overnight or cook it directly from frozen. Add it to soups or stews for extra flavor and nutrition or use it as a crunchy topping for salads and sandwiches.
While most people think of freezing as a way to preserve raw ingredients, cooked cabbage can also be frozen for later use. When freezing cooked cabbage, it is important to first cool it completely to prevent the formation of ice crystals. Cooked cabbage can be stored in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to six months.
Many people are surprised to learn that cabbage can be frozen without blanching. Although you might see some discoloration, the cabbage will still be totally safe to eat.
To blanch, simply bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the cabbage for 3-5 minutes. Remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
27 thoughts on “How To Freeze Cabbage (3 ways)”
You can make freezer slaw that is very tasty. I found the recipe in the Ball BLue Book guide to preserving. It really does taste good and the cabbage stays crisp.
Interesting, Ellen! I’ve never heard of freezer slaw.
I need recipe for frozen slaw or website.
I never buy cabbage because I usually have to toss it to the critters. Now I can have cabbage anytime!!!! Thank you for this!
I am going to do this I never froze cabbage before,but I am going to take half the cabbage and cut the large leaves off first then blanch them them dry them on paper towels before I freeze them so I can makes pigs in the blanket. Did you ever do this and can it be done
Might I suggest Bierrocks? We make them from scratch and have a ready to eat meal for those times we’re too tired to cook. Heat in oven (abt 15 min) or micro for maybe 2 min. A great way to use up a medium head of cabbage. We usually get 25 to 27 sandwiches from one medium head of cabbage and a pound to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef.
Thank you for the tutorial. I tried this the other day, but couldn’t really get the cabbage “dry”. When I checked the freezer, the inside of the bags and cabbage quarters had ice on them. Is it not going to be good? If not, do you have any suggestions on what I did wrong?
My cabbage pieces get ice crystals built up on them, too. It has never been a problem for me. 🙂
I make a lot of veggie soup and use cabbage. I will be trying this very soon. We also homestead, still in the learning phase. Thanks
After making about 24 quarts of sauerkraut, I’ll use this idea for the remaining heads of cabbage we have. Great idea – thanks for posting.
Sounds like you had a good cabbage patch, Russ! Enjoy all the bounty. 🙂
Thanks for the recipe! We cover our cabbage with netting we buy from the local fabric store. The cabbage moths can’t get to the plants to lay their eggs, but light and rain get through unhindered. We had only one tiny hole in our four plants this year. We lay the netting over wire arches (made from hangers) pushed into the ground, and use landscape pins to anchor it. We learned this trick from the Amish in our area.
What type of netting do you buy?
Hey Kendra, have you ever canned cabbage? I did last year and it did really well. Also, it doesn’t take up freezer space for things I need the space for and it will last and taste so much better if canned over time. Just a thought. I may freeze some one day and do a comparison. E
I have canned cabbage in the past, but we’ve found we don’t prefer it. It’s definitely a great off-grid option, though, especially if you don’t have a good root cellar to store heads of cabbage in.
Do you leave the cabbage stems in the ground so it will produce more heads?
I just yank them up because by now the bugs are so bad. But I should try that sometime!
Can you blanch it in freezer bags, that’s how I blanch my corn for freezing. Wondering if it would work the same way?
I’d be afraid to put plastic in boiling water. It isn’t made for that kind of heat, and may cause chemicals to leach out into your food. That’s what I’d worry about, anyways.
I’ve been making freezer slaw. But it’s eaten before it gets near the freezer lol!
Great tutorial! Never thought of freezing cabbage, but it’d be so handy! Wish I would have thought of that when my mother-in-law had me plant 22 heads of it last year. 🙂
Thanks! Now I can finish pulling up the cabbage that’s been waiting in the garden for so long!
Kendra, Thanks for the hints on freezing cabbage. At our age my wife and I can’t eat near as much sauerkraut as we used to. Loving it more just stir fried in butter and this will be right up our alley.
In return May we suggest that the cabbage used in your demo is starving. It is in need of more even watering and it can definitely needs some plant food; mulch, manure, worm casings, manure tea, or hydrogen peroxide. May this year’s crop be better 🙂
Thank you for the advice! I agree that my cabbage was lacking this year. We’ve eaten all of the really big heads already, so I’ve been working on clearing out the bed of the smaller heads and freezing them. I mentioned in my June garden update post that I filled the raised beds with leaf mulch this year, and the plants really suffered because I neglected to mix in any soil with it. Hopefully this Fall might have better results. I appreciate your feedback!
Or you can make a big batch of saurkraut! That’s what I did the other day with a giant cabbage I was given. I like to see the bug holes, that’s how I know its really organically grown 🙂 Thanks for sharing this, I need to learn what needs blanching and what doesn’t, I wouldn’t have thought of cutting it into chunks.
I’ll learn how to make saurkraut one day, lol!