Can you freeze cooked cabbage? – The right way
Cabbage is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes. However, if you have an excess of cabbage and want to extend its shelf life, you may be wondering if you can freeze cooked cabbage. In this article, we will explore the process of freezing cooked cabbage and provide you with the proper way to do it.
Why should you freeze cooked cabbage?
Cabbage, like many leafy greens, has a limited shelf life when stored in the refrigerator. Freezing cooked cabbage allows you to preserve its freshness and nutritional value for an extended period of time. In addition, freezing is a convenient way to store excess cabbage and have it available for future use in various recipes.
The right cabbage to freeze
To ensure the best quality and flavor in frozen cabbage, it is important to choose the right cabbage to freeze. Look for fresh cabbage with firm, tight heads and green, fresh leaves. Avoid cabbage with yellow or wilted leaves as they may not hold up well during the freezing process. If possible, consider purchasing cabbage from a local farmers’ market to ensure optimal freshness.
Types of cabbage that freeze well
Different types of cabbage freeze better than others. Here are a few varieties that do well in the freezer:
- Green cabbage: Green cabbage is the most common type and is best when cooked. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as in stews and stir-fries.
- Red Cabbage: Red cabbage has a beautiful red/purple color and is often used raw in salads and slaws.
- Bok Choy: Popular in Chinese cooking, bok choy has dark green leaves and fleshy stems. It must be steamed before eating.
- Savoy cabbage: Savoy cabbage has patterned leaves with a light green hue. It is mainly cooked and added to stir-fries and soups, but it is a seasonal vegetable and may not be available year-round.
Preparing Cabbage for Freezing
Before freezing cooked cabbage, it is important to prepare it properly to maintain its quality and flavor. Follow these steps to prepare cabbage for freezing:
- Thoroughly wash the cabbage heads, removing any bugs or dirt that may be hiding under the leaves. Soaking the cabbage in salt water for 30 minutes can help ensure that it is free of bugs. After soaking, rinse the cabbage thoroughly with fresh water.
- Peel off any yellow leaves and quarter the cabbage. Avoid removing the core, which helps hold the leaves together during blanching. Pat the cabbage dry with paper towels.
Blanching cabbage before freezing helps lock in nutrients, retains the natural color, and ensures that the cabbage is of high quality when thawed. Follow these steps to blanch kale:
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- When the water is boiling, add the quartered cabbage and cook for a minute and a half.
- After blanching, remove the cabbage from the boiling water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and preserve the natural green color. Shake the excess water off the cabbage.
Freezing Cooked Cabbage
When freezing cooked cabbage, it is important to remove as much moisture as possible to prevent freezer burn and maintain the texture of the leaves. Here’s how to freeze cooked cabbage:
- Place the cabbage leaves or shredded cabbage on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Freezing the cabbage leaves for about two hours will prevent them from sticking together when frozen.
- Once the cabbage is frozen on the baking sheet, transfer the leaves or shredded cabbage to freezer-friendly plastic bags. Remove as much excess air as possible, seal the bags tightly, and label them with the storage date.
- Place the sealed plastic bags of cabbage in the freezer for long-term storage.
Freezing Cooked Cabbage Meals
If you have used cabbage in cooked meals and want to freeze them, follow these guidelines:
- Cabbage soup: Pour cabbage soup into rigid plastic containers with airtight lids, leaving some room for expansion during freezing. Label the containers with the freezing date and place them in the freezer.
- Cabbage rolls: Chill leftover cabbage rolls in the refrigerator for a few hours before transferring to a freezer-friendly container. Freezing the cabbage rolls separately from other ingredients helps preserve their texture.
- Fried cabbage: Allow the fried cabbage to cool completely in the refrigerator before portioning into plastic freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal tightly, and label with the date of freezing.
Freezing cooked cabbage is a great way to extend its shelf life and make it available for future use. By following the proper steps, such as blanching the cabbage before freezing and removing excess moisture, you can preserve the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the cabbage. Whether you freeze whole cabbage leaves or cooked cabbage meals, proper packaging and labeling are essential for easy retrieval and maintaining quality. Enjoy the convenience of having frozen cooked cabbage on hand to enhance your recipes and meals.
Can I freeze raw cabbage?
No, freezing raw cabbage is not recommended as it can result in a soggy and mushy texture when thawed. Raw cabbage has a high water content and fibrous membranes that do not freeze well.
Why should I cook cabbage before freezing it?
Cooking cabbage before freezing helps preserve its flavor and texture. Freezing raw cabbage can cause undesirable changes in flavor and texture, resulting in a mushy consistency. Cooking cabbage before freezing ensures that it retains its quality when thawed.
Should I blanch cabbage before freezing it?
Blanching cabbage before freezing is an optional step, but it is recommended. Blanching helps lock in nutrients, maintains the cabbage’s natural color, and increases its resistance to cold temperatures. It ensures that the cabbage maintains its quality and flavor when frozen and thawed.
How do I choose the right cabbage to freeze?
When choosing cabbage for freezing, look for fresh cabbage with firm, tight heads and green, fresh leaves. Avoid cabbage with yellow or wilted leaves as they may not hold up well during the freezing process. Buying cabbage at a local farmers’ market ensures optimal freshness.
What types of cabbage freeze well?
Several types of cabbage freeze well. Green cabbage, red cabbage, bok choy, and savoy cabbage are good choices for freezing. Green cabbage is versatile and can be used in a variety of cooked dishes. Red cabbage is often used raw in salads and slaws. Bok choy is popular in Chinese cooking and must be steamed before eating. Savoy cabbage is mostly cooked and added to stir-fries and soups.
How should I store frozen bok choy?
To store frozen cooked cabbage, place the cabbage in freezer-friendly plastic bags or containers. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the bags or containers with the storage date for easy reference. Place cabbage in the freezer for long-term storage.