How to Freeze Cabbage

How to Freeze Cabbage

Cabbage. © Erin Huffstetler

Cabbage is such a versatile ingredient -- it can be used in soups and casseroles, in coleslaw and even as a substitute for bread. But, it's only harvested once a year, in the fall. So, if you want truly fresh cabbage, it's smart to freeze some when it's in season. That stuff on the grocery store shelves in April:  it was picked back in the fall. Yeah, not so fresh!

Learn how to freeze your own, so you don't have to settle for old cabbage. Here's how it's done:

What You'll Need:

  • Cabbage
  • A cutting board
  • A sharp knife
  • Water
  • Ice
  • A bowl
  • A stock pot
  • A cookie sheet
  • Freezer bags

Wash and Soak the Cabbage

Soak the Cabbage
Soak the Cabbage. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Remove the tough outer leaves, and rinse the cabbage.

If you grew the cabbage yourself, or bought it directly from the farmer, soak it in cold water for 30 minutes to rid it of any cabbage worms or grit. Then, shake off the excess moisture and pat dry.

Cut Up the Cabbage

Cut the Cabbage Up
Cut the Cabbage Up. © Erin Huffstetler

Cabbage can be frozen in shreds, leaves or wedges, whichever works best for you. If you don't know how you're going to use your cabbage yet, I recommend freezing it in wedges. That'll allow you to cut it into whatever size you need later.

Once you've decided how you want to freeze your cabbage, go ahead and cut it.

Note: If you decide to go with wedges, leave the cores intact. They'll keep the leaves together, until you're ready to use them.

Blanch the Cabbage

Blanch the Cabbage
Blanch the Cabbage. © Erin Huffstetler

Fill a large stock pot with water, and heat over high heat. When it reaches a rolling boil, drop your cabbage in to blanch it. This will kill any bacteria that's present, and stop the enzyme action, so it keeps well in the freezer.

Here are the recommended blanching times:

Shredded or Leaves: 1.5 minutes

Wedges: 3 minutes

Blanching times follow the current recommendations of the National Center for Home Food Preservation and Ball.

Cool the Cabbage in Ice Water

Cool the Cabbage in Ice Water
Cool the Cabbage in Ice Water. © Erin Huffstetler

Pull the cabbage out of the boiling water as soon as the recommended blanching time is up, and submerge it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Flash Freeze the Cabbage

Flash Freeze the Cabbage
Flash Freeze the Cabbage. © Erin Huffstetler

Once the cabbage has cooled, pull it out of the ice water; shake off the excess water (the drier it is, the less likely it'll be to develop freezer burn). Then, place the cabbage on a cookie sheet, and flash freeze it. When it's frozen, transfer the cabbage to freezer bags; squeeze out all the excess air; seal the bags; and return the cabbage to the freezer.

To Use:

Allow the cabbage leaves or shreds to thaw in the refrigerator, if you plan to use them to make cabbage rolls, coleslaw or something similar. Otherwise, just drop the frozen cabbage directly into soups and casseroles. There's no need to thaw it first.

Need Ideas on How to Use Your Cabbage? 

Try these cabbage recipes.