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Freezing cabbage is an ideal way to preserve the vegetable so it can be cooked and enjoyed all year round. The first step is choosing the right cabbage for freezing. Choose a cabbage that is fresh and weighty, with the head still tightly attached to the stems. Before freezing, the cabbage should be thoroughly cleaned and patted dry. It is also important to choose a proper container in which to freeze the cabbage.
When freezing cabbage, try to choose one that feels weighty for its size, meaning the cabbage should feel heavier than it looks like it will be. Choose a cabbage that has a good color and tight leaves. Also, the fresher the cabbage, the better. Before freezing, the cabbage should be cleaned thoroughly, and any bad leaves should be pulled off and discarded. A paring knife should be used to remove any dark spots or blemishes.
The way a cabbage should be prepped for freezing will depend largely on what it will be used for. While many believe there’s no harm in freezing cabbage that’s fresh and uncooked, others suggest blanching it first, especially if it’s going to be used in sour recipes like sauerkraut. Cabbage can be steam blanched for three to four minutes, or water blanched for five to six minutes. After blanching, the cabbage should be allowed to cool and then patted dry.
Freezing cabbage whole is not a good idea. Instead, cabbage should be separated into individual leaves, cut into thin wedges, or shredded before freezing. For the sake of convenience, cabbage that will be used for wraps or stuffing can be frozen in leaves. Cabbage that will be used to make sauerkraut or coleslaw can be shredded.
Almost any freezer-safe container can be used to freeze cabbage, including freezer safe bags, rigid plastic bowls, and glass containers. When frozen properly, cabbage will last anywhere from 10 to 12 months. When ready to use, frozen cabbage should be allowed to defrost slowly. For some dishes, like coleslaw, the cabbage can be while still frozen, no thawing required. Thawed cabbage might look pale and wilted, especially if it wasn’t blanched before being frozen, but it should still be perfectly good.