August 26, 2009

Cabbage in the Freezer?

Here's part of our cabbage patch harvest. They weighed from 5 to 7.5 pounds each! (If you look closely at the left side of the picture you can see the snout of a curious cat too.) These cabbages have been out in the garden the longest, and they are apparently the best for storing since they've hardened off, or firmed up due to the length time in the garden. The one red cabbage is in newspaper since we plan to try and keep that one for a while, in an extra refrigerator in our garage. Cabbages like to be kept cool and moist and are supposed to last a couple of months that way. That will be the first part of our experiment with keeping cabbage.

The next experiment is freezing the cabbage, and it's dedicated to Christy, who commented after my last post that she had a cabbage that needed tending! According to the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, cabbage can be successfully frozen in either wedges or coarse shred. I have no use for wedges, so ours will be shredded.

This is the blanching process - 3 minutes for wedges and 1.5 minutes for shredded. Blanching just means dropping raw veggies into boiling water and letting them go for the allotted time - you don't wait for the water to come back to a boil before you start your timer. This kills enzymes in the veggies that will contribute to their spoiling more quickly. The tool you see in the picture is called a spider, and we have one for sale in our General Store, under the Kitchen Gadgets category.

I drained it on kitchen towels, and let it cool a bit before packing it into quart sized freezer bags. My smallest cabbage, after trimming, yielded three quart bags.

I'll use this cabbage in our favorite version of vegetable soup, which I just discovered I've never posted before. That will come this winter! Frozen cabbage will also be great for stir-fry, braised cabbage (we recently discovered this treat at an Ethiopian restaurant), and good old Irish Colcannon, which is mashed potatoes, cabbage, onion and bacon mixed up into a fantastic dish we've made for St. Patrick's Day. I'm sure if I "google" cabbage recipes, we can come up with a whole new batch of possibilities too. I will tell you that the Ball preserving book did have a recipe for "Freezer Slaw" which initially intrigued me, but that sucker had 2 CUPS of sugar in it for 2 pounds of cabbage - that is a boat load of sugar if you ask me! Kind of defeats the purpose of growing and eating a healthy cruciferous veggie doesn't it?!!

While I was stinking up the house and blanching cabbage, I also blanched some whole leaves that I'll be using in a recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls tonight. They only need about a minute or so, since what you're trying to do is just soften them enough that they can be stuffed and rolled up without cracking. I don't think I'll have the time or energy to get that recipe posted tonight, but hopefully tomorrow. You can always click on the "Garden of Recipes" tab to get to the recipe page.

P.S. DH harvested another 20 green peppers last night, so I'll be back to the slicing, dicing and freezing routine today too. I'd say I'm definitely in a "productive" line of work these days!


  1. Thanks so much! I'm going to do this tonight!! (and see if I can find my Ball Blue Book again!)

  2. Thank you for posting this. I stress out if I'm too busy and vegetables are likely to go bad before getting a chance to cook. I hesitated about freezing cabbage but I will now use this technique! Yay!

  3. Glad the post was helpful! Check the recipe page of this blog in the next few days and I'll post a new recipe that works well for frozen cabbage. It's African, and my daughter and her ethnic-food-loving friends love it! Also look at the recipe for Pad Thai and sweet and sour cabbage, which also work well with frozen cabbage.