Cabbage is one of the incredible vegetables with versatile cooking recipes. It is packed with good stuff like vitamin B1, B2, B6, C, and K and also loaded with a rich source of fiber and essential minerals.
If you eat this veggie frequently, your digestion system will be much improved, and the cholesterol in your blood can be lowered too. Cabbage helps to reduce blood pressure and keep your heart healthy as well.
Unfortunately, this wonderful leafy vegetable is only harvested once a year and busy people usually buy it in bulk once they have chances to go shopping at weekends so that they can stock up a lot at home. However, you must be wondering how to keep your cabbages fresh in the long term and when should you discard them.
If those questions come up to your mind regularly that makes you have a headache, don’t worry because you will find the answers to solve all of your concerns in this article. Let’s get started to gain knowledge now.
How long does cabbage last?
Although there are a plenty kinds of cabbages, in general, cabbage has a lower water content than traditional greens like spinach or romaine, therefore, the shelf life of this veggie proudly stands in the top of raw vegetables that can stay fresh for quite a long time as long as being stored in an appropriate way.
Normally, most vegetables can be safe at room temperature for just about 3 days, including cabbage. The time will be even shortened in hot and humid areas that make your cabbage only lasts within a day or two. However, the big difference will happen if you store cabbage properly in a fridge or freezer as the life of this veggie can reach 2 months and 18 months respectively.
Furthermore, whole cabbage tends to last longer than cabbage that is already cut. The cut cabbage can only be safe in your kitchen counter for a couple of hours
How to tell if cabbage goes bad?
When your cabbage is stored improperly, it will result in an old and spoiled cabbage. The most common presence of bad cabbage is when the leaves are shriveled and start to change the color from deep or bright green to yellow, grey or brown.
In worse cases, once the cabbage is rotten, it doesn’t smell fresh or firm to touch anymore but replaced with a soft texture and develops an off odor. At this time, you need to discard the whole cabbage immediately as keeping or eating it can lead to severe food poisoning.
Typically, cut cabbage is likely to get spoiled than the whole one. The cut edge can turn to dark grey soon if you don’t store it well. This time, you might just need to cut the bad part and keep the remainder to consume without being worried about any illness.
How to store cabbage?
The better you store your cabbage, the longer you have this healthy veggie on hand, therefore, you should pay your attention to how to store cabbage properly.
Always handle your cabbage with care and try to minimize any bruising by not dropping it as any kind of cell damage makes the cabbage spoiled more quickly and degrades the vitamin C content.
The best place to store cabbage is in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. It doesn’t require a sealed bag, an airtight container or any fuss at all, just make sure that you don’t wash the veggie before placing it in the fridge. The outer leaves might be wilt, but they will protect the interior and keep the center crisp and fresh.
If you expect to have cabbage in your kitchen all year round, you can prolong its shelf life maximum by keeping it in the freezer. However, you better blanch cabbage first to retain its nutrients as much as possible during the freezing time.
Can you freeze cabbage?
Yes, although refrigerating is already an ideal choice to store cabbage, you can also freeze it in the freezer (blanch first) to extend the life of these tightly-packed leaves up to 18 months.
So can you freeze cabbage without blanching? The answer is yes but not recommended as it’s just suitable for lazy people and you will have to trade-off by an unattractive and less nutritious cabbage after freezing.
How to freeze cabbage?
Now you are going to learn how to freeze cabbage properly in just some simple steps.
Tips to freeze cabbage
- You should use a vacuum sealer to remove any air in the bag to avoid freezer burn
- The time in ice-cold water should be the same as in blanch step
- Soak your cabbage in cold water for 20-30 minutes to get rid of any cabbage worms or grit
- It depends on your favorite or purpose to use cabbage later to freeze it in shreds, leaves or wedges but the best and easiest way is to freeze in wedges
- Leaving the core intact will help to retain the moisture and keep the leaves together
Things you’ll need to freeze cabbage
- A freezer-safe bag/ An airtight container
- A baking sheet
- A pot
- Ice-cold water
How to freeze cabbage
- Wash the cabbage thoroughly (you can leave the core or discard it)
- Cut in a half or wedges depending on your preference
- Blanch the cabbage in a pot for 1 ½ to 3 minutes depending on sizes and chill quickly in ice-cold water
- Drain excess moisture then place cabbage on a baking sheet in a single layer
- Put the sheet in the freezer and let the cabbage is frozen for several hours
- Transfer the frozen cabbage to a freezer-safe bag or container
- Label the bag/ container and stick in the freezer
How to defrost/ thaw cabbage?
If you intend to add your cabbage into soups or casseroles, you can directly pop the frozen (shredded) cabbage into the dish without needing to thaw it first.
When it comes to other dishes that don’t go with frozen cabbage, you can simply thaw your leafy vegetables in the fridge for several hours to make it less solid and less cold.