An antidote for the Greeks, a hangover cure for the Romans, an excellent source of anticarcinogenic phytonutrients, yet cabbage has borne the brunt of underestimation for ages.
This humble cruciferous veggie is rich in vitamins C, K and B6, and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is also a healthy source of dietary fiber. Consuming cabbage offers protection against a range of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes and inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract.
Besides its health benefits, cabbage is also a jack of all trades when it comes to cooking. The crunchy and juicy leaves can rock your stir-fries, beautifully complement proteins, lend flavor and texture to stews and soups, or leave you content with creamy coleslaw. Its easy availability and cheap cost make us love it even more.
There is just a small glitch in enjoying this nature’s bounty. Since cabbage is best enjoyed when it is bright green and crunchy, not storing it the correct way can make it lose its crisp texture and earthy flavor.
If the overenthusiastic chef in you often ends up with a glut of cabbage, it is essential to know the tricks and tips to store cabbage the right way. Whether you wish to store it short-term or up to 1 year or turn it into homemade sauerkraut, we’ll cover it all.
Read on to learn how to store cabbage the right way, to keep it fresh longer.
- # Short Term (1 to 2 Weeks)
- Method 1: Refrigerate in Plastic Wrap/Baggie
- Method 2: Coat with Lemon Juice & Refrigerate
- # Long Term (Up to 1 Year)
- Method 1: Blanch & Freeze
- Method 2: Freeze As Is
- Method 3: Pickling (Sauerkraut)
# Short Term (1 to 2 Weeks)
Method 1: Refrigerate in Plastic Wrap/Baggie
The quickest way to store cabbage is to put it in a plastic baggie in the refrigerator. You can store the cabbage whole, or cut it into halves or wedges and store each piece in a separate baggie. Remember, it’s important to push out all the air from the baggie, as the air can lead to oxidation and spoilage.
You can also use plastic wrap to seal the pieces individually and store them in the crisper section of your refrigerator.
Cabbage stored this way will stay good for 1 to 2 weeks.
Step 1. Cut the cabbage into halves or quarters
- Remove any wilted or bruised leaves.
- Chop off the card stock at the base of the cabbage head.
- Slice the cabbage in half, then into quarters.
- Proceed to
- either Step 2a or Step 2b to pack the cabbage in plastic wrap or a ziplock baggie.
Step 2a. Wrap the halves in plastic wrap
- Cut out a sheet of plastic wrap, large enough to wrap the cabbage halves from all sides.
- Place a quarter piece of the cabbage in the center of the sheet and wrap it tightly from all sides.
Step 2b. Put the wedges in ziplock baggies
- Put a cabbage wedge in a ziplock baggie.
- Insert a straw in the bag and seal the rest of the baggie.
- Suck out all the air from the baggie through the straw, remove the straw and seal the baggie completely.
Step 3. Store it in the refrigerator
- Store the sealed cabbage in the crisper section of your refrigerator.
Method 2: Coat with Lemon Juice & Refrigerate
Another way to store cabbage the right way, for a short time is by adding some lemon juice to it. The lemon juice prevents the enzymatic browning of the veggie to keep it good for up to 2 weeks.
You can either rub the inside of a lemon on a half or quarter piece of the cabbage or chop the cabbage and toss it in lemon juice. Cabbage stored this way can be used as a quick addition to salads and stir-fries.
Things you’ll need:
- Fresh lemon juice
- Plastic wrap
- Chopping board
Step 1. Coarsely chop the cabbage
- Cut a quarter or half piece of the cabbage into thinner wedges.
- Chop the cabbage coarsely, the way you would like it your salads or dishes.
Step 2. Coat the chopped cabbage with lemon juice
- Put the chopped cabbage in a bowl.
- Add the juice of 1 lemon. If you need help, check out our hacks to extract the maximum juice out of a lemon.
- Toss the cabbage with a wooden spoon until it is thoroughly coated with the juice.
Step 3. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate it
- Seal the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it.
It is best to consume chopped cabbage within 3 to 5 days, as it will start losing its crispness. If storing the piece intact, it will hold its texture and color for up to 2 weeks.
# Long Term (Up to 1 Year)
Method 1: Blanch & Freeze
Blanching is a sure-fire way to store your veggies for the long-term, even up to 1 year. The process involves boiling the vegetable in water, then immediately plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking process. Boiling it also kills any microbes on the cabbage and stalls the ripening enzymes that lead to spoilage.
Things you’ll need:
- Ice cubes
Step 1. Boil the cabbage for 3 minutes
- Thoroughly wash the cabbage under running water to remove any visible impurities. If you have a whole cabbage head, chop it into large wedges after washing it.
- Fill a saucepan three-fourths of the way with water and heat it up.
- Put the cabbage in the water and boil it for 3 minutes on high heat.
Step 2. Dunk the cooked cabbage in ice water
- Put a handful of ice cubes in a large bowl and pour in some water. The water should be enough to submerge the cabbage completely in it.
- Using a pair of tongs, retrieve the cabbage from the boiling water and drop it immediately in the ice water.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 3. Put it in an airtight container and freeze it
- Retrieve the cooled cabbage from the ice bath and shake off the excess water.
- Place it in an airtight container. You can also vacuum-seal it in a ziplock baggie to save up space.
- Put the lid on tightly, label the container with the date of storage and pop it into your freezer.
- Thaw the required quantity in the fridge before use.
Frozen cabbage will retain its color, texture, and flavor up to 1 year.
Method 2: Freeze As Is
While blanching is the ideal way to freeze the veggies for year-long storage, you can skip it and freeze the cabbage as is if you are short on time or just aren’t getting enough motivation to do it. There isn’t going to be much of a difference in flavor.
Single-Step Method: Vacuum seal the cabbage in ziplock baggies & freeze them
- Chop the cabbage head into quarters and place each quarter in a separate ziplock baggie.
- Insert a straw to suck out all the air from the baggies, then seal them completely.
- Place the baggies in the freezer to store your cabbage up to 1 year.
Method 3: Pickling (Sauerkraut)
Pickling is a traditional way to preserve seasonal food. You can even store pickled carrots for up to 1 year. Fermenting cabbage has benefits of its own. The healthy bacteria present on cabbage convert its sugar into lactic acid to give you your homemade sauerkraut.
Apart from being a tasty addition to your sandwiches, sauerkraut is rich in probiotics that replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut. Pickling cabbage is extremely simple. All you need is some salt to cause the fermentation.
Things you’ll need:
- Cabbage – ¼ of a medium-sized head of cabbage
- Sea salt – 1 tablespoon
- Chopping board
Step 1. Chop the cabbage into fine shreds
- Chop a quarter of a medium-sized cabbage into fine shreds.
- Put them in a bowl.
Step 2. Add salt and seal the cabbage in an airtight jar
- Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt to the shredded cabbage. You can also use good quality table salt.
- Use a wooden spoon to mix it well. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes, then crush the cabbage again with the spoon to release its water.
- If its juices are not sufficient to submerge the shreds completely, add some water.
- Mix well and spoon the shreds into an airtight glass jar.
- Let it sit at room temperature for 2 weeks to ferment. Do not keep it in direct sunlight or near a heat source.
To store cabbage the right way, refrigerate the fermented homemade sauerkraut up to 1 year.
- Do not wash the cabbage until you are ready to cook it, unless you’re blanching it to store the right way.
- Since cabbage releases a strong odor when stored, you can place some baking soda in the refrigerator to deodorize it.
- If you want to grow fresh cabbage, check out our article on how to grow cabbage in a pot.
- If you’re harvesting cabbage, let it grow to the size of a softball, around 5 inches in diameter. Squeeze it to check its firmness and cut it from the base of the plant.
- You can also check out different ways to store bell peppers and broccoli.