Preserving Cabbage in 12 Delicious and Straightforward Ways
Did you plant a ton of cabbage in your garden this year? Are you now struggling to know what to do with it all?
I felt the same way last weekend when I walked through my garden and realized almost all of my cabbage was ready to be harvested.
There I stood in my kitchen staring at roughly 20 cabbage heads wondering what in the world I was going to do with it all.
I began to research my options and wanted to share them with you as well. Here’s how you can preserve and utilize your cabbage:
1. Put it Through the Process
Do you enjoy sauerkraut on your hotdog or as an addition to other foods? Well, you’re in luck because sauerkraut is nothing more than fermented cabbage.
You have multiple techniques you can practice fermenting your cabbage. The cabbage can be chopped or sliced and placed inside fermentation containers. You must use weights to keep the cabbage weighed down inside the container.
It’s crucial the cabbage stay beneath the brine to avoid any mold from forming. From there, you allow the cabbage to ferment for a few days or longer if desired.
The second option you have is to ferment your cabbage in chopped pieces in a crock. You use weights to weigh the cabbage down in the crock to keep it beneath the brine and to stop mold. The cabbage should be allowed a few days or longer to go through the fermentation process.
Finally, you can ferment an entire cabbage head. In most cases, the juice from the cabbage mixed with salt makes the brine for fermenting.
When fermenting an entire cabbage head, this isn’t possible. In this instance, a brine should be made and applied to the cabbage to keep the head fully submerged as it goes through the fermentation process.
2. Suck the Life Out of It
Your next option for preserving your cabbage harvest is to dehydrate the cabbage. It’s a simple process which doesn’t require much prep work.
To begin, peel the outer leaves off the cabbage. Slice it into thin pieces and lay them on the dehydrator. The dehydrator should be set anywhere from 125 degrees Fahrenheit to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leave the cabbage in the dehydrator until it’s dry and brittle. This could take anywhere from eight to 12 hours.
When the cabbage is thoroughly dehydrated, store in an airtight container and use it as an addition to soups or in place of fresh cabbage when making coleslaw.
3. Brrr…It’s Freezing
This is one of my go-to methods when preserving my cabbage harvest. Freezing cabbage is easy to do and is also easy to utilize later.
To begin, peal the outer leaves from the cabbage. Roughly chop the cabbage and blanch in boiling water for approximately two minutes.
After blanching, dry the cabbage off and put in freezer bags. Store the cabbage in a freezer until you’re ready to use at a later date.
I enjoy sautéing frozen cabbage or adding it to a soup or stir-fry too.
4. Pickle Time
Pickled cabbage is not only an easy way to store cabbage for long-term use, but it’s also delicious. You can pickle cabbage only, or add peppers to the mixture as well.
Toss the cabbage in a bowl with salt (include peppers too, if you like) and let the veggies stand for 12 hours.
When they’re done resting, put a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Rinse the veggies with water and place two teaspoons of minced garlic over the veggies along with two to three teaspoons of pickling spice.
After the veggies have been mixed with the spices, pack them into mason jars tightly. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
When the jars have cooled and sealed, place on a shelf in a cool, dark location. Don’t open the cabbage to eat for three to four weeks to give it time to pickle.
If you need more in-depth direction, there are multiple recipes for pickled cabbage all over the internet.
5. Put in the Fridge
Did you know cabbage can last by itself for long periods of time when left as is? When you bring in your cabbage harvest don’t wash it. Don’t remove the outer leaves either.
Instead, place the cabbage as is in a crisper drawer in your fridge. If stored properly it can last anywhere from three weeks to two months.
This way requires little to no effort, and you can have fresh cabbage anytime you want as long as it stays cool.
However, keep an eye out for rot. If you’re storing multiple cabbage heads together, at the first sign of decay on one cabbage, remove it. Rot will spread quickly and ruin all of your cabbages if left unattended.
6. To the Cellar, You Go
If you have a root cellar, it’s a perfect location for storing cabbage. Root cellars are great at naturally storing your foods at cooler temperatures without needing electricity.
There are a few tricks you should know about storing cabbages in a root cellar. First, it’s a good idea to put a trash can in the ground to store cabbages.
Cabbage can produce a strong odor which can make its way into the other foods. Therefore, it’s a good idea to store the cabbages outside when possible.
If storing cabbage outside isn’t possible, wrap the cabbages in a newspaper and store them on shelves. Either of these options should keep your cabbages fresh for three to fourth months. Some varieties may last even longer.
7. Chop It
You don’t have to store all of your cabbage heads for long-term use. It’s okay to use some immediately. Which is why it’s also important to know how to prepare cabbage to make it easier to utilize.
One of the most popular uses for cabbage is to make coleslaw. My mother-in-law taught me how to make delicious homemade coleslaw, and it’s easy.
Begin by chopping the cabbage into small pieces. You could shred it too if this is your preferred texture for coleslaw.
When the cabbage is chopped, place it in a bowl and add two cups of mayonnaise. Next, add two tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar. Add two tablespoons of sugar as well.
Mix the coleslaw ingredients until you see a white juice forming in the bottom of the bowl. Add two teaspoons of salt for flavor. Be sure to taste test.
When making coleslaw with different sized cabbage heads sometimes you need a little extra of any of the above ingredients. If the coleslaw is too tangy, add more sugar. If it’s too sweet, add a little more vinegar.
8. Mix with a Little Oil
One of my favorite ways to enjoy cabbage is by sautéing it. Simply chop the cabbage into smaller pieces and place in a pan with hot oil. You only need enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Add in red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and garlic for flavor. Sauté until the cabbage is soft and delicious. Feel free to add any other spices you enjoy in your meals.
Sauteed cabbage makes a great side dish, or if you add other sliced vegetables (like peppers, onions, etc.) and shrimp or chicken breast it can make a full meal.
9. Turn It into a Steak
Cabbage steaks are a delicious way to enjoy your cabbage harvest. Cut the cabbage into thick circular pieces where they’re at least two inches thick.
Place the cabbage on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, minced onion, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle the top of the cabbage steaks with olive oil.
Bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes. You can create a mustard sauce to go on top of them, add balsamic vinegar, or top them with bacon.
10. Say Bye-Bye to Lettuce
When you're overrun in cabbage, the last thing you need to do is purchase lettuce from the grocery store. Lettuce can be substituted in most any recipe with cabbage.
If you’re having a taco night after your cabbage harvest, finely chop the cabbage and place it on top of your tacos instead of shredded lettuce. I’m sure once you begin thinking about all of the recipes you garnish with lettuce you’ll find many uses for cabbage.
11. Roll It
Cabbage rolls are a traditional way to use cabbage leaves. You can make them a variety of ways, but the basics of cabbage rolls are stuffing cabbage leaves with vegetables and meats.
When the leaves are stuffed, they’re rolled up, and pan-fried or baked to perfection. The great thing about making cabbage rolls is there are a tremendous amount of ways to make them. You shouldn’t get bored with the same old thing.
12. Japanese Pancakes
A final method of utilizing your cabbage harvest is by making Japanese pancakes. Much like cabbage rolls, there are a variety of ways to make them.
However, Japanese pancakes aren’t like the traditional American style pancakes. It’s a savory pancake made with cabbage, flour, onions, and different oils.
This makes for an easy and inexpensive dinner option. The internet is full of recipes. See which one you enjoy the most.
Well, you now have 12 different ways to preserve and utilize your cabbage harvest. Hopefully, this will help you feel less overwhelmed and put more food back for the year.