If you’re a home gardener and harvest your entire crop of cabbage due to weather conditions, you may have a food storage problem to consider. It’s time to get creative with your storage methods to prevent your veggies from going bad. We’ll show you how to store cabbage using a variety of means.
This cool-season crop is common in many gardens, and harvesting cabbage reaps countless rewards. This vegetable is enjoyable in many dishes, including coleslaw, stew, cabbage rolls, and many more. However, proper cabbage storage is essential to prevent it from going to waste.
Fresh cabbage is not only nutritionally dense but it’s an inexpensive cruciferous vegetable that can be enjoyed year-round in summer slaws, fall stews, and winter comfort foods. These tips will help you make the right choice when browsing the produce aisle or farmers market, and assist you in keeping the heads fresh once you get them home.
- When shopping for a cabbage head, choose one that is heavy for its size and check that the leaves are tightly packed.
- Avoid heads with loose or missing leaves as this indicates an older cabbage.
- Avoid purchasing pre-cut or pre-shredded cabbage (such as those convenient bags of coleslaw), as it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content once it is cut.
- Cabbage keeps very well and can be stored it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- Once the cabbage has been cut, wrap it in plastic and use within 2-3 days. Cabbage is best prepared as close to raw as possible to preserve its nutrients.
- When adding to a soup, be sure to throw it in during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent overcooking. The sulfurous odor often associated with cabbage often develops when the cabbage is overcooked. Overcooking also drains it of its nutrients.
Below are some of the basic procedures to which you can properly select and store your cabbage:
1. Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves is suggestive of worm damage or decay that may reside in the inner core as well.
2. There should be only a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem. If not, it may be an indication of undesirable texture and taste.
3. Avoid buying precut cabbage, either halved or shredded, since once cabbage is cut, it often begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content.
4. WHFoods, encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and cabbage is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including cabbage.
In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells cabbage but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown cabbage is very likely to be cabbage that displays the USDA organic logo.
5. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep if stored this way for about 2 weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week.
6. If you need to store a partial head of cabbage, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Since the vitamin C content of cabbage can more quickly degrade once it has been cut, you should use the remainder within a couple of days.
Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating cabbage. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids are good examples of nutrients highly susceptible to heat, and for this reason, their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration
Always choose cabbage with large, dense, and firm head. Cabbage should be heavy in size with bright colorful and crisp leaves without any crack or bruise.
Vegetable sellers may pull out the outer leaves of old cabbage to give it a fresh look. So, you should be careful about that. Avoid cabbages whose outer leaves have been pulled out or appear fluffy.
Read Also: The Food Rating System Chart of Cabbage
Check the bottom of each cabbage head to see that the cabbage leaves are tightly packed. Leaves of aged cabbage begin to separate from the stem.
Red and green cabbages should ideally have compact and shiny leaves.
Do not buy cabbage that is precut, shredded or halved, as it will lead to loss of valuable vitamin C.
You must store the cabbage carefully to ensure it retains its freshness and the vitamin C content.
Cabbage head and leaves should be ideally stored in a cool and dark place.
You can place the entire head of cabbage in a plastic bag and store it in a refrigerator for even a week. Red and green cabbages are good for use for up to 2 weeks, while savoy cabbage should be used within a week.
The flavor and odor of cabbage get stronger with its age. You must try to use loose cabbage leaves immediately or cut the cabbage when it is required for immediate consumption.
If required, the remaining cabbage should be stored in a plastic bag with a few drops of water sprinkled on the cut side. Refrigerate this in the sealed plastic bag to last for a few more days.
You can also, freeze the cabbage for longer use. For this, shred the cabbage and then blanch it in some boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and then shred the cabbage before freezing in an airtight container.
Cooked cabbage preparations can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Read Also: Amazing Advantages of eating Raw Cabbage
All varieties of cabbage are available year-round in most markets. They weigh in from one to seven pounds. Cabbage heads should be large and compact (not fluffy), heavy for their size, with tender green leaves showing no evidence of damage or insect nibbles.
Fresh cabbage will have a generous amount of wrapper (outer) leaves. Greengrocers will pull off wilted outer leaves as the cabbage ages. Check the bottom of the cabbage to be sure the leaves are not beginning to separate from the stem, an indication of age.
The Savoy cabbage variety will not feel as heavy as standard varieties, since the leaves are not as tightly furled.
Store the whole head of cabbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, two weeks if it is fresh from the garden. But remember, the older it gets, the stronger the flavor and odor will be. The looser-leaved Savoy variety should be used within a few days.
Cabbage will lose freshness rapidly once the head is chopped, so plan on using it within a day. If you only need half a head, place the remaining half in a plastic bag and shake a few drops of water onto the cut side. Close the bag and refrigerate. The cut half should last another few days if it was fairly fresh when you cut it.
To freeze cabbage: Cut into coarse shreds and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Remove, drain, and chill. Pack into airtight containers and freeze up to one year. Once thawed, frozen cabbage will only work well in cooked applications.
Canned sauerkraut should be used within six months. Fresh sauerkraut from the market should be used within one week.
Cooked cabbage may be refrigerated in a covered container for up to four days.
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