Are cabbage leaves edible?

In this brief guide, we will shed some light on “are cabbage leaves edible?”. We will also elaborate how cabbage leaves are good for your health, how you can use cabbage leaves and what 3 methods you can use to separate cabbage leaves from its head. 

Are cabbage leaves edible?

Yes, cabbage leaves are edible. Most of you throw the outer leaves of cabbage without knowing how beneficial they are.

Cabbage leaves are rich in basic vitamins such as Vit A, B, C, sulphur and minerals which not only prevent diseases but are also very good for physical strength.

Are cabbage leaves good for your health?

Yes, cabbage leaves are very healthy for you. Some people use cabbage leaves as medicines. Eating cabbage along with its leaves can be beneficial for you in many ways:

  • Help to prevent cancer, especially ovarian and breast cancer in women
  • Effective in decrease the hardening and aching of breasts in breastfeeding women
  • Help with healing of the wounds and reduce inflammation and swelling, especially in  case of a knee injury
  • Help to lower the risk of bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach and lung cancer
  • Promote better hair growth and healthy skin, effective in avoiding baldness and eliminating face pimples
  • Improve mental abilities
  • Maintain normal blood pressure and can help to lower the level of “bad” cholesterol in body
  • Good for your digestive system
  • Eating cabbage leaves also helps to reduce weight and prevent uric acid
  • Wrapping cabbage leaves around your knees lowers the osteoarthritis pain

How can you use cabbage leaves?

Cabbage leaves can be used both raw and cooked. You can stir-fry them, make cabbage rolls, cabbage chips, ferment them to make kimchi or shred them to make cabbage slaw.

You can parboil cabbage leaves to soften them to get the best results while making cabbage wraps.

Is red cabbage edible?

Yes, red cabbage is also called purple cabbage or blaukraut and it is as edible as any other normal cabbage is, with a mild sweet taste.

Anthocyanins in the red cabbage plant cause it to change the color of its leaves according to the pH value of soil. Cabbages grow greenish-yellow in basic soil, reddish in acidic soil while neutral soil grows purple colored cabbages. 

Other FAQs about Vegetables which you may be interested in.

What order to cook vegetables?

Can You Freeze Courgettes?

What are 3 ways to separate cabbage leaves?

There are 3 ways which you can use to separate cabbage leaves from its head and each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Blanching method

  •  Find a pot big enough to put at least half of a cabbage head in it
  • Fill it with water, but at the top leave some free space to avoid overflowing of hot boiling water
  • Knife the core of the cabbage to move it in and out of the pot safely in a repeated manner. Outer leaves take less time to soften as compared to inner ones
  • Remove the head from boiling water and separate outer leaves when they soften
  • Put the head back into boiling water to soften the next layer of leaves
  • Repeat the process until you get the core of your cabbage
  • Use your separated leaves in whatever way you want

Although this technique is considered traditional, it is not safe because you have to move the head in and out of the boiling water after every two minutes plus removal of the leaves is in stages, you cannot remove all of them at once.

Freezing method

  • Remove hard outer cabbage leaves
  • Cleanse the cabbage head
  • Place the head in a zipped plastic bag after patting it dry
  • Put this bag in freezer (place each head in a zipped plastic bag if you have more than one cabbage heads)
  • When you defrost the cabbage to use it, the leaves will come off easily

Freezing is a bit easier as compared to blanching and you can remove all the leaves at once, but it takes a lot of time to freeze and then defrost the cabbage head. However, you can speed up defrosting by using a microwave.

Microwaving method

  • Place the head of your cabbage core-side down on a microwave plate
  • Cook for about 10 minutes on high temperature after adding a half cup of water and covering it
  • Turn the core-side up by using a fork or something and give it another 10 minutes
  • Move the head out of the microwave and let it cool to handle safely

Microwaving is a quick method but it takes a lot of space to put a heavy cabbage head in a microwave. The head will not be cooked smoothly, leaving some of your leaves uncooked. So, you have to remove some leaves to check doneness and give an extra cooking time to the head.


In this brief guide, we justified your curiosity about “are cabbage leaves edible?”. We also elaborated how cabbage leaves are good for your health, how you can use them and what 3 methods you can use to separate cabbage leaves.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.