How To Preserve Cabbage (in 5 authentic ways)
In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to preserve cabbage?”, and discuss the different methods of preserving cabbage and the potential implications of preserving cabbage.
How To Preserve Cabbage
You can preserve cabbage by various methods such as freezing it, pickling it, dehydrating it, etc. let’s go into details of how cabbage can be preserved for further use.
Florida is the second largest fresh-market cabbage producer in the United States, with an annual value close to $50 million (1).
Preserve cabbage by processing it?
Yes, you can preserve cabbage by processing it. Fermentation is a very age-old process to preserve food. It helps to keep molds away. Fermented cabbage is called sauerkraut.
Sauerkraut fermentation begins with the initial proliferation of Leuconostoc mesenteroides, which rapidly produces carbon dioxide and acid. This quickly lowers the environmental pH, inhibiting the growth of undesirable microorganisms that might cause food spoilage while preserving the color of the cabbage. The action of L. mesenteroides changes the fermentation environment so that it favors the succession of other LAB, such as Lactobacillus brevis and Lactobacillus plantarum. In traditional sauerkraut production, this process proceeds at 18°C for roughly one month. The combination of metabolites that these organisms produce leads to favorable sensory qualities—the unique flavors, aromas, and textures associated with fermented foods—in the final product. The temperature of fermentation also plays an important role in terms of color, flavor, and preservability (2).
Fermentation of the cabbages can be done by the following steps used properly (3).
- Wash the dirt off the cabbage.
- Chop it into pieces ( size as required).
- Place the sliced cabbage in the fermentation container.
- Prepare brine and add it to the container or in a crock.
- Weigh the cabbage before filling the jar(the cabbage weight must be down inside the container).
- Make sure that the cabbages are fully dipped into the brine( helps to avoid mold).
- Keep the containers aside for a few days or a week so as to let them ferment enough.
- Finally, the entire cabbage head can be fermented.
Preserve cabbage by sucking water out life from it
Sucking out water from the cabbages can be a nice way to store them. It does not need much hard work. Only a few steps were done correctly and dehydrated cabbages are ready to be used.
Vegetable dehydration is generally done either for preserving the perishable raw commodity against deterioration or to reduce the cost of packaging, handling, storing and transporting. The most serious constraint for shelf-life enhancement is the activity of microorganisms. Water in food is reduced to a very low level during dehydration, thus achieving better microbiological preservation and retarding many undesirable reactions during storage (4).
The steps of dehydrating cabbage :
- Wash the cabbage with clean water.
- Peel of the first two layers.
- Chop them off into slices as required.
- Take a clean tray and put it on parchment paper.
- Place the cabbages into the tray and put them into the dehydrator.
- The set temperature will range from 125-135℉.
- Keep the dehydrator on for about 8-12 hours until the cabbage slices are crisp enough.
- Switch off the dehydrator or oven.
- Remove the cabbages and put them in the jar and store them in a dry place.
Cabbage is ready to be used in soup or place of any fresh cabbage.
Preserve cabbage by freezing
Yes, freezing cabbage is a good way of preserving it. It helps to store them for the long run by stopping their enzyme activity.
Freezing is considered to be one of the most efficient food preservation methods. Frozen vegetables can be stored for several months since the rate of decay is significantly lower than at high temperatures due to the water being suspended as ice. However, the formation of ice crystals accompanies the freezing process of products that contain moisture and destroys its structure, changing the texture significantly (5).
Freezing of cabbage involves the following steps.
- Wash the cabbages thoroughly under running water to get rid of all the dirt.
- Chop them off into tiny pieces as required.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Add the cabbages and blanch them for a min or two.
- Remove the cabbages and add them into ice-cold water.
- After 2 mins remove them from the water.
- Pat the cabbage slices dry with a clean paper towel.
- Take the pieces of cabbage on the tray and freeze them.
- Take out each piece and put them in the jar or zip lock bags for longer storage.
Preserve cabbages by pickling them
Pickling is a really easy and not only long-lasting but delicious method of preserving cabbage. Pickling adds to the flavor of cabbage just as it does to cucumber. It can be used as sides with staples or added to bread for flavor.
Acidification or pickling is a conservation method based on growth of lactic acid bacteria from microbiota of these plant species over other existing organisms. Lactic acid fermentation is considered as the simple and valuable biotechnology to keep and/or enhance the safety, nutritional, sensory and shelf life properties of vegetables and fruits (6).
Steps of pickling cabbage involve:
- Wash the plucked or market cabbages thoroughly with water.
- Slice the cabbage into small pieces and add salt to it and keep it aside in a bowl for about 12 hours.
- Make a brine using salt and vinegar in a 1:1 ratio in a pot full of water.
- Add minced garlic and pickle spice and bring it to a boil.
- Rinse the cabbage or drain out the excess water released from the cabbage.
- Add the cabbage to the jar and add the brine to it.
- Process the jars in a water bath for 20 mins.
- Once done, take out the jars and cool them. Store it in a dark cool place.
- Do not open the seal for 3-4 weeks to let the cabbage pickle well.
Preserve cabbage by refrigerating it
Refrigerating the cabbage in the crisper drawers of the refrigerator is a common method of preserving food. The cabbage alone can be stored directly in the fridge for about weeks and also sometimes months (7).
Precautions should be taken during storing the cabbages in the refrigerator. The precautionary measures include:
- Do not wash the cabbage before storing it.
- Do not remove the first two layers of the cabbage.
- If storing multiple cabbages together, keep a check on the rot.
- If even one of the cabbage heads is seen to start getting rotten, immediately take it off( not attending the cabbages sooner will lead to mass spoilage).
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to preserve cabbage?”, and discussed the different methods of preserving cabbage and the potential implications of preserving cabbage.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know.
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Barrett, Charles E., et al. Optimum planting configuration for high population plasticulture grown cabbage. HortSci, 2015, 50, 1472-1478.
Zabat, Michelle A., et al. Microbial Community Analysis of Sauerkraut Fermentation Reveals a Stable and Rapidly Established Community. Foods, 2018, 7, 5.
Garden-Robinson, Julie, and Ronald Smith. Sauerkraut: From Garden To Table. 2009. North Dakota State University.
Gupta, Sheetal, et al. Retention of nutrients in green leafy vegetables on dehydration. J food sci technol, 2013, 50, 918-925.
Wang, Ranran, et al. Microstructure and quality of cabbage slices (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.) as affected by cryogenic quick-freezing treatment. Int J Food Prop, 2019, 22, 1815-1833.
Avramiuc, Marcel. Some chemical aspects during white cabbage pickling process. Food Environ Safe J, 2016, 12.
Huyck, L. Using, Storing and Preserving Cabbage. 2012. Michigan State University