Why does cabbage smell?

In this brief guide, we will answer and discuss the query, “ Why does cabbage smell?”. We will also discuss related issues including “How to tell if cabbage has gone bad?” Moreover, we will discuss how to reduce the cabbage smell and how to freeze it properly

Why does cabbage smell?

Cabbage smells because of the sulfur compounds that are released when it is cut or cooked. These compounds are responsible for the characteristic odor of cabbage.

When cabbage is cut or cooked, the sulfur compounds that are released interact with the air to produce the characteristic cabbage odor. These compounds are produced by the breakdown of proteins in the cabbage, and they are responsible for the distinct smell of cabbage.

Moreover, The sulfur in cabbage reacts with the water in the cabbage to produce hydrogen sulfide. This gas is what gives cabbage its characteristic smell.

How can you reduce the smell when cooking?

There are a few things you can do to prevent cabbage smell when cooking:

  • Soak cabbage in vinegar for an hour before cooking. 
  • Rinse the cabbage well before cooking. 
  • Add a few slices of lemon or orange to the pot while cooking. 
  • Cook cabbage on low heat. 
  • Add some sugar to the pot while cooking. 
  • Add some fresh herbs to the pot while cooking. 
  • Use a lid while cooking to trap the smell

How can you tell if cabbage has gone bad?

If cabbage has gone bad, it will have a strong, unpleasant smell. The leaves will be wilted and discolored, and the cabbage will be mushy to the touch. A

A spoiled cabbage smells like ammonia or a substance that is decaying. You can also touch the cabbage to feel the texture. A spoiled cabbage is discolored at the edges and has a dark color.

 If you’re not sure whether cabbage has gone bad, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it away.

How long before cabbage goes bad?

This mainly depends on how you have stored it. You should leave cabbage intact without washing it until you are ready to cook it.

You can also put the cabbage in the fridge. A refrigerated cabbage can last up to -2 months. Freezing cabbage can make it last up to 8 months. Cabbage used to make salads and other dishes can go up to a week.

You can use cabbage to make sauerkraut. The disadvantage is that the cabbage flavors might change.

How do you freeze cabbage?

Cabbage can be frozen either cooked or raw. To freeze cooked cabbage, blanch it in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place cabbage in a freezer-safe container, leaving ½-inch of headspace. 

To freeze raw cabbage, shred or chop it into desired pieces. Place cabbage in a freezer-safe container, leaving ½-inch of headspace. To prevent freezer burn, make sure to tightly seal your container. Cabbage will keep in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Are the black spots on cabbage mold?

The black spots on cabbage are usually the result of a fungal disease called black rot. The disease is most common in warm, humid climates and can affect both cultivated and wild cabbages. 

The fungus produces black spots on the leaves of the plant, which can eventually lead to the plant’s death. There are several ways to prevent black rot, including using a fungicide, rotating crops, and keeping the area around the cabbage plants clean and free of debris.

Why does cabbage have a bitter taste?

Cabbage has a bitter taste because it contains glucosinolates. These compounds are responsible for the bitter taste of cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. The bitter taste of cabbage is thought to be a defensive mechanism against herbivores.

The bitter taste deters animals from eating the cabbage, which protects the plant from being eaten. Glucosinolates are also thought to have health benefits. Some research suggests that these compounds may help to prevent cancer. 

While the bitter taste of cabbage may not be pleasant for some people, it is a good indicator that the vegetable is packed with nutrients. So, don’t let the bitter taste deter you from eating cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. They are good for your health.

For more details on Glucosinolates. Click here

Other FAQs about Cabbage that you may be interested in.

How to preserve kale

How To Preserve Cabbage

What can I substitute for kale?


In this brief guide, we have discussed the query, “ Why does cabbage smell?” We have also discussed how long it takes before cabbage goes bad and how to tell if it is good to eat. Moreover, we have discussed what gives cabbage the bitter taste.

Hope you find this blog useful, in case of any questions, please let us know



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.