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Can You Freeze Red Cabbage?

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By Ross Young

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Delicious when cooked as part of a dinner, turned into coleslaw for a salad or even added to stews, soups and hotpots. There is only one problem with cabbage: it is in season for a relatively short time during the year. So, how can you store it year-round?

Can You Freeze Red Cabbage?

Yes, you can freeze red cabbage for up to 3 months. We would strongly recommend blanching red cabbage before freezing it. This will help to prevent flavour loss and texture changes when you freeze it.

Does Red Cabbage Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Red Cabbage? No

How To Freeze Red Cabbage

You have a few options when it comes to freezing red cabbage. You can cook it cut up into shredded sections, freeze it in wedges or as whole leaves. How you want to use it when you defrost it should determine which method you choose.

We would recommend that for most uses, cutting it into wedges is the best option. This gives you the most versatility when using the red cabbage when you cook it.

So let’s delve into how you freeze red cabbage:

  1. Prepare Cabbage: Remove the outer leaves, then wash your cabbage thoroughly. If you have bought it from a market, or grown it yourself, you might want to soak it in salted water for thirty minutes. Doing this will ensure any bugs leave the cabbage and don’t get frozen with it.
  2. Slice or Chop: Cut up the cabbage into wedges, shreds or take apart the leaves.
  3. Prepare Water: Bring a pot of water to the boil. While waiting, prepare a bowl of ice water and place it next to the cooker. You need to have it close to where you will be cooking the cabbage because you need to cool down the cabbage immediately.
  4. Blanch: Put the cabbage into the water and set a timer for 90 seconds for shredded cabbage and leaves or 3 minutes for wedges. Remove the cabbage from the boiling water and immediately plunge it into the ice water.
  5. Drain and Dry: Drain the cabbage from the ice water and allow it to dry. The drier the cabbage is at this stage, the better it will freeze.
  6. Flash Freeze
    Pop the cabbage onto a baking sheet and put it in the freezer. You want to ensure the cabbage wedges or leaves are not touching during this part of the process. You can also wrap the leaves into balls to freeze as portions.
  7. Bag Up: After the cabbage has frozen take it out of the freezer and transfer it into a freezer bag.
  8. Final Freeze: Squeeze out any excess air, label the bag with the date and contents and then pop it back into the freezer.
Frozen Red Cabbage

Can You Freeze Raw Red Cabbage?

Raw red cabbage can be frozen using the method outlined above. In fact, the method above is almost raw except we blanch it for a minute to ensure the flavour, texture and colour is not lost during the freezing process.

Although it’s perfectly safe to freeze red cabbage completely raw, where possible, we would advise taking a few minutes to blanch it beforehand.

How to Freeze Braised Red Cabbage

Braised cabbage is a delicious method of cooking and eating this colourful vegetable and the great news is that braised cabbage can be frozen for up to 3 months also using the following method:

  1. Cook: Braise your cabbage using your favourite recipe.
  2. Portion into Bags: Portion out the braised red cabbage and pop each portion into a separate freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air.
  3. Freeze: Seal and then label the bag with the contents and the date. Pop the freezer bags into the freezer and freeze.

3 Tips for Freezing Red Cabbage

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing red cabbage to have the best results:

Always Blanch It
It may take a little extra effort but blanching is a great way to lock in flavour, colour and texture when freezing vegetables so take the time to blanch it. 

Mix With Other Brassicas
You don’t have to limit the bag to red cabbage. Try mixing with other cabbages and brassicas such as kale, broccoli and savoy cabbage. 

Cook From Frozen
If you have frozen the red cabbage shredded, then grab a handful and add it directly to stir-fries, boiling water or stews. It will defrost almost instantly.

How Long Can You Freeze Red Cabbage?

Red cabbage is a really good option to keep in your freezer to add extra healthy veg to a meal and you can keep it in the freezer for up to three months.

The time you can keep it frozen is the same whether you have chosen to freeze it blanched and ready to cook or already cooked or braised.

How Long Does Red Cabbage Last in the Fridge?

A whole, fresh red cabbage will keep for a few weeks in the fridge. Most cabbages have an exceptional life in the fridge. However, once cut, it will need to be used within 3 days.

How Do You Defrost Red Cabbage?

How you thaw out your red cabbage will depend on how you plan to use it and how you froze it. For many recipes or meals, you won’t need to defrost it at all!

If you are planning on cooking it as a veg to add to a meal then you can cook it from frozen. The best way to do this is to use shredded frozen cabbage. You just need to pop the frozen cabbage into a steamer or pot to cook.

If you have frozen your cabbage in wedges then you may need to defrost it first and you can do this by popping it into the fridge to defrost slowly for a few hours.

Can You Refreeze Red Cabbage?

You shouldn’t refreeze red cabbage. Especially if you have thawed out blanched cabbage, ready to cook. Refreezing isn’t generally recommended for most foods due to how it changes the quality and this applies to cabbage too.

Refreezing is likely to result in mushy cabbage that wouldn’t be edible.

Does Red Cabbage Freeze Well?

Whilst red cabbage does freeze fairly well, you might find that there is a little change in texture but as long as you blanch it before freezing it should still taste fantastic and cook up well.

Most people can’t tell the difference between cabbage that has been frozen or cabbage that is fresh once it has been cooked.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing red cabbage or cabbage in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Coleslaw with Red Cabbage?

The issue when freezing coleslaw is not the vegetables but the dressing. Many dressings, especially those made with a mayonnaise element, will split and become quite grainy, which means coleslaw doesn’t freeze well. To learn more, check out our dedicated article on freezing coleslaw.

Can You Freeze Shredded Red Cabbage?

Yes, shredded red cabbage can be frozen but you will need to blanch it for 30 seconds before draining and freezing it.

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3 thoughts on “Can You Freeze Red Cabbage?”

  1. This afternoon I have frozen 4 red cabbages as per the instructions, into wedges. Unsurprisingly they lost their beautiful red colour and are now blue. Should the instructions have included the addition of white wine vinegar?

    • I freeze and vac-packed, pickled red cabbage which has been blanched in pickling juice. Retains its colour and holds its pickling taste for a very long time in the freezer. Can then be added to other cooking to complement many varied preferences.


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