June 27, 2016

Freezing and Dehydrating Cabbage


When the weather gets hot, cool weather plants "bolt".

Cabbage from garden to freezer.

The heat of summer tells them that their growing season is nearly over and it's time to make seeds.

I planted my cabbage a bit late this spring. I pulled the best three plants and used them first, letting the others stay in the ground a little longer. But summer has hit in earnest now and the remaining cabbages were beginning to form elongated heads instead of round ones. I knew they were beginning to bolt and it was time to pick them all. If I left them, a stem would have grown up through the head which would eventually flower and then form seeds.

A head of cabbage from the garden.

The head of cabbage above is a nice and round. The one below was the worst of the bunch; obviously I should have harvested some of these at least a week earlier than I did. I ended up cutting off the bottom of this one and its matching half, and shredding them to dehydrate.

A head of cabbage that has begun to bolt.

After pulling off all the outer leaves, I soaked the heads in a sink of salt water for awhile in case there were any critters, but fortunately I didn't find any. All those outer leaves went on my compost pile.

My plan was to freeze most of the cabbage and dehydrate a head or two as well.


Freezing cabbage

To freeze cabbage, leave the core intact and cut the head into quarters. The core helps hold the leaves in place. Then blanch the quarters.

To freeze, cut cabbage into quarters with the core attached.

Blanching destroys the enzymes that cause veggies and fruits to continue to ripen and change flavor. It also kills any bacteria, mold and fungus on the food. You don't want to skip this step.

How to blanch cabbage.

To blanch, bring a pot of water to a boil and add several quarters of cabbage. Continue boiling for three minutes, then remove the cabbage to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

After blanching cabbage, cool in a bowl of ice water.

When cool, drain the quarters well (all those nooks and crannies hold a lot of water), and package in freezer bags or other containers. Label well and freeze.

Package blanched cabbage in freezer bags.

I also blanched and froze several quarts of shredded cabbage to go in future soups, stews and stir-fries.


Dehydrating cabbage

It's super easy to dehydrate cabbage. A quart jar holds about one head.

To dehydrate, slice cabbage into thin strips. Some people blanch cabbage before dehydrating while others don't. I didn't, but follow your own conscience on this.

Dehydrated cabbage.

Arrange strips on your dehydrator trays. Turn on the dehydrator and set the temperature between 125° and 135°F. I use this L'Equip model and love it. (affiliate link)

Rotate the trays throughout the dehydrating process for even drying. It will take about 7-11 hours for your cabbage to become brittle and completely dry. Our weather is quite humid and it took longer than eleven hours for mine to finish.

Store in an airtight container. I fill Mason jars, and then vacuum seal them with my FoodSaver. To rehydrate, just drop some into a soup or stew and continue to simmer until your meal is finished.

Now we can eat cabbage all year round.

Related Posts:
Tips on Growing Cabbage
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Freezing and Dehydrating Cabbage - this post!





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18 comments:

  1. Wow I never knew you could do this. I love dehydrating food. I need a new machine. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A dehydrator is a great way to preserve food! I hope you'll be able to get a new one soon.

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  2. We had corn beef and frozen cabbage last night. I have never had cabbage go to seed in hot NM. I cut the had off and leave the plant because they will have small cabbages under the leaves. These are small and sweet. I freeze lots of cabbage and Sauerkraut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing like experience! Thank you for sharing that. I'd read that they will sometimes form a second head if you leave the plant, but I'd planned to use the space for another crop; it's good to know that's true.

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  3. yum! I am slightly ashamed to say that I have never grown cabbage before, but now that I know how to "Put it up" maybe I'll give it a try!

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    Replies
    1. Jamie, it's really quite easy. This is the first year I've grown it too. Check out my Tips on Growing Cabbage post!

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  4. I've dehydrated cabbage but never frozen it before. Thanks for the detailed tutorial! (Stopping by from The Homesteaders Blog Hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Homestead~
    Texas

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by, Tammy. Freezing it is very easy. I've steamed it and added lots of butter and hubby loves it.

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  5. My favorite way to dehydrate (veg, fruit and meat alike) is with large, square box-fans. I lay two birds-eye flat cloth diapers (which I use for this and making cheese) on the front of the fan, arrange the veg, then cover with two more. I bungy it in place and turn the fan on full. Everything is done in a day or two. I am South African and make biltong (a dried meat) like this, too. It's a technique I saw Alton Brown use for salmon jerky in Alaska years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw Alton Brown do that too! Using just air and no heat is definitely a good thing.

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  6. Thanks for the tips! I never considered freezing cabbage before.
    :) gwingal . com

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    1. You're welcome, Nikki.

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  7. I have never thought about freezing or dehydrating cabbage! We just started our garden, and have had some success already. It think when it becomes cabbage season again I'll plant some just to try this (and have coleslaw from the fresh cabbage)!

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations on your garden successes, Katy!

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  8. What is your favorite way to use your dehydrated cabbage? I have been making a lot of sauerkraut, but still have 9 large cabbages left to harvest asap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a lot of cabbage at once, isn't it? Dehydrating is a quick way to deal with it all, or at least some of it. I use it in soups, stews and stir fries. Just toss it in the soup or stew and it will rehydrate as the dish cooks. Rehydrate it to use in a stir fry.

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  9. What do you do with your frozen and dehydrated cabbage? I just eat cabbage fresh, cooked or in sauerkraut. Stopping by from the Country Fair Blog Party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frozen cabbage can be steamed and served with butter as a side dish. I drop the dehydrated cabbage into soups, stews and stir-fries. Thank you for stopping by, Val.

      Delete

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