Cabbages are among the most widely available vegetables around the world. There are a variety of cabbages available, and the most common are red (purple), light green (off-white), and green.
It is often overlooked that this leafy, cruciferous veggie isn’t just pocket-friendly and easy to carry around; it is also of nutrients.
Cabbages are a wealth of vitamin C K, dietary fiber, magnesium, and a variety of antioxidants.
Regular consumption of this leafy and watery plant will provide your body with nutrition through the numerous nutritional benefits.
The fermented varieties of cabbage, like kimchi, are rich in probiotics, which help maintain your gut health.
Knowing how to cook and store cabbage will be a huge difference in preserving flavor without degrading any of the nutrients. It can be eaten raw or cooked.
As with other vegetables, prolonged cooking may destroy some nutrients, so it is essential to limit the heat and the time spent cooking cabbages.
How to Choose Cabbage
When picking out cabbage grown in the garden or purchased from a store, there are some guidelines to assist your eyes in determining the best cabbage to choose.
- It should also be soft to the touch.
- The leaves must be in good condition. Ensure that the leaves are securely attached to the head of the cabbage. The leaves on the outside should be good and green because they aid in retaining moisture.
- Any sign of wilting indicates you have a cabbage that is aging and needs to be not eaten.
- Watch out for bruises on the head and leaves.
- Avoid cabbages with coloration or blackened leaves because they only have a brief shelf lifespan.
How to Make Use of Cabbages
There are many ways to make use of cabbage. A few of them include:
- In salads like coleslaw, for example. It is then shredded or finely chopped and mixed with other ingredients, such as carrots, before mixing into mayonnaise. Both the pale and red-green varieties are often used in coleslaw.
- The outer leaves are filled with different ingredients in recipes like steamed or savory stuffed cabbage leaves.
- In stews.
- In making vegetable juices. Raw cabbage juice is sought-after by health experts who believe in its healing properties, particularly for stomach ulcers that soothe.
- In stir-fries and sauteed dishes. For a simple sauteed salad, include the oil in the skillet. Mix the cabbage with some spices into hot oil to cook for a few minutes. Then add some green onions to aid in absorbing the intense taste of the cabbage.
- For a side dish, it can be blanched, pan-fried, or cabbage wedges that are steamed and served in hot sauce.
- In recipes like braised red cabbage, for example.
- Fermented cabbage, like sauerkraut and kimchi, is highly regarded as probiotics.
Besides being aware of how cabbages can be used, knowing their shelf lives is important. Knowing the length of time will last helpful in determining the most effective storage strategies.
A few suggestions that can be useful before the storage of cabbage:
- Keep all the leaves that are outside that cover the leaves of the cabbage. They stop the leaves of cabbage get dry, which increases the likelihood of their spoilage.
- For cabbage that has been cut, sprinkle the edges with vegetable oil or water to avoid wilting.
- Cabbage should be washed before cooking or being cooked. The cabbage should be cleaned prior to storage. It can accelerate the process of rotting because the outer leaves become black.
How to Keep Cabbage
Whole, raw cabbages are best kept in cool, dry areas like the refrigerator. The most effective method is to wrap the whole cabbage in clingfilm or place it inside bags made of plastic. This will ensure that the cabbage is kept moist, which extends its shelf-life of the cabbage.
The cabbage wrapped in a wrap can lead to moisture loss because the refrigerator is filled with dry air. If your cabbage is dirty or muddy, clean the dirt away without washing the cabbage.
Remove any bruised or torn leaves to keep other leaves from becoming rotten.
The shelf life of fresh chopped cabbage can be extended by refrigerating or freezing. If you want to shred the cabbage, put the shredded cabbage inside Ziploc bags and airtight containers, and then freeze it to use later.
If you are planning to use it in the near future, there’s no need to store it as the produce section in the refrigerator is sufficient.
Half a cabbage. Wrap the whole portion in clingfilm or plastic bag in order to avoid air or moisture, as this can cause oxidation.
It is recommended to use the cabbage refrigerated within a few days in order to reduce its loss of taste.
Freezing and Blanching
Blanching the cabbage shredded is the preferred method to prolong the shelf life of your product.
Blanching mitigates rotting. After blanching the food, drain it and then dry it prior to placing it into Ziploc bags and freezing.
This technique can preserve the cabbage throughout the year prior to the time.
A traditional method to extend the shelf life of food products is drying. The removal of moisture helps prevent the growth of mold and also slows down rotting via enzyme reactions.
A dehydrator can come in handy because it will do the job for you in only a couple of hours. Cut them or cut up cabbage, then place them on the tray.
Dehydration may take up to at least 12 hours. This leaves the pieces of food brittle.
Dry the pieces in airtight containers where neither air nor moisture will get inside.
Another method of storage that is effective for cabbage is to ferment it. While fermentation will prolong the shelf life of cabbage, it also improves the taste of cabbage.
Fermenting the cabbage is a straightforward process of soaking whole or chopped cabbage in brine (highly concentrated vinegar or salt solution). The brine provides a deep and salty flavor to cabbage.
The mixture is then placed in airtight or special fermenting containers and then covered with heavy objects over it to avoid contact with air or any impurities.
It is possible to ferment the cabbage by itself or add onions and peppers. This is an ancient tradition that is popular with Asians.
Fermentation typically takes between a few days and months, depending on the person’s preference.
Every food item that is fermented can be beneficial for giving probiotics. Probiotics feed our bodies with beneficial bacteria that ensure a healthy gut and digestive system.
Utilization of the Root Cellar
If you’re lucky enough to have a root cellar, the storage of foodstuffs and other garden produce can be an easy walk.
A root cellar is a partially or fully underground storage facility. These types of structures are prevalent in farms, homes, or in the homes of people living in the countryside.
A root cellar is an uncontrolled and cool temperature that is ideal for storing.
Another way to store foods is to create an insignificant hole about 2 feet deep within your backyard. After that, you arrange straws around the hole, add cabbages to it and cover the hole with straws.
This method is very well-known in regions that experience winter because it is usually used during the fall and winter. Low temperatures can extend the shelf’s lifespan for several months.
How to Tell if a Cabbage is Past The Eat-By Date
It is easy to identify an old cabbage consumption by observing the following simple signs:
The Wilting Leaves
A cabbage that is shriveled and lacking moisture suggests a large extent of spoilage. The cabbage is bland and is best to throw away.
The Strong Aroma
A damaged cabbage emits the smell of a strong, pungent odor that makes it unpleasant.
Discoloration of Leaves Flesh, Leaves, and Edges
Be on the lookout for any parts that are turning dark. You can remove them and then use the remainder or throw away the entire cabbage if it is completely discolored.
A simple cabbage can be a diverse and nutritious vegetable that you can stock up on at your home. The numerous methods to store and use cabbage will help you avoid many trips to the market or the garden.