None of us like to throw out food, and many people are now looking for ways to reduce their food waste. It is thought that a vast percentage of bought food gets wasted, which is bad for the environment and morally challenging when there is starvation in the world. So, you might be wondering how to store cabbage.
Cabbage is best stored in the fridge, where the chilled environment helps to preserve its leaves and keep it fresh and crisp. Cabbage stored on the counter will quickly wilt and turn limp, its leaves shriveling up.
We’re going to go into the details of how to store cabbage to maximize its freshness for the longest possible time, as well as how to tell if your cabbage has gone bad, and what you shouldn’t do when storing your cabbage. Following these tips should help you minimize food waste – or at least cabbage waste – in your home!
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How To Store Cabbage Properly
Cabbage should be placed directly in the fridge when you buy or harvest it. You ideally want cold and moist storage; the fridge is cold enough, but it is not very moist. Cabbage should be stored around 32-40°F.
If you have a cellar or another kind of cold storage that is also damp, you may find that your cabbages keep better there, but for most households, the fridge is the best option, even though it is a bit too dry to be considered “perfect.”
To help keep your cabbage moist enough, you should cut off most of the stem (if it has one), and then lightly dampen some paper towels. Wrap these around the cabbage, and place the cabbage in a plastic bag with plenty of holes.
Perforated bags can be bought or made from any plastic bag. Although intended for baguettes, these Micro Perforated Bags should be large enough for most cabbages, and will help trap moisture.
- MICRO-PERFORATED: Keeps bread fresher longer.
- WICKET DISPENSER: Allows for easy handling and storing.
- FOOD SAFE: Made from high-quality food-safe plastics.
This should help your cabbage to stay damp, preventing the leaves from drying and shriveling. It is a good idea to check on your cabbage from time to time to see if it is retaining its moisture and staying fresh. If the paper towel dries out, simply dampen it again, but don’t leave your cabbage on soaking paper towels or it may rot.
If you do happen to have another form of storage, such as a cellar, follow a different approach. You should avoid removing any part of the cabbage, and instead space cabbages out several inches apart, or wrap them in newspaper.
How Long Cabbage Be Stored?
This depends a bit on the kind of cabbage you are storing; some keep better than others. Some cabbages may lose moisture, but remain fresh enough and tender enough to eat for a couple of months when kept in the fridge.
Some cabbages, particularly dark green ones, may start to yellow and become unappealing after a few weeks. On average, a cabbage will last two to four weeks when stored in the fridge, so you should aim to use up your cabbages within that time.
In cold storage like a cellar, cabbages that have been properly harvested and stored without bruising could last up to four months and remain fresh and edible. Cabbage is a very popular vegetable because it lasts so well, so make the most of it and store it correctly.
If you want to store cabbage even beyond this, you might want to try making kimchi, as described by FeastingAtHome, as a means of preserving your cabbages. This Premium Kimchi Container is perfect for having a go.
- Easy to use! Essential product for kimchi, pickling vegetables, and making delicious sauerkraut
- Food safe, dishwasher safe, freezer safe, microwave safe, light and easy to operate
- Great for storing other dry goods like grains, beans, flours, and pasta.
How To Tell If Cabbage Has Gone Bad
You might be wondering how you can tell if your cabbage is not edible anymore. Cabbages have quite a strong smell, and they can have this even when they are fresh, so it isn’t always easy to tell by scent.
However, the smell will get stronger and less pleasant when the cabbage is no longer good to eat. It will have started to rot, and that releases a nasty odor that should put you off eating it – this is, after all, how we have determined whether to eat food since our species began.
A cabbage will also usually tell you by its look. The leaves will shrivel up and turn brittle, and they may also show signs of yellowing, or spots of mold. Look in particular around the stems or any bruises; this is where mold is likely to attack first.
Sometimes, you can save a cabbage by removing some of the outer leaves and rinsing the inner parts well. Cabbage such as pointed cabbage are often fine to eat even once the outer leaves have gone past their best.
However, if any damage has penetrated the outer leaves, such as bruising or grubs, the cabbage may rot from the inside and the whole thing will need to be discarded.
If you do decide to eat a cabbage that you think is getting old, make sure you remove all affected leaves, wash it thoroughly, and cook it well. If in doubt, it is better to discard it than to make yourself ill.
Mistakes To Avoid When Storing Cabbage
⮩ Cutting the cabbage: Some people like to prep their veg as soon as they buy it, washing, cutting, and then storing it in plastic containers. However, you should not do this with cabbages. They should be stored as you buy them (or with the stems removed if applicable).
If you do cut your cabbage (e.g. in half, to use some for a meal), don’t leave the rest hanging around in the fridge for too long. It will start to degrade more quickly once it has been cut.
⮩ Washing the cabbage: Don’t wash the cabbage or remove the outer leaves. Cabbages start to lose vitamin C as soon as they are damaged, so to preserve the goodness in your cabbage, don’t cut it until you are ready to use it up.
When storing it in the fridge, you might sometimes need to remove the outer leaves to wrap it properly. That should be fine, but on the whole, it’s best to avoid it.
⮩ Storing it in the open: Some people think that cabbage should be stored on the counter; this is not the case and will result in a shriveled, wilted cabbage very quickly. Don’t make this mistake; store your cabbage at low temperatures to keep it fresh and crisp.
Keep Your Cabbage Fresh!
Cabbage is very popular for the fact that it can be stored for a long time in the right conditions. Of course, different cabbages behave in different ways, but in general, if you keep your cabbage cool and slightly damp, it will last for several weeks at least, which is ideal if you grow your own or you only use a little bit of cabbage.