Cabbage is a great cool weather crop that can give you a big harvest and fill you up. Learn all the ways to preserve cabbage to extend its shelf life- so you can enjoy it longer!
Cabbage is one of my favorite cool weather crops. I plant it in the spring and again in the fall and I just love looking at a bed full of cabbage heads!
The great thing about cabbage is that it’s very versatile. You can add it to a ton of dishes or eat it on its own in a variety of dishes.
I have a large family, so a head of cabbage is nothing to us, but we also grow a lot of it, so we preserve the extra cabbage for later
Luckily, cabbage is easy to preserve and there are a few different ways you can do it- meaning there’s a method that will work for everyone!
(Are you a beginning gardener or new to growing cabbage? Here’s How to Grow Cabbage!)
One note before we get to how to preserve cabbage- for the best results, make sure you choose a storage variety of cabbage if you plan on preserving.
10 Ways to Preserve Cabbage for Longer Storage
Have you harvested your cabbage and need a way to preserve it so that it doesn’t go to waste?
Here are 10 different ways to preserve cabbage to try!
✅ Ready to take control of your food source and preserve more? Check out my Food Preservation Toolbox to help you learn and preserve more food this year!
Store In the Refrigerator
Let’s start with the easiest. Yes- just sticking it in the fridge can help you keep cabbage fresh for up to 2 months when stored properly.
Cabbage prefers a cool, moist environment.
To store in the fridge, wrap a fresh, unwashed, and uncut cabbage head in damp paper towels. Place in a plastic bag and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
Remove most of the loose leaves, but let a few remain to protect from moisture loss.
Place in Cold Storage/Root Cellar
If you have access to a root cellar, it’s the perfect place to store cabbage long term.
When you harvest don’t remove the outer leaves, as they help retain moisture.
To store, warp each head in paper, Brown paper or newspaper works. Place them on a shelf or in boxes, taking care that the heads don’t touch.
You can also harvest the entire plant- roots and all- and hang the cabbages upside down by their roots.
Under the optimal conditions, cabbage can store up to 6 months.
Now, if you have lots of cabbage you probably don’t have room in the fridge to store it all, so you’ll need other preservation methods. Like fermentation!
Fermenting is a popular preservation method with a unique taste and lots of benefits such as improving heath and being filled with probiotics.
Cabbage is made for fermenting!
You can make sauerkraut, kimchi, curtido and more!
Now, I know that sauerkraut is FERMENTED cabbage but it is probably the most common thing made from cabbage and deserves it’s own spot on the list.
It’s made with sliced cabbage and salt (that’s it!) and left to ferment in a jar for 1-4 weeks.
You can get more detailed instructions from the Prairie Homestead: How to Make Sauerkraut.
Canning is not recommended for cabbage by itself, but it can be pickled and then canned!
Pickling cabbage is similar to making any other pickles, the cabbage is sliced or shredded and placed in a brine made of vinegar, salt, spices, and sugar.
Once canned, pickled cabbage can last up to 12 months on your pantry shelf!
Here are some pickled cabbage recipes to try:
I love dehydrating things as a way to preserve because it’s easy and shelf stable. And it’s an easy way to preserve extra cabbage!
All you need is an electric dehydrator and you’re ready to go! (Having trouble deciding? Check out my Dehydrator Buying Guide.)
You can decide if you want to blanch for 1.5 minutes before drying or not. I tend to go with not blanching and just dehydrating raw.
if you want to dry your cabbage get Step by Step Instructions for Dehydrating Cabbage.
Freezing is another easy way to preserve cabbage.
Wash cabbage and trim off any bad spots. Slice the cabbage into strips or wedges.
Again, you can decide to blanch or not. With freezing, I do tend to blanch first.
To blanch drop cabbage into boiling water for 1.5 minutes and then transfer to an ice water bath.
Drain and remove any extra moisture before freezing.
Flash freezing on a tray can help prevent clumping, or freeze in serving size portions.
Freeze Drying Cabbage
Freeze drying will give you a similar texture as frozen cabbage, but with a shelf stable final product.
Blanching for freeze drying is optional.
Slice it thin and stick it in the freeze dryer and it’s ready to go for soups, coleslaw, egg rolls, sauerkraut, etc. when you need it!
Best thing about freeze drying is that foods last YEARS.
Frozen Cabbage Recipes
Another way to preserve cabbage is to make it into your favorite cabbage dishes and then freeze THOSE.
You can do this with lots of dishes:
- Cabbage rolls
- Cabbage stir-fry
- Stuffed Cabbage
Give it a try with your favorite cabbage recipe and see how it turns out!
In the Ground!
And finally, you can store your cabbage in the ground.
There are 2 ways to think about this- one is you actually bury the cabbage head in the ground.
You dig a hole about 2 ft deep and line it with straw. Place the cabbage plant in, roots facing up, cover with more straw and a tarp or burlap.
But you can also stagger your cabbage planting and over winter you cabbage so that you are actually growing cabbage in the winter.
Cabbage is frost hardy and grows well in cool weather- especially under row covers or frost blankets.
There you have it. 10 different ways to preserve cabbage so that you can enjoy it all year round!