Step-by-Step Guide: Freeze Fresh Cabbage Heads

For a long time, I avoided growing cabbage because I felt like I couldn’t use it fast enough. We love stuffed cabbage rolls and cabbage roll soup, but we can’t eat a whole garden of cabbage in a few weeks! Sauerkraut isn’t a family favorite. Then, one day I learned that you can freeze fresh cabbage heads, and my world changed.

Yes, it is possible! Learning how to freeze fresh cabbage heads is easy. It takes a few hours, so I suggest doing it on a day you aren’t super busy. However, most of the time is when the cabbage has to drain or soak.

Here are the steps! You aren’t going to believe how easy it is.

How to Freeze Fresh Cabbage Heads

First, you have to harvest the heads. That is very easy, taking 30 seconds per head at most! Then, I bring them inside. After they’re inside, I take off the four to five leaves. Then, they need to soak in water, typically for at least two to three hours.

Even if you think your cabbage was pest-free, there is a good chance a few slugs or cabbage loppers found their way into your cabbage heads. I move the heads around in the water. Soaking kills the slugs inside of the heads. See this little buddy who thought catching a ride was a fun idea? He was wrong!

After the heads soak, take them out and let them drain for a bit. Next, you need to cut them into quarters. It is important that you keep the core inside of the cabbage. Without the core, your leaves are going to fall off in the water. You don’t want that to happen; trust me.

While you are cutting up the heads of fresh cabbage, you need to get a large pot of water boiling on your stove. Also, full up a side of your sink with ice cold water. You are going to blanch the heads by moving them from the boiling water right into ice water, which abruptly stops the cooking process.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, put the cabbage heads in. My pot fits three to four at a time. Let each head come to a boil for 3 minutes then move them directly to the ice bath. Continue this process until all of the heads are blanched.

After blanching, make sure all of the cabbage heads are cool to the touch. I drain out all of the water and let them sit in the sink or a colander for a few minutes. It helps drain out all of that excess water! I give each of the cabbage heads a bit of a squeeze to help get out the water.

Now it is time to get them into their freezer bags. If you have a food saver, this task is perfect for it. We don’t, so I stick three in each bag. Make sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. Then, add a label with the date you froze them!

Freezing fresh cabbage heads is easy! If you want to have fresh cabbage later in the year, this is the perfect way to preserve it. We use the heads throughout the winter for hearty dinner meals and soups.

How do you preserve fresh cabbage?

Similar Posts


  1. I just shred it and freeze it. Never have blanched. Cutting it to fit the processor helps find the things that tag along. Now it’s shredded for soups, stews and casseroles. When I make cabbage rolls I usually buy fresh from the store and freeze the whole head. Thawing it the next day gives softened leaves without loosing nutrients to a hot water bath. Let’s hear it for the brassica family!

    1. Oh I love the brassica family. I’ve heard of the shredding and freezing method, but I’ve never tried it myself before. I’m sure its wonderful either way!!

    1. I try to make sure it is as dry as it can be, which isn’t very dry! I let it drip in the sink, then I squeeze out as much excess as I can get out.

  2. I preserve everything I have an abundance of. I usually shred cabbage for use in soups, but I’m going to try your way this year. Thanks for the info.

    1. It isn’t crisp, so I wouldn’t use it for coleslaw or something like that. It is perfect for soups or corned beef and cabbage.

      1. Thanks for that info. Slaw is all I usually do with cabbage. I waste so much of it. Would love to know how to freeze it for slaw if that could happen.

  3. To get all the air out of a freezer bag insert a straw on the side, close the bag to the straw and suck all the air out. Works just as good as a food saver!

  4. To get the most air out , fill sink with water ,close bag except for the end you will have your finger in ,submerge the bag in water holding the end out . Get as much air out as you can ,close bag . Dry bag and freeze.

  5. I have tried freezing cabbage using the method above with poor results, it is very mushy and don’t taste very good. Any idea what I could have done wrong?? maybe didn’t dry enough. also, should I cook from the frozen or thaw first?
    Look forward to your help

    1. If it was mushy, I bet you didn’t get all of the water out of it. Typically, I don’t unthaw it when I cook with it. With the right knife, I can cut through and chop it, tossing it in the soups or whatever I’m making. If you try it again, try to get more water out. It can be tricky. You can let them dry on a towel if needed.

      1. I have found that food items dry much better if after you’ve drained off a lot of the water (I just arrange stuff on the top rack of my dishwasher to drip), I put them on a puppy training pad which I buy at Costco. They are inexpensive and work great for a lot of things – like under packages of meat either fresh from the shop or thawing from the freezer. Those styrofoam trays allow blood to seep through making an unholy mess in a fridge.

  6. I really need to know how long to leave the cabbage in ice water and also how long to flash freeze. I have canned many veggies and frozen a lot but never cabbage!

    1. I left them in the water for 5-10 minutes until they were chilled. It does take time to squeeze all of the water out. Flash freezing is usually 1-3 hours, depends on how long it takes to get frozen in your freezer.

  7. This the first year I have been able to work outside in 3 yrs! Having my planter box raised bed tomatoes, cucumber, & Banana peppers. But we have farmer friends that bring us tons of cabbage, squash, carrots,celery, & onions. Love all the ideas!

  8. I will try this tonight!
    I grew cabbage for the first time. Well, I planted six heads and got 7? I had one double headed plant. Thanks for the ideas.

  9. What a great idea thanks for the info can’t wait to try it out. Have you tried to make Cole slaw from the frozen cabbage?

    1. Yes! It’s one of the things that I like with frozen cabbage. I add shredded carrots for that crunchy bite, but it tastes great.

  10. I only use cabbage once in a while for slaw or steaming, but instead of cutting through the whole head to get only what I need at the time, I carefully cut a few leaves at their base where they’re attached to the stalk to get the amount I need, then I pull those detached whole leaves from the head. I then shred or chop them up as necessary for my dish. I wrap the remainder of the head in plastic wrap as snugly as possible and return to the frig. This method eliminates the black surface that often develops later after slicing a large chunk from a fresh head. There may be a tiny blackening where the vegetable was cut into, but most of the rest of the head will remain in good shape for later use. Cooking for one requires some different tactics. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *