Shredded cabbage is an excellent vegetable choice. Inexpensive, nutrient-dense, and incredibly versatile, this vegetable is delicious in various dishes, including coleslaw, stir-fry, sauerkraut, and many more. However, appropriate storage is essential to prevent it from going to waste.
Freshly shredded cabbage generally lasts for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. Use frozen cabbage within 4 to 8 weeks. Proper storage, along with preparation methods such as pickling, freezing, dehydrating, and brining will extend the life of shredded cabbage for a longer period.
Note: the numbers in this article are just a guide, so also use your own judgment to avoid getting ill – when in doubt, throw it out!
Are you sitting with more shredded cabbage than you bargained for? Perhaps you are wondering how to save the cabbage from going to waste if you bought it in bulk? Do you know how long shredded cabbage lasts? Or how to store the cabbage to extend its shelf life?
Find out how to make the most of your shredded cabbage – how long it lasts before spoiling, and six ways to make it last even longer!
How Long Does Shredded Cabbage Last?
As a result of its lower water content, cabbage usually lasts longer than other leafy vegetables. Since bacteria require water to thrive, cabbage will not fall prey to degradation as easily.
Unfortunately, once the cabbage has been sliced, enzymes are released that cause it to brown and oxidize (deteriorate when exposed to oxygen). The shelf life will be significantly reduced as a result.
Types of cabbage:
1. Store-bought shredded cabbage
As you cannot determine exactly when the cabbage was sliced, take notice of the expiry or best before date listed on the packaging. There is a chance that fresh produce may spoil before or only after the expiration date – be sure to check frequently!
2. Freshly shredded cabbage
Place freshly shredded cabbage in a sealed bag or airtight container. Store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for 3-5 days. Occasionally check for any discoloration or shriveling.
3. Cooked shredded cabbage
Once the cooked cabbage has cooled completely, store it in a sealable bag or airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 3-5 days.
4. Frozen shredded cabbage
Quick-freeze raw shredded cabbage on a baking tray. Once frozen, arrange cabbage in single layers in a freezer bag or tight container. Freeze and use within 4 to 8 weeks.
If you are making coleslaw, then check out my post on making coleslaw in advance.
How To Tell If Shredded Cabbage Is Spoiled?
All good things have an end – there will be the odd occasion where you will need to throw out your shredded cabbage.
Use Your Senses
Inspect the cabbage thoroughly and discard if you notice:
- Smell: pungent, rotten odor, similar to ammonia or rotten eggs.
- Look: shriveled and watery with discoloration (usually yellow, brown, grey, or black). Fuzzy mildew, mold, or fungus.
- Feel: wet, mushy, and slimy.
- Taste – this should be your last option: sour, bitter or sharper than usual. Unpalatable flavor and texture.
So how do you keep shredded cabbage fresh?
6 Ways To Make Shredded Cabbage Last Longer
These tried and tested steps will extend the shelf life of your shredded cabbage even further:
1. Use The Right Tools To Shred Cabbage
Sharp utensils matter. Blunt or dull blades will crush and tear the cabbage, causing it to wilt and brown more rapidly.
First and foremost, always use a sharp knife, grater, or peeler to cut and shred the cabbage. A sharp blade makes a clean and precise cut, allowing the cabbage to maintain structural integrity, texture, and flavor.
2. Store Cabbage In Perforated Containers With Paper Towels
A paper towel and a little airflow can work wonders. Layer your shredded cabbage between paper towels and place it in a perforated plastic bag or container before refrigerating. The paper towels will absorb excess moisture and keep the cabbage fresh and crisp.
Cabbage emits ethylene gas, which causes produce to ripen and spoil faster. Perforations in the container will promote airflow and allow the ethylene gas to escape.
3. Soak Cabbage In Lemon Juice And Water
The perfect environment for longer-lasting shredded cabbage: Acidity + Cold temperatures + Zero Oxygen
An easy and convenient way to achieve this is to soak the cabbage in cold lemon water.
- Lemon juice will improve the quality and shelf life of cut produce. The acidity will inhibit the growth of bacteria, and the vitamin C present in the juice prevents spoilage and rotting.
- Cold water will prolong freshness and maintain a crisp and crunchy texture.
- Airtight container will prevent oxidation (oxygen from entering)
Follow these 6 basic steps:
- Squeeze the juice of 2 to 3 lemons into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the shredded cabbage to the bowl and cover with cold water.
- Stir the cabbage gently so that each piece comes into contact with the lemon water.
- Cover the bowl tightly with cling wrap or an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
- When ready to use, remove the appropriate amount of cabbage and drain.
- Cook or consume raw.
4. Blanch Cabbage Before Freezing
A great extra step to extend the storage life. Blanching is a popular food preservation method with many benefits:
- Preserve the texture, flavor and color of the cabbage before it is frozen
- Remove dirt and bacteria that may be present on the cabbage
- Reduce the loss of beneficial nutrients
- Extend the shelf life of produce even further
Raw cabbage will last between 4 to 8 weeks in the freezer. Blanching the cabbage before freezing will prolong its shelf life enormously, allowing it to last for 9 to 14 months.
How To Blanch And Freeze Shredded Cabbage:
- Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Switch off the stove and submerge the cabbage for 90 seconds.
- Remove the cabbage and refresh in the ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain cabbage in a colander and dry thoroughly with a salad spinner or kitchen towel.
- Place the cabbage on a baking tray in a single layer. Flash freeze for 12 hours.
- Transfer the frozen cabbage into an airtight container or freezer bag – remove as much air as possible before sealing.
- Store in the freezer for 9 to 14 months.
- To thaw cabbage, place desired amount in the fridge overnight.
5. Dehydrate Shredded Cabbage
One of the oldest methods of food preservation. Cabbage is one of the most ideal vegetables to dehydrate. The process requires minimal effort and the results are outstanding. If dehydrated and stored correctly, cabbage will last for a whopping 8-10 years!
The low heat and steady airflow will remove excess moisture from the cabbage through evaporation. The lack of water content will prevent fungus, bacteria, and mold that cause vegetables to spoil.
How To Dehydrate Cabbage Using A Food Dehydrator
- Arrange the shredded cabbage on your dehydrator trays. Try to avoid any overlapping.
- Turn on the dehydrator and set the temperature between 125° and 135°F (50C).
- Dehydrate the cabbage for 8-11 hours, until completely dry and brittle to the touch.
- Rotate the trays regularly to ensure even drying.
- Allow the dehydrated cabbage to stand at room temperature overnight.
- Transfer the cabbage to mason jars or vacuum-sealed bags.
- The best place to store dehydrated cabbage is in the refrigerator, where the temperature is cool and consistent.
- When ready to use, simply add cabbage to soup, stir-fry, or stew and simmer until the dish is fully cooked.
6. Pickle Or Ferment The Cabbage
An incredibly tasty and nutritious way to preserve your shredded cabbage. Pickling is another ancient food preservation method. To prevent food spoilage, it typically involves soaking the cabbage in a salt, or salt and vinegar solution (brine) over several days or longer. Extra ingredients such as herbs and spices are added to enhance the flavor.
The brine activates the fermentation process, which encourages the growth of ‘good’ bacteria (probiotics) and converts the sugars in the cabbage into lactic acid. The beneficial bacteria and lactic acid (a natural preservative) will inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and prevent decay.
The most popular types of fermented cabbage are sauerkraut and kimchi.
How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Optional flavoring: carraway seeds, celery seeds, black pepper, fennel seeds or coriander
- Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix well.
- Massage the cabbage with clean hands or a potato masher for 10 minutes. You should notice a liquid (brine) emerging.
- Set aside and allow the cabbage to ‘sweat’ for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Add optional spices and mix gently.
- Transfer cabbage and brine to a clean glass jar. Press the cabbage to ensure it is tightly packed at the bottom of the jar, making sure the liquid covers the cabbage.
- Seal the lid tightly and leave the cabbage to ferment in a warm spot in the house for at least 2 weeks. Open the jar every day to allow excess air to escape.
- If the brine starts to evaporate, mix a pinch of salt in purified water and add to the jar.
- Once fermentation is complete, store the now edible sauerkraut tightly sealed in the refrigerator for 2-4 months. The flavor will continue to develop over time.
Can I Freeze Fresh Shredded Cabbage?
You are able to freeze fresh shredded cabbage to store it longer. Raw cabbage will last between 4 to 8 weeks in the freezer. Blanching the cabbage before freezing will prolong its shelf life enormously, allowing it to last for 9 to 14 months.
It can be easier to initially freezer the cabbage on a flat tray until firm and then move to a freezer bag for longer-term storage.
Does Shredded Cabbage Last Longer In The Fridge?
Shredded cabbage will last longer in the fridge because the lower temperatures slow bacteria growth. Room temperature is warmer and fluctuates so will spoil the cabbage faster.
Simply put – refrigerate your vegetables once they have been prepared if you are not using them straight away. They will last longer.
It is well worth buying and preserving cabbage in bulk because it is versatile, affordable, and nutritious. With the correct storage and preservation methods, you can avoid food wastage and tedious trips to the grocery store. And remember: when in doubt, throw it out!