Linda, You really found a good one ! Thanks for the heads up !
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My church makes a lot of stuffed cabbage in the fall (about 50 cabbages worth). For the past few years, we tried something new. We bought the heads, cored them, and froze them right away. When it came time to make the stuffed cabbage, we would thaw the cabbage, boil them and then make them. Well the leaves always were stringy and difficult to cut.
This year, we are going to boil the cabbage and separate the leaves, and then freeze them. How does this sound to everyone? Think it will be better? Thank you.
A post from the past.. Interesting.
First, freezing tends to dry out anything that has not been tightly wrapped and sealed to preserve the natural fluid content of the product. So, yes, wrap the head of cabbage in several layers of plastic wrap and then inside a zip lock bag. Don't core the cabbage as this will enhance the drying out process which is what you will be trying to avoid.
I have been making cabbage rolls for close to 50 years and have never even heard of freezing the head instead of parboiling the leaves. So, it goes to show that there is always something new under the sun.
My concern is that freezing does not kill any latent bacteria. If you are going to use this method instead of the hot bath to make the leaves pliable for rolling, you really need to wash them after you have taken them out of the freezer. Or, if just removing the leaves from the head is easier when the head has been frozen, I would still go ahead and plunge them into boiling water.
Not only does the hot water bath make the leaves more pliable, but it lessens the cooking time for the finished products, depending on your method of cooking. Some prefer to bake them, others to cook them in a Dutch oven. So, you will need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Hope this helps to answer some of the questions regarding this.. as I stated I have not frozen cabbage before making cabbage rolls, so I am speaking just from my general knowledge of how things work.
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I like to make stuffed cabbage but find the blanching of the cabbage leaves to add an extra difficulty, mostly because I tend to over-blanch and they tear. I was curious to see an episode of Julia & Jacques today in which they seemed to be saying that freezing a cored head of cabbage has the same effect as blanching the leaves separately.
this is the first time I froze the cabbage first it sure is a lot easier. However, I wonder if it lost its taste. The head of cabbage I bought weighed 14lbs so no one would have a pot big enough. having said this maybe the fact it was so huge was why it was tasteless.
They do need to be cooked a little longer. Not sure if you're making big meal-sized cabbage rolls or the smaller ones. Definitely freezing your cabbage first makes the wrapping job much easier, but whatever your recipe, it has to stand up to long cooking times, or yes, your cabbage will turn out rubbery because it's not cooked. Use lots of juice as well, as that helps cook the leaves. I go with tomato sauce and tomato juice. It always seems like a lot when you're adding it, but the final result is perfect. As well, when you're choosing your cabbage, get the youngest ones possible with the thinnest leaves. They're usually sold by weight, so you're better off with 2 young ones, than older ones with thick skin. I use a slow cooker and will cook them all day long, and always have amazing results. I suppose you just have to remember that by freezing a cabbage, you're just making it pliable and easy to work with, but it is still raw, unlike the 'boiling first' method. Hope this helps.
I cook mine at 425 for around 4 hrs with tomato soup. They are so tender don't need a knife....because on high temp i fill roaster 1/3 full with water and keep adding a bit of water while cooking...i keep checking and if water is going down i add more...i keep the roaster about 1/3 of water until the last 1/2..then add more tomato soup for last 1/2 hr. They're delicious. I can't buy them never taste as good
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