Cabbage is a leafy green vegetable that is a popular component in soups, stews, casseroles and salads. Cabbage varieties are categorized primarily by shape and season, though in some parts of country they can be grown year-round. A single head of cabbage can weigh anywhere from 1 to 8 lbs. and showcases tightly compacted leaves, which are crisp but tender. To help your cabbage maintain optimal flavor, it is important to use proper home storage methods once the cabbage has been purchased. Correct storage slows the metabolic processes that cause the plant cells to deteriorate, preserving the quality, texture and flavor.
Choose a quality head of cabbage. Look for compact leaves and uniform color. Visually inspect the bottom of the cabbage prior to picking, looking for signs of the outer leaves pulling away from the stem. This is a sign of a head that has passed its prime.
Remove any wilted outer leaves from the cabbage head. Use a paring knife to remove the core from the base of the cabbage. Rinse the entire head with cold water and set it in a colander to drain.
Place the rinsed and drained cabbage inside a zippered storage bag or wrap the head in plastic cling wrap, pulling the cling film tightly around the leaves to restrict air flow. The lack of available oxygen will help to delay cellular respiration, slowing the progression of spoilage. Additionally, plastic provides a moisture-proof barrier, helping to keep the cabbage from drying out and wilting. Retaining their moisture will help the cabbage leaves to stay crisp and fresh tasting.
Transfer the wrapped head of cabbage to the refrigerator. For the best results, be sure the temperature of the refrigerator is 55 degrees Fahrenheit or lower as this will help to retard cellular function and inhibit the aging process.
Keep cabbage wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for up to two weeks before using. Once the cabbage has been cut or chopped, try to use it within 48 hours; the vitamin C content rapidly declines once the leaves have been scored or damaged in any way.