- Author: Jennifer Codron, UC Master Food Preserver
- Editor: Shannon A Klisch, Academic Coordinator II
- Editor: Maria E Murietta, Master Food Preserver Program Coordinator
- Editor: Jennifer Hopkins
With the weather warming up, I am beginning to think of summer potlucks and picnics with friends and family. Even in summer life is busy, so when I saw the social media post from the UCCE Master Food Preservers of El Dorado County on making coleslaw ahead of time and freezing it, I thought I would give it a try. Freezing cabbage isn't something we typically recommend, so I was curious to see how it would taste out of the freezer.
I was able to get some fresh heads of cabbage from my local farmers market as well as some beautiful orange carrots.
First, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and make sure your cooking area is clean. Then gather all the ingredients for the recipe.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and rinse all vegetables (except for the onion) under cool, running water. Next, start shredding! I find that my mandolin comes in handy for this type of recipe and I use the largest shredding setting. I did not have a green bell pepper so I added some mild jalapeños for flavor and a bit of a kick.
Sprinkle on the salt, stir well to combine, and let stand for an hour.
Tip: I waited until the cabbage mixture sat for an hour before I started the syrup, but next time I will start making the liquid right away as it needs to cool before adding it to the shredded mixture.
The recipe calls for dry mustard, which I did not have. Instead, I ground mustard seed which gave me the dry mustard! I use a coffee grinder dedicated to only spices for this purpose.
To make the syrup, heat the vinegar, water, dill, dry mustard and sugar in a heavy pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil for three minutes and stir to incorporate sugar and to make sure it is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
After letting the cabbage mixture sit for one hour, the recipe says to drain off the liquid. I found that I did not have any liquid at the bottom of the bowl, so I proceeded with ladling the syrup over the cabbage mixture and stirring until thoroughly incorporated.
Scoop the coleslaw into freezer safe jars or containers. I used a variety of sizes of glass canning jars safe for the freezer so I would be prepared for a dinner for two or a side dish for a picnic. You could also use freezer bags or other food and freezer safe containers that are moisture-vapor resistant. Be sure to label your containers with the recipe name and date. Some foods are difficult to recognize once frozen.
When freezing foods, it's important to remove as much air from the packaging as possible while allowing enough room for the food to expand. This recipe calls for ½ inch headspace, which means there should be ½ inch of space between the top of the jar and the top of the food. You can use a clean ruler to measure headspace.
So my burning question was how does it taste once out of the freezer? After freezing it overnight, I thawed it in the refrigerator and sampled it for dinner.
The results? It was surprisingly crunchy after being in the freezer! The coleslaw is quite sweet. I added a little hot sauce to make it sweet and spicy, which would make it a perfect accompaniment on a hot dog,bratwurst, polish sausage or even in a burrito or on tacos. The texture is similar to sauerkraut after 1 day in the freezer. Foods will start to lose quality after prolonged periods in the freezer so it is recommended to eat frozen foods within one year for best quality. This coleslaw will be a great little topping to keep on hand this summer!
Here's a link to the recipe: https://ucanr.edu/sites/mfp_of_cs/files/367352.pdf