When you think of dehydrating vegetables of any kind, learning to dehydrate cabbage is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. It sure wasn’t for me. As an outdoor guide who provides meals to my clients, I need to plan and prepare a wide variety of offerings, especially when I’m guiding a multi-day climbing, backpacking, or white water rafting trip. One of my main concerns is the weight of the food that I’m packing, along with the rest of the gear, so years ago I quickly learned the value of dehydrating certain foods. To this day, I enjoy having a variety of dried vegetables, berries and fruits on hand to cook with and eat, cabbage being one of my favorites.
Why Dehydrate Cabbage?
Cabbage is one of the unsung heroes of the vegetable world. Part of the dark leafy greens group, it’s rich in vitamins A, K and C, not to mention folate, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and certain trace minerals. A serving has only about 22 calories, while providing 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein.
Did you know that per serving size (one cup), cabbage provides over 50 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C our bodies should get – even more than oranges? Or that one serving of cabbage provides 85 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin K? I had no idea. I just know I love cabbage, especially in soups.
Types of Cabbages
I’ve never met a cabbage I didn’t like, and there are plenty to choose from when adding to your stores of dehydrated vegetables:
- Green – The one most familiar to Americans, especially if you like cole slaw, salads, stir fry or cabbage soup.
- Savoy – Considered the “prettiest” cabbage, it’s often used in salads, especially with baby greens.
- White – Also known as a Dutch cabbage, it’s very similar to the green cabbage in texture and density.
- Red – Great, thin sliced in salads or used in a red cabbage slaw.
- Napa (Chinese cabbage) – Used to make Korean Kimchi.
- Bok Choy – Looks a lot more like Swiss chard. A favorite in stir frys. I like the leafy part in my salads.
- Brussels Sprouts – Looks like a “mini” green cabbage. I’ve called them hamster cabbages since I was a kid; my personal favorite, especially roasted!
As you can see, there is a great variety to choose from when deciding which cabbage to dehydrate.
Prepping this great vegetable for dehydrating is fairly simple:
- Remove the outer leaves from each head of cabbage.
- Stem and core the larger cabbage varieties. Those parts don’t dehydrate or reconstitute that well.
- Clean and wash, then let stand or pat dry.
- Cut or process the head into quarters, and then into thin strips approximately 1/8” wide. Length can vary with no problem.
- Remember, there is no need to blanch the cabbage prior to dehydrating.
- Arrange the the slices onto your dehydrator trays. They can nestle close together, even overlap just a touch.
- Turn on your dehydrator to the recommended temperature. Usually between 125 degrees and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dry between 8 – 11 hours depending on the thickness of the cabbage leaves. Don’t forget to rotate your dehydrator trays for even drying.
- After your cabbage pieces are fully dry, I suggest letting the cabbage stand at room temp for a night before packaging them for storage.
Storing dehydrated cabbage
There are a wide variety of choices as far as storage containers. For me, it depends on what my goals are. If it is long term storage, then I use everything from canning jars to mylar bags. I make sure to add some type of oxygen absorbers in each container. I don’t suggest using plastic containers of any kind. I have had leakage problems no matter how carefully I store and stack them.
If the dehydrated cabbage is for more immediate consumption, such as on an outdoor adventure of some kind like backpacking, biking, rafting or kayaking, then zip-loc bags will work just fine.
There are so many great ways to include and use dehydrated vegetables, including cabbage, in your meal planning and cooking. It rehydrates quickly, and if your recipe contains plenty of moisture already, there’s no need to rehydrate before adding to your dish. Whether you are crafting a casserole, or simmering a stew or soup, consider adding some flavor, texture, color and nutrition to your next dish by adding some dehydrated cabbage!