How to keep fresh cabbage until spring?
As you know, cabbage, whether it is white or red cabbage, is that vegetable that is laid in storage in the fall and is used later on for most of the cold winter period. But not everyone can save a cabbage crop for a long time. Why this happens and what options for storing cabbage are considered the most successful for preserving the harvest, we will talk today.
- Storage conditions for cabbage
- What else determines the shelf life of cabbage?
- When to store cabbage for storage?
- Sorting cabbage is an important process
- Methods for storing cabbage
- Protection of cabbage from diseases during storage
- Chalk or lime - helpers in storing cabbage
Storage conditions for cabbage
First, let's talk about temperature and humidity - their non-observance leads to a sad result. So, cabbage should be stored at a temperature of about zero degrees, a deviation of only a couple of degrees in one direction or another is allowed. At the same time, indoor air humidity can vary, but within strictly defined limits - from 85 to 95% (preferably no more and no less).
Naturally, such conditions can be created in specially designated places for storage, for example, in a cellar, in the underground floor of a house, or on a balcony. If the temperature is high - positive, for example, above five degrees of heat, then the cabbage can start to grow, naturally, while they become more sluggish, less juicy, lose their attractiveness and most of the taste.
What else determines the shelf life of cabbage?
Not only the conditions under which cabbage is stored, the duration of its storage depends. The durability of the head in proper form is significantly influenced by varietal characteristics of cabbage.
For example, early ripening cabbage varieties will not be stored for long even under ideal conditions, but from varieties ripening in the medium term, and even more so from late ripening, one can quite expect long-term preservation (high keeping quality).
From varieties of cabbage, medium maturing, you can distinguish such cultivars as Blizzard - this variety can lie for more than seven months; Gift - usually lies more than six months.
Slightly shorter, but still longer periods of conservation can be safely expected from the familiar cabbage cultivars - Slava, Rusinovka, Stolichnaya, Urozhaynaya, Belorusskaya, Final, Golden hectare, as well as Kharkov winter. You should not write off the fashionable F1 hybrids belonging to the same group of cultivars - Megaton, Krymon, Hermes, Menza, Kolobok, Rinda, as well as Hannibal.
Cabbage cultivars, late ripening, sometimes they "lie" up to a year, in particular they are stored for a long time: Snow White - for more than six months, Amager - usually up to ten months and Stone Head - which can lie for a year or more.
Varieties of cabbage, which can also be safely planted on the site, if you plan to store them for a long period of time, are Turquoise plus, Biryuchekutskaya, Zimovka, Kamenka, Morozko, Moscow Late, Sugarloaf. Also pay attention to F1 hybrids: Bartolo, Atria, Aros and Extra.
But not only storage conditions and varieties can affect the keeping quality of red and white cabbage, but also the growing conditions exert their influence on this process.
For example, heads of cabbage, which are collected from plants grown on medium, light or loamy soil, usually lie longer than cabbage from sandy soil.
In the event that you literally poured cabbage, it grew on moist soil or it rained all season, you should also not expect long-term storage from heads of cabbage, they will most likely, after a couple of weeks, become loose and begin to crack.
In fertilizers, you always need to observe the norm: both an excess of fertilizers and their lack will necessarily adversely affect the duration of storage of cabbage.
For example, if the soil is literally saturated with nitrogen fertilizers, then most likely it will grow large and attractive, but such forks will not be stored. Why? Because in the tissues of her makeshift leaf blades, the amount of dry matter will be reduced by several times, and this will cause the heads to become loose and begin to rot almost immediately after they are stored.
As for phosphate and potash fertilizers, their dosage can even be increased a little. An excess of these fertilizers (moderate, of course) is likely to have a positive effect on the storage of this vegetable, extending its shelf life.
When to store cabbage for storage?
The main thing is not to rush, but you should not delay it either. If you hurry, you will get wilted heads of cabbage, and if you pull with the timing of harvesting, the heads of cabbage will crack from excess moisture. It can be quite difficult to determine the ideal time for harvesting cabbages, but there is one important criterion: it is better to start harvesting cabbage when the temperature is low during the day, but still positive (about five degrees), and at night it can drop to zero with slightly light frost in a couple degrees.
Always cut into cabbage heads on a dry day and preferably sunny, using the sharpest knife for this, periodically grinding it.
Never cut the head out to the very “throat”, be sure to leave a three to four centimeter long stump (basal) and a couple of covering leaves that will protect against small injuries and save them from diseases too.
Sorting cabbage is an important process
Before laying for storage, be sure to sort out the cabbage. Those of them that are underdeveloped, unripe, cracked, are ill with something, badly damaged or frostbitten, no need to be stored. They must be sent for processing or put separately and be prepared for the fact that one after another they will have to be thrown away.
Before you start storing any cabbage that is healthy, whole, ripened, you must dry it for about a day by placing it on clean brown paper in a warm, dry and ventilated room. If this is not the case, then drying in the open air is acceptable, but always under a canopy and on a fine, sunny day.
Methods for storing cabbage
1. Storage of cabbage in limbo
This method of storing cabbage involves hanging cabbage by the stalk. It is important at the same time to observe storage conditions and hang out the heads of cabbage so that they do not touch each other. Then they will be blown with air, and the likelihood of rot and other diseases will be minimized.
The advantages of this method are that cabbage takes up minimal space: you can place a rail between the highest racks with nails pre-hammered and bent in the form of hooks and hang out heads on them using twine.
However, in this way you won’t save a large number of heads (this is about the minuses), and it is sometimes difficult to find cabbage with long stumps on the market. This method is more suitable for those who grow cabbage themselves and can leave long stalks even when the volume of cabbage is small.
Sometimes cabbage is suspended even with the root system, simply pulling the plant out of the soil or digging it with a pitchfork. It is important with this storage method not to remove the covering scales: they will protect the heads in case they touch each other from injuries and illnesses.
2. Storage of cabbage in clay
The method is very time-consuming, but its effectiveness can be safely put in the first place. A cabbage literally wrapped in clay (whether it’s white or red cabbage) does not rot, it does not dry out and remains fresh and juicy for months.
To build a clay shell, you need to make a clay talker. To do this, mix a couple of parts of clay with water, carefully adding it to the clay and trying to make a composition similar in texture to sour cream. With this mixture and cover the heads of cabbage, completely, without leaving free areas, dry and lay in storage.
Obvious advantages of this method - the duration of storage becomes maximum.
Cons - solid labor, it is necessary to have a lot of clay available, if there is a lot of cabbage too. This method is better for those who have a lot of clay, a little cabbage and it is used quite rarely.
3. Storage of cabbage in river sand
Both white and red cabbage are well stored in river sand. There are two storage options in the sand. In the first case, you need to trim the stumps, put the heads in a rather deep wooden box, trying to make the heads in as little as possible touch each other, and fill the heads with sand. Ideally, you need to fill up with sand each laid layer, but you can also all layers immediately - after laying.
In the second case, initially 10-12 cm thick river sand is poured into the box and the cabbage is literally screwed into it, always with a cob down. At the same time, the stumps must be 5-6 cm long (sometimes they are brought up to eight centimeters long).
4. Storage of cabbage in boxes
This method is simple and very popular, however, if you want cabbage to lie as long as possible, in addition to the necessary conditions described above, you also need a cellar. The rules are simple - heads of white or red cabbage are usually placed in a standard "apple" box in a pair of layers of five pieces (approximately) per layer. In this case, the optimal length of the cobs should be equal to three centimeters.
The very first layer should be located so that the stitches are directed upwards, and the stitches of the upper layer must be directed down. Thus, we do with our own hands create something like a design, thanks to which air moves freely, providing ventilation to the heads of cabbage.
Cons - you need a lot of free space for placing boxes with cabbages.
Obvious pluses - all heads out in plain sight, and if any of them suddenly began to deteriorate, it can be easily removed.
5. Storage of cabbage in stacks
This method is relevant for those who have large volumes of cabbage, and there is not enough catastrophic space to accommodate the harvest.
To build the most primitive stack, you need to lay the slats with a pyramid, leaving gaps between them equal to 8-10 centimeters. In this case, the stump should be cut off completely for each head of cabbage so that the head of cabbage is round, without protrusions and put the heads in a constructed pile so that there is a small space between the heads for air circulation.
The plus here is simplicity and the ability to observe how the crop is stored.
6. Storage of cabbage on the balcony
The method is suitable for those whose only free space is a balcony. However, if the balcony is not heated, then cabbage will require additional insulation. The simplest option is boxes, the walls of which are laid with foam. After laying the heads, you need to cover the boxes with something warm, you can use old, but not full-blown blankets for this.
It turns out a kind of thermal box, in which the heads of cabbage lie for a rather long time. If the balcony is heated, then it is necessary to open the vents and hang a thermometer and thus regulate the temperature in the room.
7. Storage of cabbage in the cellar
Next, we turn our eyes to those who have cellars; there must necessarily be shelves and shelves. So, you can store cabbage on them, and this is another way to store it.
The best option is to place the racks along the walls, then you can simply spread the cabbage on them, be sure to stitch up and leave a distance of at least a centimeter between them.
8. Storage of cabbage in paper
It is better to use brown paper, no newspapers or magazines with toxic paint. So, the cabbage after drying is simply wrapped in brown paper and placed in large baskets, boxes, boxes.
The paper is ideal for absorbing excess moisture. You just have to look at your “cache” from time to time, and if the paper at one or another head is wet, then replace it with a new, dry one.
9. Storage of cabbage in the refrigerator
If your apartment does not even have a balcony, then you need to put cabbage in a refrigerator, by the way, this is also a good way to store, however, a very small batch of cabbage.
To keep cabbage in the refrigerator for as long as possible, it must first be wrapped in cling film and then placed in a vegetable box (it is in modern refrigerators).
It is also allowed to simply wrap the cabbage with paper, but here it is better to use kraft paper or place it first in a plastic bag, but do not tie it tightly.
10. Storage of cabbage in trenches
This method is ideal for those who have a summer cottage, a large harvest is collected, but you won’t take it to the apartment, and you won’t save it at the cottage either (in the summer house itself, of course). It remains to dig a trench and literally dig a crop into it.
To dig a trench correctly, you need to choose the highest place of your site, dig a hole with a depth of 45-55 centimeters. In width, this pit should be equal to 50 cm, although it all depends on the volume of the crop you have grown, and these sizes can be different.
Be sure to lay the bottom of the trench with straw, then put cabbages in two rows, then again a layer of straw and so on to the top, which must first be covered with a wooden shield, knocked down like a simple wooden door, and then covered with a layer of earth two tens of centimeters thick.
This method has one plus - it is possible to preserve the crop without having any premises.
Of the minuses can be called laboriousness - not everyone has the strength to build it all, as well as the inability to monitor the state of cabbage. In addition, in winter you can’t actually use cabbage: it will pile in the snow, the ground will freeze, and it will be impossible to reach the heads of cabbage.
Protection of cabbage from diseases during storage
So, we have examined the most basic and most common ways of storing cabbage, now let's talk about the troubles that may arise during the storage of cabbage - about diseases during storage.
It’s probably not worth the extra time to remind you that the store, if possible, should be checked for compliance with the necessary storage conditions and for the presence of certain diseases in stored heads of cabbage at least once a week.
Having entered the storehouse, here is what you can see first of all: gray rot, if it makes itself felt, then a mold fluff will appear on the heads of the cabbage, and after only a couple of days the leaves will begin to rotten corny. First of all, those heads of cabbage from which the integumentary leaves are removed, and those that are damaged by frost or injured during harvesting are affected.
Naturally, it is possible that a perfectly healthy head of cabbage will suddenly become covered with gray rot, but usually this disease manifests itself on a fully developed and properly stacked head of cabbage only if storage conditions are violated.
It’s clear that the affected heads of cabbage, no matter how many there are, must be immediately removed from the store and carefully inspected remaining. Affected heads of cabbage do not have to be thrown away; you can remove all the lesions with gray rot, leaving only healthy tissue and use it for food. If you want to put them in storage again, then try to remove the lesion and sprinkle with chalk, the risk will be, but minimal.
The second disease is mild rot, a different bacteriosis. Usually occurs on damaged heads or cracked. In order for soft rot to stop developing, it’s enough to transfer the cabbage to a room with a temperature of 2-3 degrees above zero, usually this is enough.
Chalk or lime - helpers in storing cabbage
Indeed, dusting with ordinary household chalk or slaked lime gives its results, while cabbage is not bad stored.These simple substances are able to protect cabbages from various diseases, for example, rot.
You can place the cabbage powdered with chalk or lime anywhere - on shelves or in drawers, hang or build a pyramid from it: this is just an additional protection that prolongs freshness and taste.
That's all on the topic we stated, if you still know how to store cabbage, then describe them in the comments, I would also like to know about your personal experience of storing cabbage. Even if it is unsuccessful, they learn from mistakes.