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Freezing Stuffed Cabbage

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I am hoping to make a big batch of galumpki (sp?) this weekend. I want to portion some out to give away to friends. And I want to freeze a bunch for a party we are hosting next month.

Probably a stupid question...do I Cook First, Then Freeze? Or do I Freeze First, Then Cook before serving?

I plan on freezing the head of cabbage overnight to soften the leaves. Haven't tried this before. Then a mixture of onions sauted in butter, partially cooked rice, meatloaf mixture, little salt, pepper, paprika, and marjoram.

Any other hints welcome.

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  1. There were some posts about this specifically freezing the head of cabbage to soften the leaves to peel off. As I recall, that didn't work so well for some folks.
    Here's just the general search:
    http://www.chow.com/search?query=free...
    Here's the thread on the leaves:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/821518

    1 Reply
    1. re: wyogal

      cook, then freeze in sauce.
      No need imo to freeze cabbage to soften, it doesn't work well and isn't necessary. Blanching works better.

    2. Just jumping in to say I like the freeze cabbage to soften leaves method. I've been happy with the cook and then freeze way of preservation.

      1. I have used the freeze-the-head method since it was recommended by Joan Nathan, who cooks a lot more cabbage rolls than I do. But I am not crazy about the texture of rice after it has been frozen, even when mixed with other ingredients. Like with cooked potatoes, thawing results in the rice weeping watery liquid while the grains themselves are tough and chewy. I would settle for that for regular meals but would not serve previously-frozen rice dishes to guests.

        4 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          That's interesting. I never freeze dishes that are primarily rice but have not noticed this problem in stuffed cabbage. Maybe it is because I don't use much rice in it, or maybe being so surrounded by the meat does not allow the weeping.

          1. re: greygarious

            greygarious, my experience is like magiesmom's. But one thing I make sure of with all cooked-then-frozen dishes is to thaw very slowly (i.e., in the fridge for 24-36 hours); it seems to minimize textural/osmosis problems in the reheating.

            1. re: ellabee

              true for me too, but it still doesn't save potatoes ( except the ones I grate into meatloaf).

              1. re: ellabee

                Now that you mention it, I think you're right. The texture is worst when nuked from frozen, better when thawed before nuking.

            2. Cut a little V in the rib at the base of the cabbage leaf so you can roll it more easily. No need to freeze the cabbage, in fact I never heard of that practice. Roll your filling in raw leaves tucking the sides in as you go, like an eggroll. Place the rolls seam side down in a baking dish.Cover them with sauce. Bake covered until done (about an hour). Freeze them just this way, covered in sauce. You may have your own sauce but I used canned tomato sauce with a little vinegar and brown sugar to make it slightly sweet-and-sour.