The Easiest Way To Separate Cabbage Leaves

It can take a lot of effort to remove the leaves from a head of cabbage when you're cooking with it. Cabbage leaves have lots of uses, even the tougher, outer ones. Options abound, including cabbage rolls, garnishes, salads, and much more. Always be certain to wash clean the cabbage before anything else, though (via Kitchen Ambition).

Traditionally, when you need to separate the leaves from the cabbage head, blanching is the solution. This entails finding a pot of big enough size to fit the cabbage, filling it up with the right level of salted water, stabbing the head's core so that you can repeatedly put it in and take it out of the boil, and removing the leaves in between the cabbage's numerous warm baths. This is a lot of work. You might even want to use an ice bath to cool it down each time you remove it, but that's yet another step.

Thankfully, per The Spruce Eats, there's an easier and safer method of doing this. Avoid burning yourself and take a much cooler approach by using your ice-cold freezer. Just core the head and put the cabbage in a sealed plastic bag, then leave it inside the freezer for a couple hours. Once it's thoroughly frozen, take it out, defrost the head, and you can pull all the leaves off in a single go. While there is a waiting game, this method is indeed easier... but is it really the easiest way to separate cabbage leaves?

Microwave cabbage leaves off

Nope! That honor goes to the microwave (via The Spruce Eats). You could use the microwave oven's defrosting capabilities to make that easy freezer technique quicker and even easier, but there's still a far simpler trick to use with this appliance.

Put the cabbage core-down on the microwave turntable with a half-cup of water, then place something over both (like a splatter cover), and nuke them for 10 minutes with your high-temperature setting. When the timer beeps, flip the head upside down and go again. The result is a miniature steam room that makes your cabbage leaves nice and relaxed, ready to fall to the floor. Obviously, the head will be hot after several minutes in the microwave, so find a proper utensil to stab or grab it with. Be careful to let it cool down to a proper temperature before touching it. You don't want the leaves to scorch your fingers. If you find any stragglers stubbornly hanging on, feel free to toss the cabbage head back in the microwave for a little bit longer.

There you have it: the easiest way to separate cabbage leaves from the head! Alternatively, per Baking Kneads, you could cut out the core and slowly peel leaves as you run the cabbage under water. That could prove even harder than blanching, so we recommend only doing that if you need perfect, undamaged leaves. Otherwise, nuke it, steam it, and peel it, then you're good to go!