Shredding Cabbage The Easy Way

shred-cabbage-1Stop wasting money on pre-shredded bags, but don’t stop preparing your favorite salads, slaws, soups, krauts and stir fries. Shredded cabbage is a vital and tasty ingredient when making these and other dishes, and many of us opt for expensive bags at the store instead of preparing it ourselves. Taking the time to do it at home will not only save you money, it will also improve any dish you prepare thanks to the fresh flavor and improved texture. You can always use a knife, and do it by hand, but the results won’t be perfect, and it may take you a long time depending on your skill level. If you want to avoid wasting time, but also savor the delicious flavor that fresh ingredients provide, continue reading to discover a fast and easy way to shred your own cabbage.

Traditional methods only require you to have a knife and a cutting board on hand, and most people do. This can be a fun way to prep if you have time, but if you need to speed things up, a high quality mandolin slicer can make this job simple to accomplish, and it will take seconds instead of minutes to shred a whole pile of cabbage. You can get long strips or short, and you can vary the width to get the exact thickness you desire. As you slice, each piece will be uniform in width, so it will cook more evenly, and the texture will be consistent across the entire dish. When shredding on the spot instead of dumping out a package, you will save money and time, but you will also enjoy more flavorful dishes thanks to the fresh ingredients.

The first set of instructions below will walk you through the steps required to break down a cabbage by hand. This will be a traditional technique, and it does require moderate skill to get good results. If you like to chop stuff by hand, then get out your cutting board and a big sharp knife, then continue reading to learn how to shred any red, green, savoy or napa cabbage like a knife wielding pro. If you would prefer to use a faster method that requires no skill, or if you’d just like to know another way to accomplish this task, continue reading to discover a simply good way to prep your cabbage. You can achieve similar results with either method, but there’s no way you can use a regular knife at the same speed as a mandoline, and the shreds will never be as uniform in comparison.

The Traditional Way To Shred Cabbage

Stuff You’ll Need:

  • (1) Head of Cabbage
  • (1) Chef’s Knife (large)
  • (1) Cutting Board

How To Do It

  1. First, begin by washing the head thoroughly, and then remove any yucky leaves. Use cold water, and then gently pat dry after washing.
  2. After washing, you will want to quarter the cabbage to make it more manageable, and to remove the core.
  3. Place vertically on your cutting board with the core side down. Cut straight down to divide in half.
  4. Once you have to halves, cut again vertically to give yourself four wedges to work with.
  5. Take each wedge, and place so that the core is facing down. Using your knife, cut at an angle to remove the core from each wedge.
  6. Once you have four pieces that no longer have cores, you can proceed to shred.
  7. Carefully slice along the vertical edge to slice into long shreds, or slice in the other direction to make shorter shreds. Continue chopping until the entire wedge is reduced making sure to keep a uniform width with each slice.
  8. Continue to finish the other three pieces.

The Easy Way To Shred Cabbage

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Stuff You’ll Need

  • (1) Borner Mandoline Slicer
  • (1) Knife
  • (1) Bowl or Cutting Board for Collection

How To Do It

Depending on cabbage size and type, you may NOT want to core it first, but as far as recommendations go, we always suggest that you do. In the pictures, you’ll notice that we did not. The reason was two-fold in this case, but the circumstances were pretty unique, so most of you will probably want to remove the core on your head. Ours was a small, homegrown head with very little core. We wanted to maximize yield in order to satisfy our recipe, so we chose to skip the removal step until the last little bit was left. We also had trouble finding our safety food holder that day, so the stumpy core at the end made a nice handle to guide the head while keeping our fingers safe.

You’ll also notice in the pictures that we used the slicer with a julienne insert in place. This is optional, and it will result in shorter shreds. We were making coleslaw, and we wanted shorter shreds, so we had the 7mm julienne blade in place while cutting. If you remove the insert and rely only on the v-shaped blade, you will get long pieces instead of short ones.
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  1. To begin, wash your cabbage in cold water, then dry. Remove any wilted leaves or damaged parts from the exterior.
  2. Place onto your cutting board, and cut in half vertically. Cut again to end up with four equal wedges.
  3. Take each wedge, and cut diagonally across the front to remove the core.
  4. Select one quarter, and pierce with your safety food holder to secure it in place.
  5. Set up your mandoline by selecting the thickness of your shred.
  6. Insert a julienne blade if you want short shreds, leave out if you want longer ones.
  7. Secure slicer to bowl, or place over cutting board to collect.
  8. Take your cabbage wedge in your food holder, and glide down the face of the slicer.
  9. Continue with an up and down motion until every piece is shredded. Use the plunger at the top to reveal more food as needed.
  10. Repeat with other three wedges until shredding is complete.
  11. The shred thickness you need will depend on what you are making. Most soups call for a thick shred (1/4″ to 1/2″) while krauts and slaws usually have finer pieces that are closer to 1/8″.

With this method, each shred will be just as thick as the next, and you can easily power through the whole head in a matter of minutes. The sharp blade allows you to glide effortlessly as you cut, and the food holder keeps fingers safe while allowing you to cut every last bit. You can easily adjust thickness and length, and you are guaranteed professional looking results no matter what your skill level is. Although you will have to core it by hand, the blazing speed at which you can finish the rest of the job will certainly make up for the initial effort required. Once your cabbage is shredded, it’s best to use it right away, but you can certainly store for a few days if needed, just make sure to seal in an airtight container or bag.
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Why Shred It By Hand?

  • Buying a head is cheap. Why pay 4 or more dollars for one little bag when you could procure a whole head at like 60 cents a pound? Start breaking down that single head , and you’ll quickly realize that you can make way more than a bag full at a fraction of the price.
  • Bagged Produce Is Pretty Awful. Nothing like a flavorless bag full of mushy shreds to make you want to slice up your own crispy batch from a fresh head. Pre-bagged stuff is far from fresh, and it is often flavorless, limp and light in comparison.
  • Food Processors Are Too Hard Core. You don’t need a fancy machine to do this job, and if you use one, it may just pulverize your veg into something you don’t want to eat. You certainly won’t get long pieces with perfect thickness, and you may get a pile of mush you can’t even work with. The waste is pretty high with these machines too, and clean up can be a real pain. Why spend more time cleaning your tool than it takes you to do the job in the first place?

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