The Game-Changing Cabbage Tip That Shocked Rachael Ray

A daytime television staple, Rachael Ray has been cooking onscreen and teaching home cooks how to make her favorite dishes for almost two decades now. To ring in the newest episodes of the "Rachael Ray Show," Ray celebrated a major first in Season 17: giving fans a tour of her house in Tuscany, Italy.

But whether Ray is cooking at her NYC studio, upstate New York home, or Italian villa, her culinary philosophy remains the same: She's all about making cooking easier when possible. One dish that is worth the effort but can still be particularly painstaking to prepare is stuffed cabbage. According to The Spruce Eats, there are several ways to separate the cabbage leaves from the head. The tried-and-true method involves a repetitive process of blanching the head of cabbage in a large pot, peeling the outermost layers, and repeating until the head is gone. Thankfully, Ray recently learned of an easier, game-changing alternative to blanching cabbage.

Freeze and defrost the cabbage instead of boiling it

Making a cabbage roll recipe is a labor of love. Repeatedly dunking the head in boiling water, individually peeling each leaf, and then letting them dry on a towel is a tedious task and requires a decent amount of dishwashing. However, Ray recently divulged a far easier method on her show. A traditional Polish technique, she said, is to freeze the whole cabbage, defrost it, and trim the veins to free up the separate leaves. The process takes two days, including freezing and defrosting time. While that might require some advance planning, it's a far less intensive process. 

The science behind the method checks out: Just as boiling a vegetable softens it, the freezing and defrosting process also causes veggies to become more tender, per the University of Minnesota. While the cabbage is in the freezer, the water in the vegetable freezes and expands, "and the ice crystals cause the cell walls to rupture" and soften. Thanks to Ray's tip for cutting down on kitchen time, that's one less pot and bowl you'll have to wash the next time you make cabbage rolls.