The slightly sour and pervasive odor of boiled or cooked cabbage can invade every nook and cranny in your kitchen. Fortunately, you can still make your favorite cabbage dishes because you can combat the smell as you cook or after the meal is done. Getting rid of the persistent smell requires a combination of ventilation and odor absorption. If the smell doesn't fade quickly, you may need to cover it up with a more pleasant aroma until the reek of the cabbage dissipates completely.
Ventilate and Absorb
Open windows and turn on fans to provide ventilation and help lessen the cabbage odor. Opening windows on opposite sides of the kitchen or house provides cross ventilation so the odor can dissipate more quickly.
Fill small bowls half-full with vinegar. Place a bowl in each section of the kitchen, such as on top the stove, near the sink and on the end of the counter. The vinegar absorbs excess odor as the room ventilates.
Close the windows when the odor becomes less noticeable. Leave the vinegar in place until the odor is completely gone, usually overnight.
Cover It Up
Fill a saucepan half full with water. Avoid over filling so the pot doesn't boil over.
Add two or three cinnamon sticks and up to 10 whole cloves to the water. You can add other aromatic items, such as citrus peels or fragrant spices, if desired.
Bring the water to a slow simmer over medium heat, and then lower the heat to medium-low so the water continues to simmer without boiling. As the water simmers, it releases the fragrance of the spices which helps mask the cabbage odor. Do not leave the pot unattended.
Check the pot every 15 minutes and add more water as necessary so it doesn't simmer dry. Turn off the heat and discard the spices after the cabbage odor is gone.
To prevent bad odors when cooking cabbage, add a couple of lemon slices or a stalk of celery in the pot with the cabbage.