Pickled Cabbage – Sauerkraut

There seems to be a stigma about cabbage which I’ve never understood. Over cook it and all flavour and texture disappears, make soup with it and it stinks.

There are, of course, many other ways in which cabbage can be used. It serves as the base for coleslaw, it is great sauteed, can be eaten raw in salads, added to stir frys or, one of my favourites, pickled.

I first tasted pickled cabbage (sauerkraut) as a child, forgot about it for years, and then, on rediscovering it, set out to make it myself. I’ve since come to learn that fermented foods promote healthy bacteria in the gut, giving even more reason to reach for the pickled stuff.

I pickle both red and white cabbages and love them equally the same. The pickle I most recently made includes organic carrots, which are of course an optional ingredient.


Makes: 1 large jar

Half a cabbage

Optional: 5 carrots

about 300ml of Distilled or Apple Cider Vinegar

3 tbsp Spices (I use pimento, whole cumin and mustard seeds but whatever takes your fancy also works)

3 tbsp Sea salt


Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 week Ready In: 6 days

  • Finely shred the cabbage and other vegetables. If, like me, you have a mandolin (be careful with it!) this will be pretty simple
  • Place into a colander and rinse well
  • Sprinkle the shredded vegetables with the sea salt
  • Cover and colander and leave for at least 3 hours. Now science will take over.
  • As the sea salt will draw moisture from the vegetables, I recommend that you leave the colander either in the sink, or on a deep plate.
  • After a few hours have passed (or overnight), take handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze any excess moisture out.
  • Place the cabbage into a sterilised container – I use an old olive jar.
  • Add the spices and more salt if you want to, then cover with vinegar. It’s important that the cabbage is fully submerged in the vinegar – you can place a whole cabbage leaf over the mix to keep it pressed down if needed.
  • Seal the lid and store the jar away from sunlight. I place mine at the back of a cupboard where it stays for about a week. Science takes over again and the fermenting process begins.
  • Remove after about 7  -10 days and refrigerate.

This stuff can last for months however it gets eaten fairly quickly in my home. I find that the longer I leave it to ferment, the cruncher and more flavoursome my sauerkraut gets.

This goes well in sandwiches, as a side, on dhal, the options are endless! I’ve also given this away as gifts which have always been well received. One of my favourite ways to eat it is with meat free sausages served in a warm baguette with tomatoes and sauce. The tangy taste really compliments the other ingredients. Yum!



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