What you will need

The basic ingredients are really simple:

  • A red cabbage
  • Salt
  • Water

What you will need to make fermented pickled red cabbage

With these you will need a few kitchen implements:

  • a chopping board
  • a sharp knife
  • a large bowl
  • some scales
  • measuring spoons
  • a Kilner jar
  • a rolling pin (or a similar instrument for tamping down the cabbage into the jar)
  • a shot glass (for holding the cabbage under water in the Kilner jar)


  1. Cut the cabbage in half and then cut out the core and remove the outer leaves, don't throw these away as we're going to use them later.
  2. Weigh the cabbage so we know how much salt to add to the mixture. I add 1 tablespoon of salt for every 1 kilogram of cabbage.
  3. Chop up the cabbage roughly and put it in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the salt: 1 tablespoon for every 1 kilogram of cabbage.
  5. Work the salt into the cabbage using your hands, give it a good scrunch, it will become wet. Keep squeezing it for about five or 10 minutes until all the salt is worked in.
  6. A rolling pin and a shot glass are also useful

    A rolling pin and a shot glass are also useful

  7. Stuff the cabbage into the kilner jar you can use a rolling pin or something similar to help. As you fill the jar you should see more liquid filling the gaps between the shredded cabbage.
  8. Add any remaining juice from the mixing bowl. Don't fill the jar too full, as the contents will expand. Fill it to about between four fifths full, or up to the "shoulder" of the jar.
  9. Take the outer leaves of the cabbage you put aside earlier and put these over the top of the rest of the cabbage. The purpose of this is to keep keep everything under water and away from oxygen because the bad bacteria likes oxygenand fermentation is anaerobic so doesn't need any oxygen. As you press the outer leaves down on top of your shredded cabbage you should see liquid rising above the top of the cabbage. If you don't you can add a little bottled water, or tap water that has been stood for a while to let the chlorine evaporate (the good bacteria (any bacteria) doesn't like chlorine very much).
  10. Take the cores and also place these in the top of the jar to help keep the cabbage submerged.
  11. Use a shot glass aswell to keep everything tight against the lid, so the shot glass presses everything else under the water.
  12. A jar of fermenting red cabbage

    A jar of fermenting red cabbage

  13. Add a lable to you jar with the date that you made it.
  14. Put your jar somewhere convenient like a shelf in your kitchen at room temperature
  15. Every day you need to "burp" your jar. You do this by a just opening the lid slightly. The reason for doing this is that as cabbage ferments it gives off carbon dioxide and this builds up the pressure in the jar, you don't want the jar to explode so on a regular basis you need to release that pressure and let that gas out.
  16. I leave my ferments out until they stop bubbling (usually abour 7 days) and then I put it in the fridge.

By the end of that period you will have some delicious fermented pickled red cabbage that you can have in a meal like the one below, which is: tuna salad boiled eggs, and fermented red cabbage.

A delicious, healthy and tasty meal: tuna salad, a boiled egg and some fermented pickled red cabbage

A delicious, healthy and tasty meal: tuna salad, a boiled egg and some fermented pickled red cabbage

Final thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to call it, because it’s not saurkraut, that uses white cabbage, but it’s not pickled cabbage because it’s fermented. So I settled on “fermented pickled red cabbage”. I wanted to include the “pickled” because the fermentation produces acids and makes the cabbage taste pickled even though no vineger was used.