Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage Recipe
Learn How to Make Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage to create a tasty side dish that’s rich in probiotics and natural sweeteners. This easy recipe is perfect if you’re new to making fermented vegetables.
Why Ferment Red Cabbage?
As I shared with you in my How to Make Sauerkraut video, fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut are rich in good bacteria—probiotics—that contribute to our good gut health. And scientists tell us that good gut health contributes to our overall good health.
A drawback about fermented foods is that they can taste quite tangy to folks who are new to eating them. So when you are making the transition from a processed foods kitchen to a traditional foods kitchen, being able to make a ferment that has a touch of sweetness can help train our palates to enjoy fermented foods.
And that’s where red cabbage comes in handy. It’s already a bit sweeter than its cousin green cabbage. Once we ferment it and add a bit of natural sweetener, our red cabbage develops into a delightful treat at the dinner table when you serve it as a condiment or a side dish.
But Can I Warm It?
Great question! And the good news is that, yes, you can warm your fermented red cabbage when serving it as a side dish. Just be sure to warm it and not boil it. You do not want your red cabbage to be any warmer to the touch than a warm bath, approximately 110°F. This will keep your fermented red cabbage a “living food” by maintaining the integrity of all those good bacteria that will be nourishing our gut health.
More Fermented Videos
Now that you’ve learned How to Make Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage be sure to try your hand at these other tasty ferments. I even share my secret to crisp pickles…not to be missed!
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Fermented Sweet Red Cabbage
- 1 half gallon sized jar or 2 quart sized jars
- Small 4 ounce jars to be used as weights or glass fermentation weights
- Jar lid or "pickle pipes" (if using pickle pipes, you will also need canning rings)
- 1 3 pound Red cabbage
- 1 Apple, optional but highly recommended Any variety.
- 2 tablespoons Coarse ground sea salt Can substitute with 1 tablespoon fine ground sea salt. You can also use Himalayan Pink Salt or Redmond's Real Salt as substitutes.
- 1/4 cup Maple syrup, honey, or other natural sweetener Additional sweetener can be added.
- Remove outer cabbage leaves and set aside.
- Core cabbage and set cores aside.
- Slice or shred cabbage as fine as possible and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and set the cabbage aside. The salt will begin to soften the cabbage and extract liquid from the cabbage.
- Grate cabbage core and add to bowl.
- If using, grate apple and add to bowl.
- Pound cabbage mixture with a "kraut pounder" or "pickle packer" (see video) or use clean hands to squeeze the cabbage until it softens and releases a considerable amount of liquid.
- Pack cabbage mixture into one half gallon-sized jar or two quart-sized jars.
- Fold outer cabbage leaves into quarters and place on top of cabbage mixture in jars.
- Place 4 ounce jelly jar or glass fermentation weights on top of cabbage leaves in jar. Gently press down until all the cabbage is submerged under liquid. If the cabbage is dry, add a bit of filtered water (chlorine-free) to assure all the cabbage is submerged under liquid.
- Place cap on jar and tighten.
- Place jar in a bowl (to catch any overflow) and place the bowl in a warm undisturbed area that is approximately 68°F to 70°F.
- As bubbles begin to appear in the jar, loosen the lid daily to release some of the gases that have built up, and then retighten the lid. (This step is not necessary if you are using the pickle pipes.)
- After a few days of fermentation, use a clean fork to taste the red cabbage. If the taste is to your liking, refrigerate your red cabbage. Generally, it will take approximately 7-14 days for the red cabbage to reach its proper level of fermentation. Keep in mind that initially it will taste salty, but the saltiness will mellow over the coming weeks.
- If you want, you can sweeten your red cabbage after the fermentation process is complete. Transfer the red cabbage to a bowl and add in maple syrup, honey, Sucanat date sugar, other natural sweetener starting with a 1/4 cup and working up to the amount that pleases your palate.
- Once sweetened to your liking, return the red cabbage to the jar, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerate it.
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Fermentation Supplies
- Half Gallon Canning Jars
- 4-Ounce Jelly Jars
- White Storage Lids
- pH Strips
- Masontops Complete Fermentation Kit
- Silicone Pickle Pipes
- Fermentation Glass Weights
- Wooden Pickle Packer
- Wooden Kraut Pounder
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