Grandad’s Pickled Red Cabbage

5 Apr

It was my granddad’s birthday on Tuesday, he was 93. I phoned him to wish him a happy birthday and also to persuade him to give me this recipe. After the success of his amazing Pickled Onion recipe that I posted in the Summer I have been trying to get him to write this one down too. They really are the best pickled onions in the world. If you haven’t tried them yet, what are you waiting for?

I have been running past these red cabbages every day with the dog thinking “I have to get that recipe”.

Then I got a huge red cabbage in my organic veg box this week and I knew it was time.

Grandad uses pickling spices that come in a muslin bag from the supermarket. You hang them in the vinegar while it is boiling to infuse it with the spices. They don’t sell pickling spices in the supermarkets here so I googled it to find out what they were.

There are different combinations but the main ingredients are bay leaves, cardamom, allspice, coriander, mustard seeds, cinnamon, black peppercorns and cloves. I didn’t have any muslin and all the shops are shut for Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday) so I just threw the whole lot into the vinegar. Hopefully it will turn out the same but I won’t know for a month. That’s how long you have to leave it before eating.

Grandad’s Pickled Red Cabbage Recipe

Makes 1 big jar, vegan, gluten-free

You have to salt the cabbage overnight before continuing

  • 1 small red cabbage (I used 1/2 a big one)
  • salt
  • 1 or 2 bags of pickling spices or I used: 2 bay leaves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp allspice berries, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 4 or 5 cloves
  • 500 – 750 ml malt vinegar (or I used a mixture of malt vinegar, sherry vinegar and cider vinegar)

Tear off the outer leaves of the cabbage and any that look a bit tired. Remove the core and slice the cabbage into 1/4 inch slices. Lay them out on a large ceramic plate and salt very generously. Leave overnight.

…In the morning my grandad recommends trying some of the salty cabbage and, he says you’ll wonder why you are pickling it…

Rinse the salt off and dry the cabbage. Put the vinegar and pickling spices in a pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes. Now you can remove the muslin bag of spices if you have one.

Pour about half of the hot vinegar into a sterilised jar then add most of the cabbage. Fill up the jar with the rest of the vinegar and any more cabbage that will fit in. Make sure the cabbage is covered with vinegar then seal the jar and store in a cool dry place for about a month before opening.

 I’ll let you know in a month how it is…….if I can wait that long!!

Thanks Grandad, Happy Birthday, Happy Easter and I’ll see you soon!!

Lots of Love


19 Responses to “Grandad’s Pickled Red Cabbage”

  1. Chica Andaluza April 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Ok, so you know I loved your Grandad´s pickled onions and am just waiting for autumn to come round so I can get hold of more pickling onions! On the basis of his great onions I will have to give the cabbage a go too. Happy Birthday Natalie´s Grandad 🙂

  2. tony ward April 5, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    So what do I get to pass on to you guapa besides your talent of picking divine wines, beautiful clothes and lovely men ??
    Actually what more IS THERE in life. You got it in one hija, took me 40 years to work it out !!
    I recall all those Xmas parties with our HUGE family over indulging in just about everything…including the pickles…..SALUD y feliz fiestas. xxxx

  3. dassana April 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    lovely colors…. feel like taking the pickle from the jar 🙂

  4. Kiri W. April 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    Very interesting! I love pickled green cabbage, I should try the red version, especially since there’s cinnamon involved! 🙂

  5. Steph@stephsbitebybite April 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    I LOVe cabbage…and I LOVE pickles, so I don’t see how I could go wrong with this!!

  6. Three Well Beings April 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    This sounds delicious! I think I’d love to try it. I have a little fear of any canning or processing–it’s simple. I wasn’t raised with it and no one has ever showed me how…and I’m afraid of botulism. This sounds like it’s so simple that I couldn’t possibly go wrong! So to be clear…this does NOT go in the refrigerator, but just a cool dry place! Gorgeous color, and a wonderfully handsome grandpa! Happy Birthday to a well-loved man, I can tell! Debra

    • foodblogandthedog April 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Botulism!! 😀 As long as you sterilise the jars (in a hot dishwasher) you should be fine. You put the hot vinegar in the jar with the cabbage and seal it. Leave it for a month (or more ) to mature in a cool, dry place. Once you have opened it you can store it in the fridge. Hope this makes sense!!

      • Three Well Beings April 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

        It does, Natalie! Thank you. I know that my mom did a real “number” on me through the years…she is obsessive about food handling, to the point of really a little neurotic. Ha! Apparently some of it has rubbed off. I’m going to make this…it looks so pretty, and we love red cabbage! Thanks so much. D

  7. frugalfeeding April 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Happy birthday to him! What an incredible age. I’m not going to lie – I wouldn’t like this, I hate red cabbage. However, on behalf of my family, this looks amazing. The colours are fantastic and I just know that almost everyone would adore the taste.

  8. ceciliag April 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Well thank you grand-dad.. we grow a lot of red cabbage, it is good for what’s wrong with ya, my dad would say.. this is a great recipe, simple and dramatic.. c

  9. peasepudding April 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I love pickled cabbage and onions, homemade is definitely the best too.

  10. Caroline April 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Happy birthday to your grandad!!! Wow, 93-years-old. That’s amazing, and he still looks great! Love his pickled red cabbage recipe, but I’m not so sure I can wait one month to hear about the results either. 😉

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide April 6, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    This looks awesome and happy birthday to gramps.

  12. janet @ the taste space April 6, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Yum! Malt vinegar is one viengar I don’t have…. arg! 🙂

  13. suzisoutlook April 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I have never eaten pickled cabbage but I do love pickled beets. this sounds fantastic. I will have to this. Can’t wait to hear how yours turns out. Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. musingmar April 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    This cabbage looks so good and I’m sure it tastes wonderful. Love the story of your granddad giving you this recipe on his 93rd birthday. How lucky you are to have him! Hope you’re trading recipes for many more years to come.

  15. Samantha Fromm Haddow April 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Red cabbage reminds me of my Grandmother’s kitchen. The warm spicy smell was usually dished up with spaetzle, pork chops, and the most wonderful smile. Thank you for sharing your Grandfather’s recipe!

  16. magicofspice April 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    What a lovely post and wonderful recipe…delicious!


  1. Za’atar Spice Roasted Red Cabbage Steaks | Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - March 6, 2013

    […] use red cabbage in that soup though, it turns everything purple. Other than using it to make my Grandad’s Pickled Red Cabbage I have never done anything exciting or blogworthy with this beautiful Brassica. Until now that […]

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