Wednesday, 3 December 2014


My Nan used to love pickled red cabbage. With a big bowl of Scouse, shepherds pie or any kind of stew she would spoon in mounds of it and I have to say it's a taste that I have definatly inherited from her. I've not had any for ages so as I was on a bit of a pickling spree for Christmas I thought it would be the perfect time to make a nice big batch in honour of my Nan. Mine uses red wine and balsamic vinegars with mustard seeds and bay leaves to give it really sweet edge. Hopefully when I give this out as gifts this year, I'll pass on that love to my friends too.

The only thing I would change in this recipe if needed would be the sugar. I have preserving sugar a plenty at this time of year for all my pickles but this is a condiment that you could make all year round so if you don't have any or can't afford to buy a new big bag full then you can use granulated sugar instead which I imagine you might be more likely to have knocking around your kitchen.

The blend of vinegars and wine I use to pickle this cabbage I think is spot on! Remember whenever you are using a red wine in any cooking to use one that you would be more than happy to drink. Golden rule of the kitchen that! You may not have balsamic and I do suggest you get some before making this cabbage but if you can always replace it with an extra 100ml of red wine or any of the other vinegars.

The recipe below will make a hefty batch. If you don't want to make as much you can scale down the quantities as needed. Take a lazy afternoon and get your pickle on:


1kg Shredded Red Cabbage
300g Rock Salt
500ml White Wine Vinegar
200ml Red Wine
200ml Red Wine Vinegar
100ml Balsamic Vinegar
800g Preserving Sugar
2 Tbsp Black Mustard Seeds
6 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
  1. Put your shredded cabbage into a large colander and pour over the salt. Toss the salt through the cabbage so its well distributed and then leave covered with a damp tea towel for at least 1 hour (preferably 2-3). 
  2. After it's been sat for a couple of hours, wash all the salt off the cabbage and then pat it all dry with some kitchen roll or a clean tea towel. Leave it to one side whilst you prepare the vinegar to dry it out further.
  3. Place all the remaining ingredients into a large pan and heat the liquid on a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and until the liquid comes to a simmer but do not let it boil. Once it's simmering, cover and leave for 15 minutes.
  4. Divide the cabbage between your sterilised jars and then pour over the pickling vinegar, seeds and all and seal.
Leave for a least a month to really let that spiced pickling vinegar really infuse into the cabbage. After a day you should notice the liquid turn a beautiful purple colour that looks so inviting. It will be so hard to resist opening up that jar and trying some but trust me; be patient. Store in a cool dark place until ready to open and then once open, keep in the fridge for 3 three weeks. This cabbage is so sharp yet beautifully sweet, I know my Nan would love it. I'll be tucking into some of this over Christmas and be thinking of her. Make some yourself and show some homemade love to your friends and family too. That's what Christmas is all about!


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