A versatile spiced red cabbage canning recipe equally at home served cold, packed into a falafel wrap, or warm with a roast dinner. And it’s so easy to make!
This is a time-honored recipe adapted from the ubiquitous Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Quantities and measurements have been reworked to better suit the UK based preserver, but the most significant change is the use of cider vinegar. This spiced red cabbage canning recipe is really delicious; the flavour combination of cabbage and apple being a real culinary classic.
No cooking of the cabbage is needed, it is simply dry brined in salt first to remove water and improve the texture prior to canning.
Ideal for making over the winter months when other fresh vegetable may be hard to source, this spiced red cabbage canning recipe will fill 8 x 500ml jars or 4 x 1 litre jars. Any proper canning jars will do, but for this recipe I’m using Pearl’s wonderful Luna Cap preserving jars. These innovative jars feature fully reusable stainless steel lids and bands.
Spiced Red Cabbage Ingredients
To make four litres of spiced red cabbage.
2 Red Cabbages, at least 3kg total in weight.
50g of fine sea salt. Avoid using table salt.
2 litres of apple cider vinegar. If using home brewed ensure it is at least 0.5% acidity.
125g of brown sugar.
2 tbsp whole cloves.
2 tbsp whole allspice berries.
2 tbsp black peppercorns.
2 tbsp celery seed.
1 large cinnamon stick.
- 2 mace blades.
Spiced Red Cabbage Method
This recipe takes two days to complete, the spiced vinegar and cabbage being prepared up to 12 hours before canning the jars.
Preparing the Spiced Vinegar
Pour the vinegar into a sauce pan and gently heat while adding the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add all the spices and very slowly bring to a simmer with the lid on. At this point turn off the heat and allow the spices to infuse into the vinegar overnight.
The following day filter the vinegar, the celery seeds are very small so use a double layer of muslin or cheese cloth.
Preparing the Red Cabbage
Strip the outer leaves from your cabbages, quarter them with a sharp knife and remove the cores.
Finely shred the cabbage quarters with either a knife or a mandoline.
Add the shredded cabbage to a large plastic or ceramic bowl layering in the salt as you go. Place a plate over the salted cabbage to weigh it down, cover with a tea towel and leave overnight or for 12 hours.
Place small batches of the cabbage in in a colander and rinse well under the tap. Shake as much water from the cabbage as possible and leave to drain for a few minutes. Place the batches of rinsed cabbage on a tray with several layers of kitchen roll. Pad away with kitchen roll as much of the water from the cabbage as practicable.
Canning Your Spiced Red Cabbage
Follow standard methods for water bath canning and ensure that your jars and lids are sanitised. If your stock pot or water bath canner is too small to hold all the jars process them in batches.
Heat the spiced vinegar and maintain at a simmer.
Pack the cabbage into warm jars tightly using a cabbage pounder, wooden spoon or the end of a rolling pin. Leave at least 1.5cm of room at the top of each jar.
Ladle the hot spiced vinegar into warm sanitised jars with the aid of your funnel. Remove any air bubbles and then top-up to leave at least 1cm of headspace.
Wipe the jar rims and screw down the lids. For the Pearl Luna jars pictured here the lids are tightened down fully. For standard Kilner and Mason jars turn the lids until just finger-tip tight.
Place all the jars in the water bath ensuring they are completely submerged. Process at a rolling boil for 20 minutes and then remove the jars.
Store in a cool, shady place out of direct sunlight. Keep opened jars in your fridge.