Fermented Red Cabbage; an easy first ferment

Fresh made portion of red Coleslaw on wooden background

Fermenting food is one of the oldest and safest preserving methods known to man. We have been doing this for thousands of years and the bacteria we use in fermenting are an important part of our digestive system. Then modern technology came along and fermenting went out of fashion as more easily prepared, ready made foods became available.

As we ate less and less fermented food, more and more people started experiencing problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Eczema and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, just to name a few. With our newfound understanding of the role of bacteria in our health, eating prebiotic and probiotic foods has become a key part of maintaining a healthy diet.

You can now purchase several different ferments such as sauerkraut and kimchi in health food stores with live bacteria that are great for you, as well as being delicious. The problem is that they can be very expensive and each time you get one, you are buying another glass jar.

The good news is that not only are fermented foods good for you and taste great, they are easy to make! Save your money and the new glass jar every time you get one and make your own. Here is my recipe and step by step guide to making a simple fermented red cabbage.

Ingredients:

Equipment:

Instructions:

  1. Chop up your cabbage, carrot and capsicum into small to medium sized pieces and place them in a mixing pot.
  2. Finely mince the garlic and add to the mixture.
  3. Using a micro-plane grate the unpeeled ginger and add this to the pot. Keeping the peel just adds extra fibre, which is good for you.
  4. Toss all the vegetables together and then place them in your fermenting pale.
  5. Place your grate on top to hold the vegetables down.
  6. Mix your culture with some water and add this to the fermenting pale. Top up with more water until all of the vegetables are covered. Remember everything under the fermenting liquid will ferment and everything above the liquid will go off.
  7. Place your lid with the airlock onto the pale and seal. Add water to your airlock and set aside to ferment. The fermenting time will vary from 7 to 10 days depending on the time of year and the temperature. In warmer months the fermentation happens faster.

This is a great place to start your fermenting journey. Remember, the longer you ferment, the stronger the flavour, so start at a level you like and go from there. When you learn to do it yourself you are taking back control. Doing your own fermenting is good for your gut and your budget.

Valerie

 

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7 Replies to “Fermented Red Cabbage; an easy first ferment”

    1. Non-chlorinated water is water that has had the chlorine filtered out of it. This could be tank water, which was not chlorinated in the first place, filtered water, bottled water, or water from the tap that you have boiled and then let cool down.

      You should not use tap water, which has chlorine in it, as it is the job of the chlorine to kill bacteria and other micro-organisms. This may prevent fermentation and lead to a poor result.
      Valerie

  1. Hi Valerie – we met at the recent Gympie Go Vita classes – which I thoroughly enjoyed. I love your presentation style and how you make the science of it all simple and funny!

    Question about this recipe using the Mortimer Pilon as the fermenting vessel. Those directions say to leave a 3/4” headspace between the veggies and the top of the vessel and to cover the veggies with water. Does this mean just leave the space for the veggies and fill the container with water, or to leave a 3/4” space of air between the top of the water and the top of the vessel?

    1. Hi Linda:
      I am so glad you enjoyed the event.

      I have had a look at the blog post you are commenting on and I do not see any mention of the 3/4″ headspace. It just says “Mix your culture with some water and add this to the fermenting pale. Top up with more water until all of the vegetables are covered. Remember everything under the fermenting liquid will ferment and everything above the liquid will go off.

      Place your lid with the airlock onto the pale and seal. Add water to your airlock and set aside to ferment. The fermenting time will vary from 7 to 10 days depending on the time of year and the temperature. In warmer months the fermentation happens faster.”

      If you are using the glass system, use the ceramic weight provided to hold the vegetables under the liquid instead of the plastic grate.

      I hope this clears it up.

      Regards

      Valerie

  2. Thanks, Valerie, but I’m still confused. It’s not YOUR instructions I am questioning – it’s the so-called instructions in the box the Mortimer Pilon came in and the accompanying book – which I already had. What I am trying to ask is – so I need to leave a 3/4″ space (of air) above the ceramic weight, or do I fill the entire vessel up with water to the top, and then also fill in the air-lock? Their directions aren’t very clear – to me anyway. Sounds simple, but I don’t want to waste a week or more to find out the hard way with a wasted batch.

    I thought since you sold this system, you might know the proper way to use it.

    1. Hi Linda:

      Thanks for the clarification. Now I understand what you are asking me. You just need to ensure that all of the vegetables you are fermenting are under the water. Everything under teh water will ferment and everything above teh water will rot. Teh wright holds the vegetables down. After teh lid is on, fill the airlock. I expect that the instructions that come with the glass fermenter believe that you are going to fill teh container. They are telling you to leave the space at the top so that you do not overfill the container and end up with vegetables out of the water and something going off at the top.

      I hope this is of assistance.

      Valerie

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