Turkish Pickled Red Cabbage Recipe

Today has been a ‘getting organised for Christmas’ day. We’ve done the Christmas shopping and the Christmas making. We like to feel we’re putting the thought and the feeling back into Christmas (well, that’s our excuse anyway) by not spending too much.

Two of our Christmas presents for other people are made by us.

Someone will be getting a jar of muhammara and another person will be getting a lovely big jar of pickled red cabbage.

We did quite a few posts last winter on the Turkish love of pickled vegetables and pickled red cabbage is included in that.

These days, we struggle to get through a serving of gözleme without devouring a plate or two of pickled red cabbage and other pickled vegetables; peppers, carrots, aubergines, white cabbage.

Anyway, here is our pickled red cabbage recipe.

I made it last Christmas and it went down very well with all concerned. It’s actually an old Mrs Beeton recipe and I like it because of the spices in the vinegar.

Red Cabbage For Pickling

Excess juices will leave the red cabbage because of the salt

  • First of all, take all the outer leaves from a medium-sized red cabbage and cut it lengthways, through the heart, into quarters.
  • Cut out the thick white stem, and slice the rest of the cabbage into thin shreds.
  • Lay all the cabbage out onto a plate and sprinkle salt over it. The cabbage is supposed to be covered and left overnight like this but I just waited a few hours.
Spiced Pickling Vinegar

The spice flavours will infuse into the vinegar as it boils

  • Add some crushed black pepper, a pinch of freshly grated ginger and a little chilli powder to a pan.
  • Pour around 75cl of vinegar over the spices and bring to the boil.
  • After the vinegar has boiled for a couple of minutes, remove it from the heat and leave to cool.

Glass jars are readily available on the Fethiye markets, maybe because Turkish people love their pickled vegetables so much.

We usually use empty jam jars and the like but, well, it is Christmas so we splashed out 1 lira for a dedicated pickled red cabbage jar.

  • Add the cabbage to your chosen jar (our jar holds about a litre) and then pour the cooled vinegar through a sieve and over the top of the cabbage.
Festive Pickled Red Cabbage

Pickled Red Cabbage

Seal the jar and leave it for a day or two before opening it. All ready for Christmas Day, Turkish pickled vegetables have made a decent Christmas present. It’s the thought that counts!

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  1. Oh, I love red pickled cabbage but have to go to the mother in laws if I want to eat it. Beginning to get the feeling that you are a lot better at cooking then I am Julia.

  2. We love any sort of pickled vegetables Natalie but pickled red cabbage is an old favourite so we always make it at Christmas. Hey, you should learn to love cooking – it makes for cheap Christmas presents.

  3. Happy Holidays, That pickled cabbage looks very festive, especially in that new glass jar, think homemade presents are the very best kind to get.

  4. And the same to you Sarah. Thanks for saying that. You’ve made us feel better about our frugal Christmas now! 🙂

  5. Julia, must one store the cabbage in a glass container or will plastic work too? Also, I was expecting to see sugar in the recipe. Is it commonly included, even if your recipe doesn’t use it? I quite liked the cabbage they serve over at the iskender place but I think it’s a bit sweet.

    Cheers! Renee

  6. @ Renee: No, plastic is fine too. We always use the plastic tubs you can buy on the pazar but the cabbage in this particular photo was part of a Christmas present for Barry’s dad. 🙂

    We use sugar in some of our pickles but, maybe it’s the British in us, we like pickled red cabbage and onions to be strong and tangy rather then sweet. The Turkish recipes use a lot of salt too, but we’ve always been a fan of the strong British pickle – lots of crushed black pepper, dark vinegar a few extra spices. 🙂

  7. What kind of vinegar is used in the recipe?

    • In Turkey, the standard vinegar is grape vinegar and we use that. Malt vinegar is very similar, though. Strong and tangy – and that’s how strong British style pickles are. Hope that helps.

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