Pickled Spiced Red Cabbage

Eastern Europeans have thousands of delicious ways to serve cabbage. This colourful pickled cabbage is but one of the multitudes of ways savvy cooks use this versatile kohl vegetable.


  • 12 lb (5.5 kg) shredded red cabbage, about 3 large heads
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) pickling salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) mustard seed
  • 1/2 cup (50 ml) ground mace
  • 8 cups (2 L) red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) EACH: whole cloves, whole allspice, peppercorns & celery seed
  • 2 sticks cinnamon


  • Remove outer leaves of cabbage; core and shred. Layer cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Cover; let stand 24 hours. Rinse. Drain thoroughly on paper towel-lined trays, about 6 hours.
  • Place 5 clean 1 L mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • Combine sugar, mustard seed, mace and vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Tie cloves, allspice, peppercorns, celery seed and broken cinnamon stick in a large square of cheesecloth creating a spice bag; add to vinegar. Boil 5 minutes. Discard spice bag.
  • Pack cabbage into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top of jar. Add hot liquid to cover cabbage to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more cabbage and hot liquid. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining cabbage and hot liquid.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 20 minutes.*
  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.