Discover the taste of tradition with Georgian Fermented Cabbage, a tangy showstopper that transforms your dinner meals. Flavored with beets, chili peppers and spices, a delicious Eastern European side dish, steeped in centuries-old culinary practices.
When I was in Georgia and Abkhazia, I fell in love with their method of making fermented Cabbage. I love spicy foods, and you can adjust the heat to your own liking. It's not sauerkraut, as it's cut in chunks, not fully fermented (but you can leave to ferment for stronger) but more marinated to absorb all the flavors.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Authentic - a real Georgian and Abkhazian recipe that was taught to me on my last visit by a local grandmother
- Easy to make - even a beginner can make his easy to follow recipe
- Versatile - perfect as a side dish, add it to your salads or use as a condiment
- Healthy - cabbage and beets are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants
- White Cabbage - 1 whole head of cabbage
- Garlic - the more the merrier, use a whole head of garlic
- Beets - 3 medium size beets (adds color and is edible)
- Carrot and Celery - adds flavor
- Chili Peppers - 4 peppers for regular recipe, use 8 for some spice!
- Herbs - parsley or cilantro
- Brine - salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leafs, vinegar, coriander seeds
- Prepare Brine - bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Add black peppercorns and bay leafs. Set aside.
- Cabbage Prep - remove outer layers of cabbage. Slice the cabbage into chunks. Start by slicing in half, removing the core. Depending on the size of the cabbage, cut into small wedges or chunks. Some prefer larger, others smaller. Do not shred the cabbage.
- Prepare Vegetables - peel garlic, beets and carrot. Slice beets, carrots, celery and chili peppers. Set aside.
- Layer - In a glass jar, layer cabbage with beets, carrots, celery and garlic until jar is full, pack it down. Add fresh herbs.
- Brine - pour hot brine over vegetables until covered.
- Marinate - keep at room temperature for 3 days to allow flavors to meld. Can ferment up to 7 days for a deeper flavor.
- Refrigerate - this is not a shelf stable recipe, keep in fridge and enjoy.
- Add Adjika - for a more Georgian and Abkhazian flavor, add Adjika to your brine for extra flavor
- Apple Cider Vinegar - substitute for a sweeter vinegar flavor
- Adjust Vinegar - I prefer a subtle vinegar, some people don't add any vinegar, but you can easily double the vinegar for a more tang
- Skip the heat - if you don't like spicy cabbage, don't add the chili peppers, you will still love the flavor!
- Change Herbs - Parsley is most common, but you can add cilantro, basil, fennel, mint or celery leaf
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Too Much Cabbage? if you have leftover cabbage, just place it into a small stainless steel bowl or mason jar and add more brine to pickle it. Make extra brine if needed
- Fresh Ingredients - always use the freshest cabbage and vegetables for best flavors
- Glass Jars - use a large, sterilized 3 litre jar, or a stainless steel bowl or pot. Do not use aluminum, copper or brass that reacts with the acids of pickling.
- Lid Off - keep lid off while the cabbage is fermenting on the kitchen counter, to allow air to circulate. Place a cheesecloth over the top to keep aerated. Only close with lid when you are ready to place in the fridge.
How Long to Ferment Cabbage?
Fermenting is as much art as it is science. There are many variables that impact the speed of fermentation, and how sour you like the taste. This recipe is only slightly fermented for 3-5 days, and some people start to eat it at 48 hours, it's up to you. Here are some fermenting tips for success.
- Fresh Produce - use only the freshest vegetables, without blemishes or mould
- Clean Equipment- ensure glass jars are sterilized, and work area is clean
- Consistent Temperature - maintain at room temperature, and out of heat sources like direct sunlight. Too warm and the flavor can taste off, too cold and it slows down the fermentation
- Keep it Submerged - make sure cabbage isn't exposed to air, can use weights to keep it down
- Smell Test - monitor everyday for mould. Sour smell is ok, but if it starts smelling off, or putrid, it's a sign that something has gone wrong. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Keep Refrigerated - once you're happy with your cabbage, keep refrigerated to slow down the fermentation process.
How Long Does Spicy Cabbage Last?
If refrigerated, it should last 1-2 months in the fridge. However, there are many variables that can impact this. If in doubt, throw it out.
What Happens if Fermented Cabbage Goes Mouldy?
Ensure that the cabbage is fully submerged in the brine. If you need to add more brine, add a bit of salty water to keep flavors consistent. If the cabbage is mouldy, then discard the mouldy layers and check the rest of the jar. Check to see if it's still safe to eat the rest, but if in doubt... throw it out.
Pickled Recipes You'll Love
- Korean Kimchi
- Pink Pickled Garlic
- Homemade Dill Pickles
- Quick Pickled Chili Peppers
- Pickled Whole Tomatoes - Kavkaz Style
- Quick Pickled Carrots
- Refrigerator Pickled - Marinated Pickles
This Georgian style Fermented Cabbage with Beets will be a hit. Vibrant colors, incredible flavors, this is the best tasting cabbage recipe you'll try. After making trying this, you won't go back to sauerkraut again. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- a 3 litre sterilized glass jar or stainless steel pot or bowl
- 1 head cabbage
- 1 head garlic separated into cloves
- 3 medium beets sliced
- 1 carrot sliced
- 6 chili peppers (chopped) double it for extra spicy
- 1 stalk celery or a few celery leaves
- fresh parsley optional
- 10 cups water
- 2 tablespoons salt rounded
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leafs
- ½ cup vinegar optional
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds optional
- Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Add black peppercorns and bay leafs. Set aside.
- Slice the cabbage into chunks. Start by slicing in half, removing the core. Depending on the size of the cabbage, cut into small wedges or chunks. Some prefer larger, others smaller. Do not shred the cabbage.
- Peel the garlic. Using a knife, press down each clove to smash to release flavors.
- Peel beets and carrots. Slice into ¼" pieces.
- Chop the chili peppers, leave seeds in to increase the heat.
- Slice celery stalk, or add a few leave from celery tops.
Making Spicy Cabbage
- Layer the vegetables inside the sterilized glass jar (or stainless steel pot).
- Add cabbage pieces in glass jar, layer with garlic, beets, carrots and chili peppers. Add fresh herbs (optional). Repeat until evenly layered and jar is full.
- Pour hot brine over the vegetables and keep at room temperature for minimum 3 days for start fermentation. Can ferment up to 5-7 days for fuller flavor.
- Place in fridge and enjoy.