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Recipe – Fermented red cabbage

December 12th, 2021  

Why you should ferment red cabbage:  

Have you ever tried homemade red cabbage or even made it yourself?

Especially at Christmas time, red cabbage is a popular side dish for festive dishes. Today we have a recipe for you on how you can easily prepare your own red cabbage. 

Red cabbage not only tastes wonderful, it can also help you take some of the strain off your gut this holiday season. Fermented foods can support your gut perfectly and can prevent your gut from being a little confused or even offended by biscuits, festive foods and other treats.

Our red cabbage is prepared quickly and only needs to be fermented for about 2-3 weeks. The recipe combines Christmas spices like cinnamon and cloves with the sweet and sour taste of cranberries. If that’s not delicious! 

Red cabbage is easy to prepare, gut-friendly and the absolute highlight of your Christmas dinner! 

What is fermentation actually? 

The term refers to the controlled and desired growth of microorganisms in food and beverages. During fermentation, substances are produced that have incredibly valuable effects on our microbiome and on our health in general. 

Why should I ferment red cabbage? 

Wondering why you should ferment red cabbage instead of just cooking it? That is quickly explained:

The advantage of fermented red cabbage is that it gives the cabbage a raw food quality. Most red cabbage on the market is heated. This means that vitamins and other health-promoting ingredients are lost.

In addition, cooked red cabbage does not contain any living organisms, which can be incredibly valuable for your gut health.

Another advantage of homemade red cabbage is that you can use your favourite spices and vary them according to your mood.

Fermented red cabbage – a Christmas recipe

For the Christmas season, we have instructions for a red cabbage with suitable spices for this time of year. The red cabbage goes perfectly with a festive meal during the Christmas holidays.

The guests will be delighted!

The ingredients:

  • 1kg red cabbage
  • 1 apple
  • juice of one orange or approx. 80-100ml orange juice
  • 20g salt (always 2% salt solution)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of cloves
  • 30-40g cranberries
  • Also: a large canning jar or fermentation jar (approx. 1- 1.5L)
Freshly cut red cabbage before fermentation

Preparation – this is how you prepare red cabbage

First wash the cabbage and then cut it into strips as thin as possible. The thicker the slices, the harder they will stay.

Roughly grate the apple and squeeze the orange. Roughly chop the cranberries. Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl and leave to rest for about 15 minutes. A small brine forms in the bowl.

Then knead the cabbage with your hands so that more of the brine forms. Again, the longer and harder you knead, the softer the cabbage will become. You can decide for yourself what you prefer. We prefer the cabbage softer.

Now fill the cabbage in layers into a large, airtight jar. In between, press down well with the back of your hand and compress so that as little air as possible is included. The brine should overlap the cabbage.

Finally, place a cabbage leaf as a cover in the jar and weigh it down with a smaller preserving jar/ a stone. The fermentation jar should only be ¾ full, otherwise it can overflow during the fermentation. Close the jar and store in a warm and dark place for the first 3 days. After that, store in a cool and dark place.

The jar can also be opened every few days so that any gases produced can escape. After about 2-3 weeks, simply taste the cabbage. If it tastes sour and full-bodied, it is ready and can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the fridge/cellar.

You can find this recipe and many more wholesome, gut-friendly dishes and desserts in our recipe book: Microbiome food – recipes for your gut bacteria.

How long can red cabbage be kept in the refrigerator?

The fermented cabbage should be sealed as airtight as possible and can then be kept in the refrigerator for several days to weeks.

Vegan savoy cabbage rolls from our recipe book: Microbiome food – recipes for your gut bacteria, with fermented red cabbage

What goes well with red cabbage?

Red cabbage tastes wonderful with various meat dishes, vegan and vegetarian treats. Red cabbage also tastes wonderful with Schupfnudeln (potato noodles)!

How healthy is red cabbage?

  • When consumed regularly, fermented red cabbage can:
  • inhibit unwanted microorganisms in the gut
  • promote a strong immune system
  • have a positive influence on our nerves
  • prevent or alleviate anxiety and depression
  • Reduce the risk of many societal diseases such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

Fermentation makes the food more digestible and the nutrients more easily absorbed into the body. Fermented foods are also suitable for people with a sensitive stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. (1)

The benefits of ingredients for your gut health

Cabbage: Cabbage is high in vitamins K and C, making it beneficial for blood health, bone health and a powerful immune system. It also contains many antioxidants and other sulphur-containing ingredients such as mustard oils, which protect our bodies and cells from unwanted changes. Cabbage contains lots of fibre, which is a feast for our good intestinal inhabitants. (2)

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is beneficial for good bacteria and hindering for the bad ones. Cinnamon contains many antioxidants that can bind free radicals while supporting your metabolism. The flavonoid proanthocyanidin found in cinnamon can stimulate fat cells to release insulin, lowering your blood sugar levels. In addition, cinnamon can help support digestion and minimise the risk of irritation to the digestive tract. (3)

Cloves: Cloves can have an analgesic effect and can be used to fight unwanted fungi, viruses or bacteria. In addition, cloves can help to lower and stabilise blood sugar levels. If you suffer from loss of appetite or gastrointestinal problems, you can also use cloves. They can stimulate the appetite naturally and also calm the digestive tract. (4)

Cranberries: Cranberries contain many substances such as flavonols, anthocyanins and procyanidins that can reduce the risk of developing circulatory diseases, atherosclerosis or cancer. Eating cranberries can inhibit the disease-promoting Helicobacter pylori and prevent inflammation in the gut. Cranberries can also relieve and shorten a bladder infection. (5)

Should you try the recipe, feel free to share it on your social media account and link us @mybioma. We’d love to hear from you!

Check out our blog for more delicious and gut-friendly recipes. Why not try: Lentil and vegetable stew: food for your slimming bacteria

Microbiome food – recipes for your gut bacteria

Nutrition is the foundation of a healthy microbiome. Giving your gut bacteria the right food will contribute to a healthy balance of your microbiome and help you feel better. In the myBioma recipe book you will find a selection of 40 gut-friendly recipes with additional nutritional knowledge. You can find more information here: Microbiome food – recipes for your gut bacteria.

Fermented Christmas red cabbage

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical information or instructions. The recipes are for inspiration and are not intended as a therapeutic treatment. If you have any health problems, you should contact a doctor or other professional immediately.


(1): Dimidi E, Cox S. R, Rossi M, Whelan K. Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients 11, 1806 (2019). Doi:  

Rehberg C. Fermentation von Gemüse zur Herstellung eigener Probiotika. Zentrum der Gesundheit (2021). [04.11.2012] 

Stiemsma L. T, Nakamura R. E, Nguyen J, Michels K.B. Does Consumption of Fermented Foods Modify the Human Gut Microbiota? The Journal of Nurtition 150, 1680-1692 (2020). Doi: 

(2): Moreb N., Murphy A., Jaiswal S., Jaiswal A. K. Chapter 3- Cabbage. Nutritional Composition and Antioxidant Properties of Fruit and Vegetables, Academic Press (2020), 33-54. Doi: 

(3): Rowland I, et al. Gut microbiota functions: metabolism of nutrients and other food components. Eur J Nutr 57: 1 (2018). 

Tianthong W, Phupong V. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the efficacy of ginger in the prevention of abdominal distention in post cesarean section patients. Sci Rep. 

(4): Viuda-Martos M et al., “Antioxidant activity of essential oils of five spice plants widely used in a Mediterranean diet” Flavour and Fragrance Journal Vol 25, Issue 1, pages 1319, January/February 2010 

Pinto E et al., “Antifungal activity of the clove essential oil from Syzygium aromaticum on Candida, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species.”J Med Microbiol. 2009 Nov;58(Pt 11):1454-62. 

(5): Howell AB, Reed JD, Krueger CG, Winterbottom R, Cunningham DG and Leahy M, A-type cranberry proanthocyanidins and uropathogenic bacterial anti-adhesion activity. Phytochemistry 66:2281-2291 (2005) 

Zhao S., Liu H., Gu L. American cranberries and health benefits – an evolving story of 25 years. J Sci Food Acric. (2020), 100, 5111-5116. Doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8882. 

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