A classic winter recipe for anyone with even a tiny bit of European heritage.  Shredded red cabbage with a big of sugar and a bit of vinegar.

Classic red cabbage recipe

It takes a certain kind of someone to want to grow the world’s largest anything.  Potato, Leek, Carrot, Zucchini …   Just last year the 90 year old record for the World’s Largest Red Cabbage was broken by David Thomas who grew a 51.1 pound red cabbage. It beat out the long standing record of a comparably pathetic 42 pound cabbage, also grown by a man. As it turns out, most of the people who want to grow absurdly large vegetables are men.  I think we all know why.

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If you search the Internet you’ll find a photo of David, a resident of Cornwall, England,  proudly lounging languidly behind his cabbage, his face and left shoulder the only parts of his body that are visible.  I’m sure this saucy little image is considered quite sexy within the big vegetable crowd.  Need more incentive to spend 4 months growing a big potato?  It’s common knowledge that the only profession searched more often than lawyer on is Competitive Vegetable Grower.

My own father used to search out the biggest of everything in the grocery store.  Instead of coming home with a bag of beets he’d come home with one beet accompanied by its own sun and moon.

Today’s recipe for classic sweet & tart Red Cabbage came from my very own homegrown red cabbage.  My own very small, non award winning, Guinness Book of World Record losing, red cabbage.

Classic red cabbage recipe

I think anyone with any sort of European background has had a scoop of red cabbage brighten up their dinner plate during the holidays, but a few years ago I started bringing this holiday favourite out of the “only for special occasions” repertoire.


Because I like it. And because it’s stupid fast and easy to make.

Classic red cabbage recipe

All it takes is one or two perfectly normal sized cabbages, some vinegar and sugar and about 1 hour.  I use a knife to shred the cabbage. Honestly? It’s easier than dragging out and cleaning a food processor.

red cabbage and apples

You can add apples too.  I like apples.

red cabbage recipe

Shred the cabbage with a knife, slice the apples, chop an onion and you’re almost done.  The ingredients are simmered for about 40 minutes and that’s all there is to it.

The best part of this is that this red cabbage recipe freezes PERFECTLY.  I make a batch every fall, put it in individual sized containers and stack them in the freezer (because my freezer is now actually perfectly organized and yours can be too.)  Red cabbage goes well with pretty much everything but I especially like it with roast chicken, turkey or anything pork.  Not a giant pork.  Just you know, regular sized pork.

red cabbage recipe

Classic Red Cabbage Recipe

Classic Red Cabbage

Classic Sweet & Tart Red Cabbage recipe. Sugar to taste.
3.17 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Canning/Preserves
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 apples
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 regular sized red cabbage shredded (enough to make 8 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons white sugar less if you want it less sweet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Prep your ingredients so they're ready to go.
  • In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter.
  • Add in the sliced apples and onion, cooking until soft.
  • Add remaining ingredients and heat to boiling.
  • Cover and simmer 40 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaf and transfer to serving bowl or individual containers for freezing.

I don’t think I’ll be growing a giant, fair worthy vegetable anytime soon, but I do think that if I were to ever join,  before I lied about my height, weight, age or education, I’d lie about being a wildly successful competitive vegetable grower.