Wednesday, September 9, 2015

German Rotkohl {Canning Recipe}

This is an authentic German Rotkohl recipe I received from a friend when we were living in Germany I modified to make safe for canning. If you would prefer not to can it, but just make it to serve, see my recipe here.

This is a spicy, sweet, tart cabbage dish and makes a great accompaniment to German foods such as Wiener Schnitzel or Sauerbraten. 

Gather your ingredients

Top cabbage mixture with brine



1 head red cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
2 large tart apples, cored, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. salt
Place in a spice bag (or piece of cheesecloth tied with kitchen string)
1/2 tsp. whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp. whole allspice
1/2 tsp. whole cloves

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and stir well. Cook approx. 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilting but not soft.

Strain cabbage mixture from brine using a mesh colander placed over a large bowl, reserving brine.  

Using tongs, fill jars with cabbage mixture pushing down to pack somewhat tightly. Evenly distribute brine over cabbage mixture in each jar, leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Wipe top of jars with vinegar, and top with rings and seals. 

Process in boiling water bath or steam canner 20 minutes. Remove jars and let cool 24 hours on a kitchen towel on your counter-top.

Jars are sealed when button in the middle of the top is depressed and doesn't move.

Store in pantry up to one year. Opened jars need to be refrigerated. 

Tips: If product is too tart for your taste, add a bit of sugar when heating to eat.

Yield:  5 pint jars


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it last night, just omitted the allspice because I didn't have any. This is exactly what I was looking for. Delish!

    1. Thanks for letting me know, I'm happy you're enjoying it.

  5. I had several cabbage heads from our garden so we wanted a German cabbage recipe that we could canned and enjoy today and in the next months. It was easy sine we canned our crop from our garden. This recipe is a keeper will go in my ball canning book for future use. Thank you

  6. Is it hard to remove the whole spice? Do they mix throughout processing? Could ground be used instead of whole?

    1. You can put the pickling spice in a cloth spice bag so it is not mixed in with the brine. It is not hard to remove at all however, but if you prefer to try it with ground that would be fine. Thanks for asking.

    2. It would be better, IMHO, to wrap the spices in a cheesecloth bundle or bag than to use ground spices. I found that ground spices tend to make the brine cloudy and detract from the attractiveness of the finished product. If you're not concerned about that, however you can certainly use them.

  7. I’m new to canning. I have a wonderful German Red Cabbage recipe, and yours is pretty close. I’ve been looking for a way to can it. Although, I cook mine for a little over an hour. I realize it will come some more while in the jars. Can you shed some light on this?

    1. As my recipe suggests, you'd only cook 5 minutes or long enough for the cabbage to soften then pack into the jars. It will continue to cook in the canner.

  8. Why is this canning safe. Vs a regular red cabbage recipe prepared?

    Does it need to have a certain amount of vinegar in it to be safe to can?

    1. Yes, it does need to have a certain amount of vinegar in it to be safe to can. This is a pickled cabbage recipe similar to sauerkraut.

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe. I just love cabbage recipes of any kind. This is definitely something I will add to my pantry.

  10. I like this recipe. As close to what I grew up with as I could find. I 6 x the recipe so I used a 1/4 of my brine to steam and the rest I bagged my spices and boiled for a bit. I then added clear gel to thicken slightly And mixed it in with the steamed cabbage and remaining brine... Came out exactly like my German grannies. Canned up beautiful.