Majestic Magenta

Hmmm… I started with the title Pretty and Pink…, then thought maybe Radiant Red…!

But really I think Majestic Magenta describes the colour at the end…

A while ago we were in Melbourne for a few days to spend time with our son and his family.  This meant that I was able to visit my sister, Sonnie.  Sonnie is an amazing cook, and had just finished making a batch of her late husband’s grandmother’s pickled red cabbage, a jar of which, she had kindly set aside for us, I was so excited and very grateful.

Since then I’ve started receiving a regular delivery of fresh, mostly Gippsland grown, vegetables, and the fun thing with the vegie (Farm) box is that each week is different.  With produce that we don’t normally use, and being one who hates waste, I’ve just had to get a little creative.

After receiving red cabbage in my mystery veg box, I instantly knew what to do – I would make Grandma Martin’s Pickled Red Cabbage.  I often prepare braised red cabbage, but this time it was definitely going to be a batch of Grandma Martin’s Pickled Red Cabbage, and with my beautiful sister’s permission, I can now share the recipe with you.

Sonnie has kindly provided me with a photo of the original recipe that she received from Grandma Martin, somethin that she treasures so much (it is dated 1974), and she has also sent me a photo of her mother-in-law, Mrs Winifred Collins together with Grandma (Mrs Hester) Martin, taken at a family wedding many years back.


I have re-written the recipe a little, adding a little more detail, including how to prepare the vinegar, and I’ve included it below for your reference.

Grandma Martin’s Pickled Red Cabbage

A recipe handed down to my sister, Sonnie, by her late husband's grandmother.

Category: Canning, Preserves
Style: Australian
Keyword: Cabbage, Pickled Cabbage
Quantity: 10 250ml jars
Author: sbaskitchen
  • 1 large firm head of red cabbage
  • 1.5 litres (3.2) pints vinegar
  • 30 g (1 oz) whole peppers
  • 30 g (1 oz) whole allspice
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 500 g (18 oz) sugar (optional).
  • cloves to finish
  1. Remove the coarse outside leaves from the cabbage and cut the cabbage into quarters.
  2. Remove the centre stalk, along with the heavy ribs from the leaves, and discard.

  3. Finely shred the leaves and layer in a non-reactive bowl, sprinkling every layer liberally with salt.
  4. When done, place a plate on top of the salted cabbage and press down (I place a heavy jar on top of the plate to keep it weighted).
  5. Allow to stand for 24 to 36 hours.
  6. Thoroughly drain off all liquid (I also choose to rinse the cabbage under cold running water to remove any excess salt).
  7. Pour the vinegar into a saucepan, then add the sugar (if using) along with the allspice and peppercorns, and slowly bring to the boil.  Simmer for five minutes and then remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, pack the cabbage loosely into warm sterilised jars. (The cabbage will be dull purple in colour, but will turn bright pink/red upon application of the vinegar.)

  9. Strain the vinegar, retaining the spices, and then pour spiced vinegar over the cabbage.
  10. Paddle with a skewer or thin knife to remove all air bubbles, then fill jars right to top with vinegar.
  11. To each jar add one whole allspice and 2 peppercorns (retained from the spiced vinegar), along with one whole clove.

  12. Wipe the top of the jars with paper towel dipped in vinegar and then seal.

  13. When cool, label and store in a cool dark place until required.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add to burgers.
  • Serve with schnitzel and pork.
  • Add to salads (including coleslaw).


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As I said earlier, Sonnie is a fantastic cook, as is our other gorgeous sister, Jan, and we are always sharing recipes and ideas which often invoke fabulous family memories and take us on trips down memory lane.

Until next time

Bon appétit!





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.