How to Ferment a Cabbage

Fermenting is an ancient method of food preservation, in and of itself that sounds quite daunting. As imposing and scientific as “lactobacillus conversion” sounds, it’s all incredibly simple. I’m going to briefly cover the basics to help you start utilising this technique at home this lockdown.

Let’s start this venture with only two ingredients:

1.  Sweetheart Cabbages.

2. Sea Salt.

First, strip the tougher outer leaves from the cabbage and set aside.

Then cut into four steak like wedges. Make sure to keep the root attached so it doesn’t fall apart.

Weigh each cabbage wedge individually, mine were a little over 100g each. (Note this down)

Roll out 2-3 layers of cling film about the size of an A4 paper.

Place a cabbage steak on the cling and sprinkle 2% of the cabbage’s weight in sea salt evenly on the steak, then wrap as tight as possible in the cling film.

Repeat with the other cabbages and place in the fridge.

For best results keep in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

Now at this point, technically, you haven’t fermented anything. All you’ve done is season some raw cabbage.

The fermenting is all happening in the fridge.

The salt is killing any and all harmful bacteria in the cabbage, leaving the salt tolerant bacteria, Lactobacillus, to convert lactose sugars in the cabbage into delicious lactic acid.

In essence that’s it, a two-prong technique caused when salt is left with organic matter, both preserving and developing at the same time.

After a day or two the cabbages will have a lovely gentle cold ferment and they will be nicely seasoned and broken down.

To serve these bad boys, fry the whole piece in a medium frying pan with a little oil for about 3 mins on each side or until golden and a little crispy.

Then finish in the oven for 6-8 mins at 180 degrees.

Make sure to trim the root before serving as it often a little tough still.

At the restaurant, we serve this cabbage with a mussel cream sauce, a sweet mussel jus, dill oil and locally foraged sea herbs, pictured above.

We love to see your home cooking, especially using our recipes!

Create this dish at home and don’t forget to tag us in any photos.

Cap – Senior Sous Chef