Where To Buy Sour Cabbage Heads Near Me How to Make Soured Cabbage Heads (Croatian Kiseli Kupus)

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60 mins

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960 hrs

961 hrs

192 servings

This recipe for Croatian soured cabbage heads (sauerkraut) is known as kiseli kupus (KEE-seh-lee KOO-poos), the leaves of which are used to make sarma. It’s getting increasingly difficult to find whole heads of soured cabbage (Kissel’s is one brand to look for, Marco Polo brand sells jarred leaves), so families get together to make a large batch to share. This recipe is from “The Best of Croatian Cooking” (Hippocrene Books Inc., 2007) by Liliana Pavicic and Gordana Pirker-Mosher. The horseradish and red peppers in this recipe give it quite a zip.


  • 24 sour cabbage heads

  • 3 1/2 cups salt, not iodized

  • 1 head garlic, peeled and broken into cloves

  • 1 (7-inch) piece horseradish, peeled and chopped

  • 3 red bell peppers, quartered and seeded

  • 15 bay leaves

  • 15 dried chili peppers

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash cabbage heads and remove any tough outer leaves and reserve. Core each cabbage and fill with salt. Place 1 layer cabbage heads, core-side up in barrel or crock.

  2. Add some of the garlic cloves, horseradish, red peppers (fresh and dry), and bay leaves. Place another layer of cabbage heads in the barrel and another portion of vegetables. Continue this way until the crock is full. Cover with reserved cabbage leaves.

  3. Fill barrel with as much water as it will hold without spilling over. Place a clean cotton or linen cloth on top of cabbage and then a clean, untreated wooden board. Weigh down with a heavy rock or another item, to keep the cabbage heads from rising during the fermentation process.

  4. Store the barrel in a garage or fruit cellar, or place that does not fall below freezing, on wooden skids off the floor. You may want to wrap some insulating material around the barrel if you live in chillier climes.

  5. The cabbage should be ready in about 40 days. Keep the brining water clean by skimming the foam off the surface with a slotted spoon or sieve (foaming should start in about 10 days). The soured heads can be frozen for later use or canned. Before using kiseli kupus, you can rinse the leaves, if desired. Chop them for any recipe calling for sauerkraut.


  • If you don’t have a large enough barrel or crock, the cabbage can be divided among smaller barrels or crocks.

Recipe Variation

  • Beets may be added to give cabbage a red color. Adding chopped quince will give a yellow color.

Video about Where To Buy Sour Cabbage Heads Near Me

Preserving whole cabbage heads. That good old pickled sour cabbage. A traditional recipe.

A traditional pickling recipe for whole cabbage heads, for that crunchy sour cabbage, incredibly delicious and punchy. This pickled cabbage recipe is easy to make, so follow along. 👇 More info below 👇

You can’t get it wrong if you follow my steps, as this old fashioned way of preserving cabbage has been in my family for generations. Making a video about it is my way of honouring and preserving my family’s cooking secrets.

This way of canning the whole cabbage (varza murata in Romanian) is especially appropriate if you’re planning to cook the Stuffed Cabbage Rolls at some point. And I have a wonderful recipe for the so-called Romanian stuffed sour cabbage rolls known as “sarmale”. Here it is https://youtu.be/D8hIpS7AaxI

Here’s what you need to make your own pickled cabbage


* 3 medium-sized cabbages;
If you’re planning to go for the stuffed cabbage rolls at some point, choose the variety of cabbage that has greener and thinner leaves, as well as smaller stalks. For this particular dish, you need to pickle the whole cabbage to have the leaves available for wrapping.
The variety that has whiter, thicker leaves, as well as larger stalks, is okay for salads or cooked meals, where you’re just using chopped pieces of cabbage.
* 1-2 horseradish roots – peeled and chopped as you wish;
* 4-5 fresh celery leaves;
* optional: 1 quince fruit (gives a nice colour and flavour);
* optional: 1 red cabbage (adds a purple tint).

* peppercorn – 1-2 Tbsp;
* 1-2 dry bay leaves;
* dry dill flowers and stems;
If you can’t find these, you can use dry dill seeds. Alternatively, if none of that is available for you, just use fresh dill. Dill is exactly what gives the sour cabbage that distinctive and addictive flavour.

⭐️ BRINE – quantities for 1l of brine (1 qt):
* These are the quantities for 1 litre of brine. You should multiply them to get as many litres as your container calls for. I used about 8 litres for mine.
* Mix 50 g (1.8 oz or 3 Tbsp) coarse salt without iodine for each litre of water and stir to until it has dissolved.

* A container with a larger opening, where everything will fit nicely. Or you can go for smaller jars if you only go for the chopped cabbage Sauerkraut style.
* Our family tradition calls for a clean tube (any kind you can find) to help the fermentation process during the first 9 days.

You start with adding the spices, as well as the horseradish root and some of the celery stems. If you are going for the cabbage rolls, you want to place the whole cabbages.

If you don’t care about wrapping it later, you can cut the cabbage into quarters, this way you can squeeze in more of it in your container. There are no rules here, just place them as you wish, leaving as few empty spaces as possible. Place all the ingredients in no particular order.

At some point, you want to place a clean tube inside. It’s supposed to be just as long as to get to the bottom of your container.

Pour the brine to cover all ingredients. The tube can live inside the brine.

Shake your jug to get some of the air bubbles out. Close the lid, but not quite tightly.

After the first 3 days, open the lid, take a deep breath and blow some air inside a few times. You must do this process 3 times at a 3 days interval. This is for 2 reasons: to make sure the salt is evenly distributed in all the brine and also to get the remaining air hidden in the cabbage out.

After you’ve finished with the tube after 9 days, you can remove it from the jug and tighten up the lid.

Store it in the coolest, darkest place you have around. It should be ready anywhere between 1 month and a half and 2 months depending on the temperature it’s stored at.

I hope you’ll give it try guys! The most difficult part of this canning process is to go out and buy everything. Cheers!

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#sauerkraut #pickledcabbage #varzamurata #pickles #pickling #canning #preserving

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