Hundred-Year-Old Bavarian Cabbage Recipe


I found a delightful Bavarian Cabbage recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine. This traditional German dish was refreshingly sweet-sour (more sour than sweet), and would be lovely served with sausages, roast beef, or pork. It tasted very authentic; and if I closed my eyes and listened hard enough, I could almost see myself sitting at an outdoor cafe on the banks of the Rhine on a cool October day while listening to merry Octoberfest music.

Here’s the original recipe.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (February, 1916)

Here’s how I updated the recipe for modern cooks:

Bavarian Cabbage

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1/2 head cabbage (6 cups) shredded cabbage

1 tablespoon bacon drippings or butter (I used bacon drippings.)

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Using medium heat, meltΒ  the bacon drippings (or butter) in a frying pan; add onions and cook until tender (but not browned). Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Then add the shredded cabbage and stir; cover the pan and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pan cover once or twice during cooking to make sure there is enough liquid; if too dry add enough water to keep from burning. (I did not need to add any water.)

I used less salt than the original recipe called for. One tablespoon of salt seemed like a lot – so I decided that it probably was a typo and instead used 1 teaspoon of salt. I also didn’t quite understand the last part of the old recipe about cold water (though I’m guessing that it was directing the cook to wash the cabbage prior to cooking).

39 thoughts on “Hundred-Year-Old Bavarian Cabbage Recipe

  1. This sounds good! I wonder if the cabbage was soaked in cold water to crisp it up so it would shred better. I do that with collard greens if they go limp before I get them cut up. Just a thought…

    1. That makes sense. I bet you’re right that they soaked the cabbage in water. This recipe was from the February issue of the magazine. Back then a cabbage in February would have been stored for several months, and may have been getting dried out and limp.

  2. Sounds good!
    I think you’re right. The cabbage was probably cut and then was covered with water so all the dirt sinks down, then placed in the pot with some of the water still on. I use this method when steaming Swiss chard.
    One thing I didn’t was the onion juice? Interesting! πŸ™‚

    1. The old recipe said to use either 1 tablespoon onion juice or finely cut onion. I wasn’t quite sure about the onion juice, so I decided to go with the chopped onion option. πŸ™‚

    1. hmm. . . I’ll have to think about that. I’m always trying to improve my skill at describing foods, but this combination may not have quite worked. πŸ™‚

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