I'm making a first attempt at pickling cabbage. I compressed some cabbage in a suitable container, and added hot vinegar with spices to it, making sure to fill it right up to the brim. I put it in the fridge.

The next day I take a look at it, and presumably the cabbage absorbed some of the liquid, since there's a 5cm or so gap at the top.

Should I add more vinegar to it and top it up? Or just leave it as it is?

  • 1
    next time you make it, make certain all the air bubbles come to the top, I think this is what happened; you poured your vinegar solution and the cabbage trapped the air bubbles making it looks like your filled to the top.
    – Max
    Apr 12, 2020 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


Generally yes you should top up the solution, anything exposed to air even in the fridge will start to spoil. Many pickling jars have an insert and/or weight that you can add at the top to make sure the food remains submerged.


Are you making vinegar pickles or fermented pickles? Sauerkraut is usually a fermented product, which uses salt, not vinegar. So, I am a little unclear.

In either case, I'm doubtful that the cabbage absorbed anything, but your vegetables should always be submerged. Usually that is accomplished by weighing them down. If they are fully compressed you can certainly top off your container with a brine solution. The reason for this is that the cabbage above the solution will likely develop mold.

The refrigerator is not a typical place for fermentation to happen. Pickling usually takes place at slightly warmer temperatures (though, if you are just making vinegar pickles, which are not fermented, the fridge is the right place). I keep mine in a cold basement room, for example. Refrigeration will dramatically slow the fermentation process.

  • It's pickling, not fermenting, so I'm using vinegar.
    – Haedrian
    Apr 12, 2020 at 13:43
  • In that case, because you are at refrigeration temps, the same advice generally applies, though you are at less risk of mold forming (as long as you keep fingers out of the container).
    – moscafj
    Apr 12, 2020 at 14:05
  • @haedrian- They are both pickling. There is vinegar pickling and fermentation pickling. You sound like you expected "pickling" to imply vinegar but that is not the case. Jul 12, 2020 at 21:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.