Curtido remains one of my favorite ferments. I love it’s flavor, verstility and ease of preparation. I’m posting this in anticipation of the holidays as the bright color lends itself well to any holiday dinner table. While I’ve posted a curtido recipe here before, I wanted to share another way of preparing it, more like a slaw, which lends itself to alternative ways of serving. it’s especially easy to make if you have a food processor, although a hand grater works fine too. I used red cabbage (I still don’t know if it’s best to call it purple cabbage) rather than the traditional green cabbage, partly because I love the intensity of the color when it’s done, but also because it packs more of a nutritional punch. I wrote some more about the nutritional benefits of red cabbage in an earlier post if you are curious
Please note that when making slaw-slyle ferments, it is especially helpful to use a crock or airlock as the small pieces naturally want to float to the surface, making for a greater chance of surface mold. I’ve made this a few times now and one time while using the jar-in-a-jar technique (which I depict below) I ended up with mold and had to discard. I’ve since committed to making this in a fermenting crock to consistently more positive results.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3-7 days
Yield: 6 cups
1 head red (purple) cabbage, shredded
1 medium onion, shredded
2 med carrots, shredded
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 1/2 T sea salt
3/4 T dried Mexican oregano (Italian fine but I prefer the flavor of Mexican for this recipe)
- Shred the cabbage, onion and carrots and place in a large bowl
- Dice the jalapeno and add to bowl
- Add the salt and oregano and toss
- Let it sit for 30 minutes or so until it begins to sweat
- Place all ingredients in a fermentation vessel (fermenting crock, or perhaps a 1 gallon glass wide mouth cookie jar) including any liquid that may have leached from the veggies
- Use your fist to compress the mix into the bottom of the vessel, encouraging the level of the liquid to rise
- place a weight directly on top of the mix (if using a wide mouth cookie jar, I use a 1/2 gallon jar filled with water). The point of this is to further the extraction of liquid from the veggies.
- Cover with a cloth to keep dust and other unsavories from getting inside
- Within 8-10 hours, there should be enough extracted liquid in the container to cover the veggies completely. Add a little water if necessary to make sure the veggies are covered by an inch of liquid. If adding water, mix it thoroughly again to give the salt a chance to fully integrate into the additional liquid
- Leave for 3 days and taste it. Should you decide to allow it to ferment longer, it will continue to grow more sour. The white color you see at the top of this ferment in the image to the right is actually foam from the gasses emitted during a happy fermentation.
- When ready, jar it up and refrigerate to significantly slow the fermentation
Serve it as a simple side salad, as a healthy topping to football game nachos,or a garnish along with traditional pupusas. I like to put it (or any sort of fermented cabbage dish really) as a topping to dosas.
I also posted a recipe for mixing this curtido with diced kale in making a delicious salad. You can check that recipe out here.