Lacto-fermented foods are as delicious as they are healthy for you. They are a yummy way to introduce natural bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, acids, and probiotics to your digestive system. Eating fermented foods daily can help increase energy, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and even help you lose weight!
Today’s recipe is for an El Salvadorian slaw type condiment called ‘curtido.’ Curtido can be made with vinegar and served immediately, or you can ferment the ingredients with a salt brine for better health benefits! I personally prefer the taste of fermented curtido and find myself craving it daily!! Try it for yourself and see what you think!
Ingredients are all organic, when available.
Recipe followed almost exactly from the the original source. (If it ain’t broke..) 😉
- 2 heads of cabbage, cored and sliced
- 3 carrots, grated
- 2 jalapenos, grated
- 1 onion, grated
- 1 tbs red pepper flakes
- 1 tbs Mexican oregano
- Salt (3 tbs per 5 lbs of veggies)
- 2 clean quart sized jars with lids*
*I use the plastic replacement lids for my jars. These can be found at most grocery stores. You could also use an airlock on this ferment, though I rarely do and it still turns out great.
To prepare your curtido, begin by rinsing and grating your veggies. I like to use my food processor to grate the onion, carrots, and jalapenos, but you could also do this by hand. Make sure to remove the jalapeno seeds unless you like yours EXTRA HOT!
I like my cabbage to be a bit chunkier, so I slice that by hand making sure to remove the core. Place a large bowl on a scale to measure how much the veggies weigh. You want to add 3 tbs salt per 5 lbs of veggies, so you’ll have to do some math to determine the amount needed. Mine ended up being around 3.5 lbs, so I did a little over 2 tbs worth of salt. Add the spices and salt, then massage the veggies to distribute evenly.
Allow the veggies to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes. This will give the salt plenty of time to start it’s magic on the cabbage, which will begin releasing a lot of it’s liquid. Now, grab the two jars and begin filling with your curtido. Fill about 1/3 of the way, then take a blunt ended kitchen utensil (whatever you have that works) and press the curtido down to release more liquid. Continue adding curtido and pressing down until you have nothing left but liquid. Distribute the remaining liquid into each jar.
Press the veggies as far under the brine as you can and loosely fasten the lid. It’s not possible to get all the little pieces underneath the liquid, so don’t fret about that too much. Allow to sit at room temperature to ferment for a week, a month, or more. (I usually do a month minimum, though, it has happened on occasion that one jar gets eaten entirely before that time has elapsed lol.)
I like to press down the veggies in my curtido daily to prevent mold for the first few days. After awhile, the veggies will stay under the brine more easily and you no longer have to do this. Taste the curtido as the time passes and see what your ideal fermentation time is! Store in the fridge once it’s reached your desired taste.
After a month, the curtido will be crunchy and tangy, with a kick of heat and an amazing bite! The unique combination of flavors becomes indescribably delicious!! There are numerous ways to eat this stuff! In fact, I haven’t found a food that I don’t like combining this with yet! The traditional way to eat this delectable condiment is atop delicious pupusas, which, if you haven’t had them before, are pockets of cheesy heaven! (Pictured in the lower lefthand side of the collage below.)
I also like eating curtido on my chili cheese veggie dogs, inside sandwiches, on salads, and my favorite way might be the simplest: with goat cheese on crackers! However you decide to eat it, this fermented slaw is here to stay!! Here’s to your (gut) health! 😀