Fermented Curtido (Cortido)
Homemade curtido seasoned with spices and a simple brine
For the curtido:1¾ lb Cabbage, shredded½ lb Carrot, julienned or grated½ ea Onion, Red, julienned1 ea Jalapeño, minced (optional)¾ oz Salt, with no additives (this is 1oz of salt for every 3 lbs of vegetable)1½ tsp Oregano, dried½ tsp Cumin seed1 ea Lime, juiceFor the brine:1 oz Salt, with no additives1 Qt Water*Quality: For the best curtido, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. Any variety may be used (white, purple, Savoy, Napa), but late variety cabbages make superior curtido. For best results, shred cabbage and start curtido between 24 and 48 hours after harvest. Cabbages that have been properly stored may be used up to several weeks later.
- Discard outer leaves of cabbage.
- Rinse heads under cold running water and drain.
- Cut heads in quarters and remove cores.
- Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter.
- Put cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with all ingredients, salt and spices, using clean hands.
- Pack firmly into your clean fermentation container until salt draws juices from the cabbage mixture. Place a weight, such as a clean glass or plastic freezer bag with a few ounces of brine, on top of the cabbage mixture. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage mixture and keep the cabbage mixture submerged under the brine. If juice does not cover cabbage mixture, add additional brine.
- Seal your jar, but not airtight.
- Place on a plate to capture any excess liquid during the fermentation process.
- Store out of direct sunlight at 65° to 75°F while fermenting. At temperatures near 75°F, curtido will be finished in about 5 days; at 65°F, fermentation may take 7 to 9 days. You may allow your curtido to ferment even longer, but it is traditionally a shorter ferment.
- ***Caution: If the curtido becomes soft, slimy, or develops a disagreeable odor, discard. Fully fermented curtido may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months.