a jar of home fermented curtido

The Mason Jar Chronicles – Curtido

The Mason Jar Chronicles here at Nibs and Bits will, yes, chronicle my/my family’s adventures in fermentation, water-bath canning, and pretty much anything and everything that can be crammed into a mason jar – that can and will includes cold brew coffee(s) and various fruit-y and non fruit-y beverages. Follow along for the triumphs and the let-downs!

First, what the heck IS curtido?

Curtido (Spanish pronunciation: [kuɾˈtiðo]) is a type of lightly fermented cabbage relish. It is typical in Salvadoran cuisine and that of other Central American countries, and is usually made with cabbage, onions, carrots, and sometimes lime juice; it resembles sauerkraut, kimchi, or tart cole slaw.

Now ya know – let me tell you, IT’S REALLY GOOD!

The recipe I followed recommended a two week fermentation time, but, since it’s summer in our un-air conditioned home, a week was just right to get the tang and crunch desired. Well, that and I needed to use the small crock to get some traditional sauerkraut going. The large crock is full of sour pickles doing their thang for a few more days. Just in case you were wondering the personal life of my two crocks. 🙂

After the extensive prep that went into making a batch of kimchi, this curtido was a breeze. The ingredients are few and easy to prep: shredded cabbage, sliced carrots, oregano – I used our greek oregano I dried at the beginning of summer, sliced onions, minced garlic, ground cumin, and chili flakes/powder. The curtido’s flavor is sweet and herbaceous in the best way possible – I can definitely see why it’s coined the “winter salsa” in Central American cuisine.  It will be delicious on tacos, tostadas, or pretty much anything we choose to put it on. Heck, my husband and I eat it straight up!

As a beginner in the fermenting game, I would highly recommend this as any newbies 1st project.  It’s wildly satisfying and straight forward.

Now, excuse me while I go make some tacos to put this goodness on!

fermentation crock
What a crock!
cutting cabbage
Ready to do some shredding!
Cutting cabbage
curtido ingredients
Prep: carrots, onions, oregano, chili, cumin, and garlic.

Now, wait and watch for 5-7 days or however long you chose to let it “cook” – and remember to check the water moat in the crock…

curtido from above
Pretty and tangy goodness after a week in the crock – made a 1/2 gallon.
ferments in the fridge
The refrigerator is happy:  kimchi, curtido, and pickles that were bound for water-bath canning but then I got too lazy and they became refrigerator pickles. Also, did you know in South Korea they have kimchi refrigerators – I kid not, LOOK. Now THAT sounds magical!
curtido ferment
When storing I pushed down and covered the cabbage with the juice – just sayin’ – or you could just eat down to the juice.

Seriously, make some. It will not disappoint!

More ‘Mason Jar Chronicles’ HERE!

I used the recipe for curtido from this book – and also, for a beginner, this book is SUPER approachable and an easy segue into fermentation! Of note, for those as neurotic about food safety as I am sometimes, there’s even a “scum guide” to help identify OK and NOT OK scum that may build up on your ferments. Very helpful!

3 thoughts on “The Mason Jar Chronicles – Curtido

  1. Yum on the fermentation goodies!! I will look forward to trying a bite of each if available. Doesn’t anything look better in a Mason jar??? Well, almost.

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