1 head organic green cabbage, shredded
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 jalapenos, sliced and cut in thirds
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
2 tsp. non-iodized salt per pound of vegetables
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, optional
2 quart jars, or 1 half gallon jar
1. Rinse the head of cabbage and save a large outer leaf to aid in keeping shredded cabbage submerged in liquid.
2. Core and slice cabbage, slice onion, slice jalapeno, grate carrot and mince garlic, if desired.
3. Weigh vegetables in a large bowl to see how much salt you will need to add.
4. Add salt and massage with your hands until it begins to release liquid.
5. Add lime juice and oregano, if desired, and mix well.
6. Pack the cabbage mixture into a jars and press down with a tamper, your fist or a ladle, leaving several inches of head space.
7. Fold up a cabbage leaf to approximately the size of the container and place on top of the sliced cabbage in the jar.
8. Place some type of weight on top of the cabbage leaf to keep the cabbage submerged.
9. Add additional liquid, if needed, to ensure that the cabbage is submerged. Use a solution of 1 tsp. non- iodized salt to 1 cup non-chlorinated water. Most cabbage in the supermarket is not super fresh. That's ok, it just means that it will produce less liquid than a fresher cabbage. I highly recommend that you add 1/2-1 cup of additional salt water liquid per quart to your curtido, especially if you're using cabbage from the grocery store. The reason for this is that when you put the finished curtido in the fridge, as it chills, it tends to soak up the liquid and you don't want dry curtido!
10. Place a lid on the jar and turn back slightly, so it's not tight, allowing the pressure to escape. Place a plate under the jar to catch any bubbling over that may occur.
11. Continue to press cabbage down occasionally during the first 24 hours. It will continue to release liquid.
12. Each day, I recommend sliding a knife down the side of the jar to release air bubbles and pockets and pressing down on the curtido. This will discourage mold growth. In addition, it will allow the jar to release pressure that builds as the curtido ferments.
13. I generally let this ferment for a week or two, but you can let it go as long as you like, with a minimum of 3 days in the summer and 4 days in the winter. The longer it ferments, the more complex the flavor will become. That being said, it's done when it tastes good to you! The main indicator that the lactobacillus has begun to work is that it will begin to taste sour, rather than just salty.
14. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge for up to a year.
Some people salt their cabbage to taste, but if you want a greater likelihood of successful ferments like curtido and sauerkraut, invest in an inexpensive scale. There are many kitchen scales under $10 on Amazon. If you plan on doing sourdough anytime in the future, a kitchen scale will come in handy for that as well. Make sure to get one that measures in grams, as well as ounces.
When I do curtido, I run the cabbage, onions and jalapeno through my food processor, on the thinest slice option. Then I grate the carrots with the food processor as well. It can be done by hand, but this speeds it up a bit.
If you don't have non-chlorinated water, set water out for at least 30 minutes and preferably overnight. This will allow the chlorine to dissipate, otherwise chlorine can kill the beneficial organisms necessary for a successful ferment.
With a 2 lb. cabbage head, this will make about 2 quarts; however, go ahead and make a half batch if you just want to give it a try.
I like these lids for ferments because they allow some of the gas to escape, but they also do not deteriorate and get yucky around the rim of the jar when ferments are stored in the fridge long term. If you want a tighter seal in the fridge, you can use seals like this with the lids.