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Curtido, Revised

Curtido

I’ve had a number of people ask why I’m doing the revisions.  Is the method for anaerobic fermentation all that different that I need to revise my recipes?

Yes and no.  It is simple to just remove the whey and use a 2% salinity.  The reason I’m doing this is so people don’t find conflicting things on my site.  One recipe calls for whey and measures salt in tablespoons and the next is saying not to use whey and has a different way of measuring salt.  The old recipes are still there but you’ll see a link bringing you to the updated recipe.

On to the recipe!

I know you hear me say such and such is one of my favorite ferments.  Well, curtido is #1 on the list.  I adore curtido and I eat it on everything.  Well, everything except ice cream.  I eat it on my eggs for breakfast, it goes on my hamburger for lunch and it’s a topping on pizza for dinner.  Love it!

Sauerkraut (curtido is a South American sauerkraut) is quite different than most ferments and requires a much longer fermenting time.  You don’t have to understand all the science mumbo jumbo behind sauerkraut and I’m not going to go into it here but it is interesting if you are so inclined.

The biggest changes to the recipe are of course leaving out the whey and using a different salt ratio.  I’m also changing the recommended fermenting time.  Sauerkraut is a loooong ferment.  No “5 days on the counter and enjoy”.  It needs a minimum of 12 weeks or longer for the full benefit.  Kathleen from Pickl-it explains her method for fermenting cabbage here in the Pickl-it forum.  This recipe is based off of her recommendations.

Curtido 

  • 4 lb head of cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 8 oz of carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 8 oz onion, shredded
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper or 5 fresh cayenne peppers chopped (adjust amount to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 22 gms of salt
In a large non-reactive bowl, combine everything.  Mash together using a wooden spoon or or this masher from Cultures For Health.  You can also use your hands to really squeeze the juices out.  Once the juice is released from the vegetables, begin layering and pounding the mixture into a Pickl-It or fermenting crock.
Press the cabbage firmly so that you have a good 1-2″ of brine over the top of the cabbage.  If your cabbage is dry and you don’t have that much brine, add a little 2% brine over the top (19 gms of salt per 1 quart of water).
To keep the cabbage under the brine, you can either use carrot peelings arranged in a spoke formation or a cabbage leaf with a Dunk’R on top.  Like this:

Carrots arranged in a spoke to keep floaties down.

Seal your jar and let set at room temp for 3-10 days according to the temp in your house.  Kathleen recommends fermenting at 68-72F for 10 days and reducing the time by 2 days for each degree over 72F.  For instance, 7 days for 73F, 5 days for 74F and no more than 3 days for any temp of 75F.  Cabbage is not traditionally made in the heat of the summer but rather is made once the temps start cooling down.
After the 3-10 days at room temp, place kraut in a cool location.  Ideally a basement or root cellar that is around 55F.  If you don’t have a cool place like that, you can store the kraut in the warmest part of your refrigerator which is usually either in the door or the top shelf toward the front (bottom shelf in the back is the coldest part).
In this cool location, let the kraut ferment for a minimum of 10-12 weeks.  Many people don’t touch the kraut until 6 months have past. You can taste the kraut at this point.  It should not taste like cabbage or be salty.


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