Curtido Brussels Sprouts

Curtido Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are basically teeny tiny heads of cabbage. Anything that tastes good with cabbage, tastes good with Brussels sprouts. One of my favorite ways to make sauerkraut is as Curtido, a South American (El Salvado if you want to get uber specific) sauerkraut. Why not try it with my little mini cabbages?

I’ve read that curtido is traditionally made with pineapple vinegar, though some will use apple cider vinegar. I actually do have pineapple vinegar (recipe here: Pineapple Vinegar) but vinegar inhibits lactic acid bacteria, the bacteria we are trying to encourage. So rather than add pineapple vinegar, I added some canned pineapple. Fresh pineapple would probably be better but I didn’t have any. Normally I advise against using canned food in a ferment but there is enough lactic acid bacteria on the cabbage and carrots to get the ferment going.

That being said, curtido is not traditionally fermented. In El Salvador, they make it with vinegar and eat it right away. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ferment it. We can put all the wonderful flavors of curtido together and make an amazing ferment.

This teeny little morsels of yumminess do take more time that other ferments, especially if you leave the brussels sprouts whole. Cutting them in half will speed things up, so feel free to do that if you are impatient.

I normally let my cabbage ferments go for a full 12 weeks. Ferments naturally produce a lot of histamines and cabbage in particular is bad. If you are sensitive to histamines (google histamine sensitivity if you have no idea what I’m talking about), make sure you let it go the full 12 weeks. If histamines don’t bother you, feel free to start enjoying them right away. The sooner you eat them, the more fresh they taste. The longer you wait, the more sour they get. I would suggest waiting at least 3 weeks (one week on the counter, 2 weeks in the fridge) or longer. You can test when they are done by cutting a brussels sprout in half. If it looks fresh in the middle, it’s not done.

And for the record, it is curtido with a u, not cortido with an o. I have a good friend from El Salvador who I asked about this. C-u-rtido [coor-tee-do].

Curtido Brussels Sprouts


  • 3 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup carrot coins
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pineapple pieces (fresh or canned)
  • crushed red pepper to taste (fresh jalapeño peppers are great too)
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • pinch of oregano
  • 2% brine


  1. Peel off any leaves from brussels sprouts that don't look good. Leave whole or cut in half.
  2. In a 1.5 liter jar, add brussels sprouts, carrots, onion, red pepper, cumin and oregano.
  3. Pour 2% brine over everything. Use a glass or clay weight to keep everything under the brine.
  4. Seal jar and don't forget to add water to your airlock if using one.
  5. Set in a warm place and let ferment for about a week or until bubble activity slows down.
  6. Move to cold storage.
  7. If you are sensitive to histamines, let ferment in the fridge for at least 11 more weeks. They are ready when it tastes like sauerkraut instead of cabbage.

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9 comments to Curtido Brussels Sprouts

  • Lori

    I have something similar to to this that I made but I added cauliflower, garlic, and dill, I made it quite awhile ago, with some other things but I have them in my indoor storage room, and they seem to be fine, since I don’t have enough room in my refrigerator for all my ferments, is there anything that I should watch for to know that It definitely needs to go into the refrigerator, I also have dilly beans, beets, and pickles in there. They are now all in sealed mason jars, and the tops aren’t bulging or anything.

  • Kelly

    Can you use frozen brussels sprouts (thawed)?

    • It depends. They’ve probably been blanched so there wouldn’t be much lactic acid bacteria on the veggies. Also frozen veggies just have a different texture and usually turn out mushy. I wouldn’t recommend it myself.

  • Steve

    Hi Melanie – Interesting recipe. I can’t wait until Fall to get those sprouts. You didn’t indicate when to put in the pineapple. Is it with the sprouts?

  • Markku

    Hi Melanie, now that we are heading for spring, I would suggest using the buds of dandelions (after a couple of months 🙂 )instead of brussels sprouts.. Recipe might work as well that way. To be experimented :-))

    All the best.


  • KC

    Hello Melanie, This looks great, gonna make tonight…How much pineapple do you use in this recipe?

  • Micky

    I think you omitted something: You wrote 1/2 pineapple pieces. I suspect you left out the measurement. Is it 1/2 Cup?

    How big are the pieces?

    The brine: I recently read someone had calculated the 2% brine using the weight of the vegetable – cabbage in this case – and the weight of the water added to the ferment.

    Does that sound right?

  • Kathleen

    I am SO excited to try this recipe. My husband is from El Salvador and I make curtido all the time. The recipe I was given from his family uses 2 cups of white vinegar but I have been subbing out one cup for ACV and we like it better! One of these days I will go for the whole 2 cups. While we usually eat some right away, I let it sit on my counter for a few days to ferment a little. It only gets better. Our problem is we eat it up right away so it never gets really fermented.

    We also love Brussels sprouts and this looks so delicious, my daughter can’t eat Cruciferous foods due to her thyroid, and while we love them steamed, this looks like a great new way to eat them and a way to enjoy them later when they are not in season. Thank you for the recipe.

  • I love that you pickled brussels sprouts, I have such a difficult time getting my family and particularly kids to eat them. I think that pickling them could potentially add a different flavor that will get them on board with eating these vegetables. I’ve seen people ferment them too, as they are in the cabbage family – and therefore add some beneficial gut health to the picture when it comes to eating the end product. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am excited to try making it at home.

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