Photo Credit: Julie Laing

Fermented Curtido


Makes 1 half-gallon


15 min


1h 00 min


1 small green cabbage

2 medium red-onions, thinly sliced

5 medium carrots, shredded

1 Fresno chile, cut into 1/4-inch rings

5½ T [44 grams] Diamond Crystal kosher salt, divided

3 T minced fresh oregano or 1 T crumbled dried oregano

Zest of two limes


  1. Set aside the cabbage’s loose outer leaves. Place the stem end on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the cabbage down to the stem in quarters, then cut out the pieces of solid core. Lay each wedge flat-side down on the cutting board and cut it into thin strips.

  2. In a large, wide bowl, put about half of the cabbage, onion, carrot, and chile. Sprinkle and toss it with 3 tablespoons of salt. Add the remaining vegetables and 2½ tablespoons of salt and toss again. Let sit for about 1 hour, then mix in the oregano and lime zest, pressing and squeezing to release liquid.

  3. In a clean ½-gallon jar or crock, firmly pack the vegetables and liquid. Cover the surface with a whole cabbage leaf, top with a weight, and cover the fermenting vessel, preferably with an air lock. Let sit in a dark, cool place to cure.

  4. After 24 hours, check that the surface layer is still submerged. If it’s exposed, add enough brine with a 2.5% concentration [2¼ teaspoons, or 6 grams, of Diamond Crystal kosher salt dissolved in 1 cup of room-temperature, unchlorinated water] to submerge the vegetables. Continue to check the fermentation daily, releasing air bubbles over the first 2 days. Top off with brine and skim off any filmy surface layer as needed.

  5. Taste after 3 to 5 days of curing; continue fermenting an additional 3 to 5 days as needed, until the curtido reaches your preferred flavor. Store the finished curtido in a glass container with a nonreactive lid in the refrigerator. As long as it stays submerged in its brine, it will keep for months.


Excerpt from The Complete Guide to Pickling by Julie Laing, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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