Fermented Curtido — 33 Comments

  1. 3-4 days seems like quite a short ferment time to me. I usually ferment el curtido for 4-5 weeks. Have you ever let it go longer?

    (first two weeks ferment at 66º F, then three more weeks at 48º)

    Looking forward to checking out your site more!

    • I’ve never really let it go longer, except at around 38 degrees in my refrigerator. Seems really tasty and sufficiently ripe after 3-4 days. What happens with the flavor after a longer ferment? I’ll definitely try a longer ferment time with it to see what happens. Thanks for the tip, Jennifer.

      • I’ve been eating a new batch of curtido and this time let it ferment for a longer period, about 2 weeks. Definitely got a little sharper, a little more sour. Still very delicious and the texture seems to hold well after the longer ferment too. Been making veggie sausage sandwiches and topping it with this curtido and putting a little kombucha mustard on the bread. Yum.

  2. It was so delicious just as a salad, before the fermentation stage! I was almost sad to have had to ferment it!

  3. Does anyone know the probiotic difference between 3-4 days fermentation vs. the several week fermentation? I was thinking maybe the 3-4 day fermentation, while tasty, doesn’t really fit well into the probiotic fermentation diet “guidelines”.

    • Hi,
      my understanding is this:
      1 to 3 days depending on temperature Leconostoc Mesenteroides grows.
      10-30 days depending on temperature, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus cucumeris grow.
      the final stage lasting under one week Lactobacillus Brevis grows.
      All of these are beneficial, and if you eat a ferment 1-3 days old, you will get more of the Leconostoc Mesenteroides. All good, and depends on peoples taste preference.

      • What is the maximun period one can ferment at room temp, before you need to put it in the fridge? And how come non-secretors usually have problems eating too much of these lacto? I develop athritic pains and even pains inside my bones when consuming lacto too frequently?

        • I don’t think much about maximum times for fermentations at room temperature. The main issue that I’ve come across is that the ferment will continue to become more sour tasting over time. Refrigerating primarily serves to slow the fermentation which helps maintain flavor. I unfortunately can ‘t speak to why some folks might have difficulty eating too much lactofermented foods. Perhaps it comes from consuming too much acidity…?

  4. Curtido is my favorite kind of kraut. Personally I like it 3-4 days…more than that is too sour for me (at least for eating it raw, as a side dish), but I’m probably a wimp as far as sauerkraut eaters go. :^) I use more carrot and less onion than you do, and like my carrot cut into small pieces rather than grated. I probably use more salt than you. All pretty minor differences and things to play with “to taste.”

    The color added by red chilis adds to the visual appeal so I try to use those. Typically the kind I find are less hot than jalapenos so you can use more for the same heat level.

    If you can find mexican oregano, which is a bit different, and stronger than the greek oregano most common in Anglo cooking, give that a try. That, I understand, is the more authentic thing to use. When I use that I back off the quantity somewhat.

    I’ve substituted marjoram for the oregano, and also thyme. Both are good, and I think my preference is the marjoram.

  5. SteveV: you almost certainly have less numbers or variety of probiotics in a short ferment. But I look at it this way: I get more probiotics if the flavor is at my sweet spot and I eat more if it. I like it not too sour, and I like it fresh and crunchy, and I WANT to eat it when it’s that way. If I ferment it longer, and I’m not that excited about the taste anymore, I have to make myself eat it, or find creative ways to mix it with something else to cut the sourness, so I end up eating less of it. So if I worry to much about “optimum levels of probiotics” it ends up being self-defeating.

    • I know this is a fairly old post, but I wanted to comment on the probiotic levels question. I do not think that a 3-4 day ferment would have appreciably fewer probiotics, the difference would be primarily in the type of probiotics present. Most bacteria reproduce exponentially every thirty minutes to an hour. Seeing as a given environment (the fermentation crock) can only sustain so many organisms, it wouldn’t take long for this carrying capacity to be reached. What certainly does happen in lacto-ferments is a succession of lactobacteria. The initial lactobacilli that colonize the brine favor relatively low acid. When these get weak and start to die off from the lactic acid they’re creating another strain of lactobacilli starts to colonize. This happens until the strains of lactobacilli that are most acid loving have colonized the ferment.

      In short, there may be slightly fewer probiotics in a younger ferment, but the real difference should be the type of lactobacilli present. I would think that it’s beneficial to eat fermented foods across that whole range, this way you’re diversifying the probiotics that you’re supplying to your gut.

  6. I just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I have been searching for this for about 4 years. You made my day!!!! I am now on my second batch. AND you have started me on my journey of ‘cultured’ foods. Thanks so much!

  7. Hi Ted,
    here is that recipe for cucumber kim chee. It is from The Kim Chee cookbook by Lauryn Chun. She slice her cucumbers thinly, but I like them chunky, and they last longer. Michelle
    Quick Cucumber and Chive Kim Chee.
    2 pounds cucumber
    2 Tablespoons salt
    2 Tablespoons Korean Chili flakes
    2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
    1 1/2 tea sugar
    about 4 chives or green onion, green part only
    cut into thin diagonal slivers
    2 Tablespoons thinly sliced onion
    Halve the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, and cut into 3/4 inch chunks. In medium bowl, mix cucumbers with the salt until well combined. Set aside for 5-7 minutes, until cucumbers sweat and glisten. They will lose some firmness, but should still have some crunch. Place the cucumbers in a colander and rinse, then pat dry. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers with the chile pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar and set aside for 10 minutes for flavors to combine. Add chives and onion and toss to combine. Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

  8. My brother turned me on to your blog, for the red hot fermented pepper sauce, and now I’m roaming all over.
    I’ve never actually fermented anything, so please forgive this stupid question.
    Do you remove the weight before covering the jar with a cloth?
    Thank you.

    • Don’t worry, it’s not a stupid question. The important thing is keeping the veggies submerged under the liquid during the fermentation. Leaving the weight on helps ensure that. Maintaining an anaerobic environment is very important if you want your ferments to turn out well.

  9. This is the first thing I have fermented. I am a culinary school graduate and I gave this a try to learn more about the fermentation process. Next will be pepper sauces and then pickles.

  10. An abbreviation other than ‘T’ would be useful for readers to easily distinguish a teaspoon from a tablespoon.

  11. I found this overly salty. Perhaps just my taste, but my wife had the same comment. Has anyone else found this? And if I add more plain water to it and allow it to sit for longer, will that mitigate the saltiness?


    • You should just use less salt, not add more water. Sitting longer will not change the salt concentration, although it will get more sour, and that might affect how salty you perceive it to be. (I find the reverse to be true for me…if something tastes too sour to me, adding more salt can help it seem less sour to me.)

    • Thanks for sharing your tips, I’ll track down some manzanos and try those too. I grow my own oregano so always use that, but I’ll check out “Mexican oregano” too to see what that flavor is like. Thank you!

  12. Interesting about time/temperature fermenting periods. I am not very conscious of them and allow my cabbages to ferment about 10 days. My salsas vary. Latest ones about 1 week and n ot sure that was enough but they are okay.

  13. I’m new new to the fermenting game. Curtido is traditionally made with vinegar ( I prefer ACV like my mommy makes it.). Does vinegar keep things from getting probiotics? I’ve never fermented my curtido

    • That’s actually an interesting question! I personally never add vinegar to my ferments because during the fermentation process lactic acid gets released and lowers the pH and helps with preservation just like vinegar does. If I were to venture a guess I’d say that fermentation (and thus the development of probiotics) would continue is an acidic vinegar environment, but that the higher the concentration of vinegar, the less that the probiotic bacteria would thrive. Welcome to the fermenting game. Feel free to ask more questions.

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