At Healthmakers we like doing things spontaneously and we never keep things traditional, just to keep our creative juices going. As one of our many impromptu adventures, we all joined in the fun of making our very own fermented curtido, a tasty cabbage salad with a Spanish origin that is a combination of salty, sour and just the right amount of chilli to give it an unexpected bold flavour. This was a completely new experience for most that involved a whole lot fun, exploration and experimenting. We just had to share with you! So here goes… you will need:
A sharp kitchen knife
A chopping board
A large mixing bowl or a couple of medium sized bowls
A fermentation pot like the Harsch Fermentation Crock Pot
1 large white cabbage
1 medium sized red cabbage
500 grams carrots (sliced into thin strips)
1 large red pepper (sliced into thin strips)
1 large yellow pepper (sliced into thin strips)
2 medium sized lemons (preferably organic, you will only need the lemon rind finely chopped)
5 medium sized green chilli peppers (sliced into thin strips)
2 large onions (finely chopped)
1 handful oregano
Salt preferably coarse sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1 cabbage outer leaf
Before starting, wash your hands with plain water.
We used mandoline slicers to shred our cabbage, we then added all the other ingredients and mixed everything together which weighed a total of about 5 kilograms. To add the salt we used a rule of 1 levelled dessert spoon for each kilogram.
We divided the mixture into separate bowls and started to gently massage the ingredients to thoroughly mix the salt into the cabbage and the other ingredients (this is highly therapeutic as well 🙂 ). As you keep on massaging the ingredient you will note that they become moist and start releasing liquid. This takes a good 15-30 minutes. With that simple exercise you have created a natural brine.
The mixture was then transferred to our 5 litre Harsch Gartopf Fermentation Crock Pot with Weights. Once all the contents were transferred we pressed the mixture down to release the brine, this has to be done until all the brine covers the mixture completely as this prevents it from being exposed to air which could result in your Sauerkraut rotting….a definite unwanted result.
To ensure that the Curtido was completely covered and submerged in brine we added an outer cabbage leaf. It was also gently pressed down so that it was also covered by the brine. This was followed by the stone weights which were also pressed down until completely submerged in the brine. Finally we put crock pot lid as a final cover. The Harsch fermentation crock pots are designed in a unique way, they contain a water groove where the lid fits. This groove should be filed with water during the entire fermentation process. It ensures that the pot is sealed airtight while allowing for gases within the pot to escape.
Our crock pot was stored in a cool dry area and then the waiting began,
…….and some more waiting…. because it is winter we had to wait a bit longer than usual. In warmer months the average ferment is ready in 7 to 10 days ……
and finally after 14 days, the curiosity got the better of us and we eagerly fetched the crockpot and opened it. The first thing we noticed were a few bubbles, which are not a bad thing , just a good sign that your fermentation process is coming along very well. We scooped these out and removed the stone weights and then the outer cabbage leaf and there it was a beautiful PINK Curtido! You are probably wondering what it tasted like….well it is the perfect balance of rich flavours, tanginess and crunch!
Then the storage process began and for a second there I thought we had a bottomless pit of Curtido, the more we scooped into jars the more it abundant it seemed. We managed to fill this glass jar and we still had more than enough left over. In fact we had so much left over that everyone took some home to share some with their loved ones :-). Now you can make your own batch at home.
Did you know?
Sauerkraut is known to be very rich in Vitamin A, C and K. It is also a good source of iron, calcium and other essential minerals. The cabbage used in Sauerkraut is a rich source of fibre and also contains other properties that are very good for your digestive health.