I’m no stranger to the art of fermentation, having been making beer and wine for over 30 years, but my adventures in fermenting food have been a little more limited.
My efforts have been largely limited to simple cabbage based ferments such as sauerkraut or kimchi, occasionally experimenting with other vegetables such as collard greens and tomatoes.
The theme for the November Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was fermentation and although I went with a cabbage based recipe it included quite a few other goodies and was something completely new to me: curtido, a cabbage relish from El Salvador that typically also features onions and carrots and is seasoned with oregano and lime juice.
It was a good opportunity to use some of the glut of napa cabbage from my CSA box as well as some of the fragrant oregano I had dried from my own garden.
The result was a tangy and tasty, like a fermented coleslaw and it makes an excellent side dish or is great on a burger.
Curtido: Fermented Cabbage Relish
1lb chopped napa cabbage
1 tbs pickling salt
5oz carrots, sliced thinly on a mandolin
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 green apple, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbs dried oregano
Juice of a lime
Put the cabbage and salt in glass or metal bowl, massage the salt into cabbage then leave for a couple of hours. The leaves should start to soften and yield some moisture.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine. Spoon the mixture into a quart jar and press down well.
I used a fermentation kit from masonjarlifestyle.com which provides everything you need to start playing about with fermentation in wide mouth mason jars. It comes with a silicon fermenting lid, and airlock and a glass weight which fits neatly in the jar to press down the vegetables below the brine.
If you don’t have any of that gear just put some cloth or paper towel on top secured with an rubber band and place on a plate to catch any liquid that might overflow.
Keep the jar out on a counter top for 2-3 days, checking occasionally that the liquid is bubbling and the mix has a tangy smell and flavour.
After that you can transfer the jar to your fridge and enjoy within 3-4 weeks.