Better than Sauerkraut: Homemade Curtido

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What, may you ask, is better than Sauerkraut: Homemade Curtido, that’s what!! The extra vegetables add a layer of sweetness that tops Sauerkraut in my humble opinion.. and it’s toddler approved! What more do we need?!!Let’s do some fermenting..

A bubbling jar of fermented vegetables showing homemade Cortido

Better than Sauerkraut: Homemade Curtido

Gut health is all the rage nowadays!

Most people have heard that it’s a key component in our health and wellbeing.

It affects our immune system(1), our digestive system(2), our mental health(3) and much more.

So why don’t we take it more seriously?

Gut health is Important

There are so many pills that can be popped, or mass produced milk drinks that promise to help you populate your tummy with the best bugs around!!

A box of bio-Kult

In the UK though, apart from live yoghurt, the Lacto-Fermented foods that provide those good bacteria in natural form just aren’t part of our culture. Places like Germany and various parts of Scandinavia have fermented foods as part of their staple diet, and they pass these skills down from generation to generation.

Less so here. We’re so busy, racing around, that if we can take a pill, or drink a yoghurt drink, then lets get the job done faster! Mamas and Grandmas aren’t around to pass on their skills, because they don’t really have them themselves. We have lost them along the way..

I’m all about the slow living..

That doesn’t quite sit right with me.

I like sourdough bread, I like slow cooked stews, I like prepping meals to put on my pantry shelf and I like fermenting food.

All of these things take time.. We are losing the art of taking our time.

Fermented foods take anywhere from 3-10 days to reach the desired level of ‘done-ness’. This means planning ahead. This means watching and waiting. This means tasting and adjusting. It means time.

I think that’s worth it.

So Why Is Curtido Better?

Well, Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, water salt and spices.

The salt keeps any bad bacteria at bay until the naturally occurring enzymes and bacteria (predominantly Lactobacilli) can colonise the product. They consume the starch in the cabbage and produce lactic acid which is what makes the fermented food taste tangy and sour.

The more the bacteria consume, the more lactic acid they produce, the tangier the food.

Everyone has a different tolerance to the tang so it’s completely down to preference when it’s tangy ENOUGH!

CURTIDO has cabbage in it, yes, but I add other veggies too to create diversity.

Diversity in the Gut Biome is SO important, because there are so many different types of bacteria, all living together inside us. 
We needs to feed them a range of foods, and populate as many types of the bacteria as we can, so we create a robust and healthy system.

Curtido Ingredients

This really is a simple recipe.

Cabbage, Carrots, onion, and salt.

And a jar to ferment it in.

A mason jar will do, you absolutely do not need any fancy equipment to ferment, but there are things that can make it easier, like my fermenting jar. I have used jars up to now, and they work great. I invested in this jar now we have found a recipe that we love. Just for ease.

I use a food processor to grate mine but you can just chop it all up if you prefer.

Sprinkle on some salt, and then BASH it!!

I use an old rolling pin and bash it for about 10 mins.

A large metal bowl full of pressed veggies to make Cortido, with a rolling pin leaning in it

Doing this will help the veggies produce their own salty liquid.

If it doesn’t look like there is not enough to cover the veggies once in the jar, leave it for about 30 mins covered in a tea towel and go back for another pounding session.

Fill the jar, but pack it down. I use the rolling pin to press it in. This is to get all the air out. Air is not your friend at this point.

Push all of the veggies under the surface of the water. You must make sure to cover the vegetables to keep mould and other bacteria at bay. Again, there are special weights etc you can buy, but I’ve used small jars filled with water, or a really scrubbed clean stone from the beach. Here though, I folded the washed outer leaf of the cabbage and pressed that in the top. Worked a treat!!

Someone placing a cabbage leaf into a jar of homemade Cortido to weigh it down

Loosely put a lid on, so the air can escape and set somewhere warm to do it’s thing!!!

Check each day with a clean spoon/fork to see when it tastes the best to you.

It should be tangy and sweet, like pickles you would buy, but better..

Once you like the taste, place in the fridge to stop it fermenting any more, and enjoy on sandwiches, salads, in stews, with cold meats or on crackers!

  • If you don’t have enough liquid covering the vegetables, you can make a brine with water and salt to top it up with. Your brine should be around 2-3%; that means you weigh your water, find 2% in grams and add that much salt. stir well, and add to the jar to cover the vegetables.
  • Trust your judgement – if it smells strongly off, or you see mould growing on the top, don’t use it.
  • Make sure to thoroughly clean all the equipment to avoid contaminating the finished product. We are growing bacteria, but we want to make sure they are the right ones!!!
  • You could add different veggies in once you get the recipe down, anything that would stay firm, so probably not tomatoes in this one…

If you’re looking for other recipe ideas, give these a try

Fermented Peppers for Hot Sauce

Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce

Further Reading:

  1. The Role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis
  2. How does your gut Microbiome affect overall health
  3. The Surprising link between your microbiome and mental health

Homemade Curtido

Better than Sauerkraut, for flavour and sweetness, give this Curtido a try, and I promise your Gut will thank you
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Salvidorian
Servings 1 Jar
Calories 30 kcal


  • 1 Head Cabbage, Finely sliced or grated
  • 1 Small Red onion, finely sliced or grated
  • 2 Medium Carrots, grated
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Pink Himalayan Salt


  • 1 Tbsp Pickling Spices
  • 1/2 Tsp oregano


  • Start by thoroughly cleaning the jar and utensils
  • Chop, shred or grate the veggies, and place in a large bowl
  • Sprinkle in the salt, and use a heavy implement (a rolling pin) to bash the veggies in order to release the liquid.
  • Leave for 30 mins and bash 'the technical term1' again.
  • Place into jar, and pack down tightly. cover the veggies with their own juices.
  • Weigh down with a weight, a jar, or a folded cabbage leaf, loosely place the lid on and place in a warm place
  • Check each day until desired flavour is reached and then place in the fridge to stop further fermentation
  • Use on sandwiches, salads, cold meat, soups and stews



Keep for up to 12 months in the fridge
Check regularly for mould on the top.
Awlays push the vegetables under the water line to prevent moulding
Keyword Fermented food

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