Fermented cabbages such as Curtido are well respected in the gut health world and for good reasons. It is a powerful source of probiotics which are the gold standard for improving your digestive system. Keep reading to learn how to make Curtido (we recommend watching the video and going back to this article)
What is Curtido?
As sauerkraut is to Germans and kimchi is to Koreans, curtido is the fermented vegetable dish found in El Salvador. In addition to its cabbage base it typically has onions, carrots, red pepper, and oregano. Like all of the other ferments, curtido is packed with a wide range of probiotics from lactic acid producing bacteria which have all be outlined above.
The most additional and notable health benefits come from the addition of oregano. On its own, raw oregano has significant health benefits from the high amounts of antioxidants and its active ingredient carvacrol.
The curtido benefits stems from the rich amount of probiotics found in it. However, the main benefit of this fermented dish comes from the ingredient carvacrol.
Scientific research has found evidence for:
- Health promoting antioxidants
- Enhances immune system
Carvacrol is a phenol that has been found to be successful against fighting off infections, inflammation, and pain <1>. What makes curtido especially interesting is that the fermentation process makes these properties more bioavailable to us and maximizes the effectiveness. Carvacrol is also one of the best phenols to fight against candida.
Consuming curtido not only supports the GI tract with the lactic acid bacteria but it’s also great for treating a cold or the flu from the bio-available carvacrol.
While there aren’t many studies that have been done on curtido, perhaps due to its origin and funding, we do know that it is swimming in diversity from lactic-fermentation <2>. We can only extrapolate what that might look like after the addition of the other medicinal ingredients like oregano.
What Do I Need?
- 1 head organic cannonball cabbage, coarsely chopped
- 2 organic carrots, grated
- 1 organic onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp organic dried oregano
- 1 tbsp organic dried red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp non-iodized salt
- Glass 1000 ml (quart) jar
What Are The 10 Steps To Make Curtido
1. Sterilize all surfaces and equipment
2. Coarsely chop cabbage and add to bowl
3. Sprinkle sea salt to mix
4. Massage cabbage to break down cell walls
5. Begin incorporating other ingredients and continue to massage
6. Once mix creates enough liquid add to jar compressing after each addition
7. Mix should be firmly packed into the jar and submerged under its juices
8. Leave approximately ½ inch of head space and place intact cabbage leaf to keep mix in anaerobic condition under the juices
9. If vessel does not have an airlock you need to “burp” 1x/day to release
10. You are free to decide how long you want to ferment. I recommend 2-4