A fermented version of the Salvadorian classic pickled condiment! Pairs great with rice and beans, pupusas and more!
(makes 1 gallon)
2 large heads of cabbage
4 - 6 carrots
6 - 8 green jalapeño peppers
4 leeks (optional)
4 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano (optional)
Peel off two outer layers of cabbage leaves and save. Cut out and finely chop the core. Chop or shred cabbage leaves, carrots, jalapeños (seeds removed) and leeks (if using). Mix all vegetables with sea salt in a large bowl. Squeeze the vegetables and salt together with your hands, kneading gently until it releases its juice. Let it sit out for an hour to draw out more liquid. Pack the curtido - kraut tightly into a clean one-gallon vessel using your fist or a wooden tamper. Lay the two reserved whole cabbage leaves on top of the curtido - kraut and press down to submerge in the liquid. All the vegetables and the whole cabbage leaves should be below the liquid. If there is not enough liquid, add just enough additional water to submerge the cabbage.
Use a ceramic weight (or other creative weight) if necessary to keep vegetables submerged. Leave about an inch of headspace from the top of the vessel. As it ferments, it naturally produces carbon dioxide, which will cause everything to expand.
Cover jar loosely with a lid. Or, if you are using an airlock lid from our Fermenting Vegetable Kit, add water into airlock chamber and secure lid onto the jar. (If using a Pickle Pipe - stye airlock, no water is necessary). Let ferment in a dark spot (out of direct sunlight) at room temperature for a minimum of 5 days. Curtido - kraut can ferment for up to 30 days for a more complex and sour flavor. Taste the kraut every couple of days for your desired flavor. Transfer into the refrigerator to store for 6-12 months.
The cabbage leaves on top of the kraut provide an extra layer of protection against surface mold. Don't stress about mold! Simply discard the outer leaves if mold appears.