Fermented foods are among humans oldest attempt to preserve food. There has been a resurgence of fermenting vegetables due to the numerous health benefits. Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) was mentioned in early Roman writings; it has a long history. Sauerkraut contains high levels of dietary fiber, as well as significant levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and various B vitamins. It is a good source of iron, manganese, copper, sodium, magnesium, and calcium.

Health Benefits of Sauerkraut
  • Energy Production: There are high levels of iron found in cabbage which can be very beneficial to the body.
  • Digestive Health: Cabbage has a high fiber content which is a key point in any diet that can benefit one’s digestive health.
  • Heart Health: Fiber is able to scrape off dangerous cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels by binding with the fats and cholesterol, removing them from the body.
  • Eye and Skin Health: Sauerkraut contains quite a few carotenes and a significant amount of vitamin A. This essential vitamin acts as an antioxidant and eliminates free radicals from the body’s system.
  • Immune System Booster: Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C.
  • Inflammation Reduction: The phytonutrient antioxidants contained in sauerkraut can double as anti-inflammatory agents, reducing the pain and discomfort of joints, muscles, and other inflamed areas.
  • Cancer Prevention: The presence of antioxidant compounds in sauerkraut (all cruciferous vegetables) means free radicals can be eliminated, which are one of the main causes behind cancerous cell formation.
  • Strong Bones: The wide range of minerals found in sauerkraut make it ideal for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

Fermented foods have a phenomenal benefit in your overall wellness. They can heal your gut to optimize health or reverse disease. Culturing your own vegetables can give you a jump start to achieving better health. Also, remember it is important not to heat fermented foods as this kills the “good” bacteria.

Here is a great recipe for a type of sauerkraut called Curtido. Curtido is a type of lightly fermented cabbage relish. It is typical in Salvadoran cuisine and that of other Central American countries. This sauerkraut/relish can be used like traditional sauerkraut, eaten on its own, or in place of salad dressing.


  • Canning jars, wide mouth quart or half gallon size. I like the quart size for easy access.
  • Fermenting lids (I used these)
  • Weights (these will work great)

Ingredients for Curtido

Starter Culture

Prepared vegetables

Curtido ready to ferment

Curtido (Cabbage relish/sauerkraut)

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Category: Side

Cuisine: Salvadoran/Central American Cuisine

Yield: Approximately 3 to 4 quarts

Curtido (Cabbage relish/sauerkraut)

Curtido is a type of lightly fermented cabbage relish. It is typical in Salvadoran cuisine and that of other Central American countries. This sauerkraut/relish can be used like traditional sauerkraut, eaten on its own, or in place of salad dressing.


  • 1 medium sized head green cabbage, organic
  • 1 medium sized head red cabbage, organic
  • 1 onion, organic (white, yellow, or red)
  • 1 bell pepper,organic (green, red, orange, or yellow)
  • 2-3 large carrots, organic
  • 1-3 jalapenos, organic
  • 3 cups filtered, unchlorinated water
  • 3 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Starter culture for vegetables


  1. Dissolve sea salt in 2 cups of water, stirring well.
  2. In a separate container, dissolve the starter culture in 1 cup of water, stir well, and let the solution sit for 10 minutes to activate the bacteria.
  3. Cabbage: Rinse each head of cabbage and remove the outer layer, saving these leaves for use later. Cut the heads into quarters, remove the core, and shred the cabbage. You can use a knife, grater, or food processor for this.
  4. Onion: Dice the onion.
  5. Pepper: Core the pepper and then dice
  6. Carrots: Shred the carrots. I clean well but don't peel.
  7. Jalapenos: Dice the jalapenos, remove seeds for a mild taste, leave in for a spicy mixture.
  8. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. You should have about 5 pounds of vegetables for this recipe.
  9. Mix the vegetables by hand, add the starter solution and the salt solution to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly, squeezing the vegetables often. I mix for about 5-10 minutes to ensure even distribution. You should have a good amount of liquid forming as you mix. Add the oregano and red pepper flakes, mix for another minute.
  10. Tightly pack the mixture into prepared jars, pressing the mixture down to make sure that there are no air pockets.
  11. The juice from the mixture should cover the top of the vegetables. Place a piece of the saved leaf on top, add a non-porous weight, leaving about 2" above the juice to allow for expansion.
  12. Place the fermenting lids on the jar (following manufacturer' instructions), let it ferment at room temperature (70F) for 7 to 10 days. The mixture should form bubbles and may expand as the fermentation continues.
  13. Once the fermentation is complete, remove the fermenting lids and replace with a plastic lid. The sauerkraut should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy. The flavor will continue to develop even once it is in the refrigerator.


Tips: I wear rubber gloves when mixing the vegetables, otherwise, your hands will turn purple from the red cabbage! When fermenting, do not use metal containers or lids as there can be a reaction with metals.


Do you have a favorite fermented food? By consuming this food, have you felt any improvement in your overall health? If you try this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Thanks for reading.

Disclaimer: This website is for general information only. This information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Do not rely on information provided here for your own health conditions. If you have specific questions regarding your own health, raise them with your primary care physician.





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