How to Make Lacto-Fermented Eggplant

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I case you haven't notice, I love to ferment food. It's something I've been dabbling in for almost a decade now, and recently I've started teaching classes on it, too. It started with a class for the interns here on the eco-village and now I'm teaching classes all over Oregon! 

One thing I've realized about fermenting is that while I love making family-favorites like fermented ketchup, Greek yogurt or carrot sticks, it's also super fun to experiment and make something exotic and crazy, too. And sometimes, the experiments turn out AMAZING. As is the case with the recipe I have to share today for fermented eggplant.

Typically when I think of eggplant I think mush. It tends to get pretty mushy in cooking, but fermenting creates a totally different texture. Plus, all the spices in this recipe make it pop! Eggplant is essentially like a sponge, it completely soaks up whatever flavors you put on it. So, go crazy! Experiment, too! Add whatever spices you think would taste good with eggplant. This recipe was inspired by one from Cultures for Health, but as with all recipes, I always add my own spin. 

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Eggplant

You Will Need:

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped in chunks
  • 1.5 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1.5 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Celtic sea salt
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart-size mason jar
  • Large colander
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Vegetable Peeler
Directions: Peel eggplant and julienne. Sprinkle generously with Celtic sea salt and place in colander. Allow to sit for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Rinse well and push out any excess water. In a medium size bowl, place all the spices. Add in eggplant slices, stirring to thoroughly coat. Gently place in mason jar and push down as you go. Dissolve 2 tbs sea salt in 1 quart water. Add just enough of this brine mixture to your mason jar with the eggplant to cover the eggplant, leaving 1 inch head space. Cover tightly with lid. Leave at room temperature for 7 days. (If you need to "burp" the jar due to gas build up, do so. Or treat yourself to an airlock jar, instead.) Transfer to cold storage. 

Step-by-step picture instructions: 

Remove the ends from the eggplant. 

Skin eggplant with your vegetable peeler. 
Cut into 1/2 inch slices
Julienne eggplant (cut into small, fry-like size pieces). 
Place in a large colander over a plate or sink to drain. 
Sprinkle generously with salt. Allow to sit somewhere to drain for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 
Rinse eggplant thoroughly.
Press out as much liquid as possible. 
Next, place spices in a medium size bowl. 
Thoroughly mix the spices over the eggplant. 
Place eggplant in mason jar, press down and cover with brine to 1 inch of top. Leave out at room temp for 7 days, "burping" your jar occasionally if needed. Transfer to cold storage. Keeps for many months. Enjoy!

Wanting to learn more about FERMENTATION? 

Check out these books I use and love!

Wanting to have on hand a simple guide to all things fermented? This is THE book for your kitchen. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods covers the basics of everything from simples cheeses, meats, vegetables, fruits, sourdough, simple beer, kombucha and much more. The recipes are very easy to follow, and most contain variations to give you room to play end experiment. I reference this book ALL the time for both information as well as recipes. I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you could only have one book on fermentation, this is the one I would suggest. 
This book, The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the Worldby Sandor Katz (author of Wild Fermentation) will take your grasp of fermentation to the next level and beyond. It is a veritable tome of fermentation knowledge. This is not the book to have if you are looking for recipes. It is however the book to have if you want to know a little more about all things fermentation. It contains history, lore, science, and a cultural overview as well as tips for making and selling ferments. I love this book. I use this book both as a reference for information and for kitchen inspiration.

True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir, and Kombucha at Homeis your go-to book for learning about beverage ferments. It covers everything from homemade ciders to beer, wine, kombucha, soda pop and much more. As the cover shows, it has absolutely gorgeous images that will inspire you! The recipes are laid out in a straightforward manner, and there are trouble-shooting sections that are very helpful when you have questions or when something doesn't go quite the way you thought it would in your fermentation kitchen.

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  1. Looks fascinating! I love fermenting food too, never thought of fermenting eggplant!

  2. Hi. I'm Traci. Thanks so much for the easy and healthy recipe.

    I have a bunch of eggplant was given. On tight budget, so will stretch the grocery bill. Dont have room for so much eggplant in the refrigerator?

    Can I store at room temperature now that it is Fall? Any precautions or ways to adjust recipe to do it for room temp storage? Garage is a little cooler. I'm in Atlanta. Temp is mild now and will be getting colder sooner.

    How do I breathe the jar if dont have lock lids? Could you elaborate, please?

    I don't know if you respond here. My email is: trueleverage4u at .

    Thank you so kindly! God Bless.




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