I have been growing eggplant in my garden for years, and it turns out, I just really don’t like it…or at least I thought I didn’t until I finally tried fermenting eggplant. It was always one of those plants that I’d give away when friends came over or toss to the chickens after sitting on my counter for days on end. However, I love to have eggplant in the garden for its beautiful look and variety. I mean, despite the fact that I KNOW I don’t really like to eat eggplant, I still grow 3-4 different varieties every single year, and I just never know what to do with them. Until now! Enter Fermented Eggplant.

This year, during a lacto-fermenting burst, I decided to try fermenting eggplant…and I can honestly say, I like it!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no cost to you. All opinions remain my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

Fermented Eggplant Recipe:

This fermented eggplant recipe is an Italian-style pickled eggplant, otherwise known as melanzane sott’olio, with lots of garlic cloves & dried or fresh basil. We have tons of fresh basil in our garden right now, so we’ll use that!

I’m going to toss in one of these bright red peppers (mojo peppers), but you can use red pepper flakes for spice if you don’t have a fresh hot pepper or chili pepper on hand. Alternatively, you can omit the spice all-together if it’s not your thing.

I also like to add a handful of fresh chopped parsley, because parsley is a great way to add a little extra nutritional boost to your food with its high mineral content.

After the fermentation process is complete in about 7-10 days, I will transfer the fermented eggplant into a jar and cover with olive oil. This will keep for about 6 months.

What Materials You Will Need:


Lets Ferment Some Eggplant!

Choosing Your Eggplant:

First, you’ll want to choose the best looking eggplants. When fermenting vegetables, it’s important to choose the freshest best fruits available so ensure the freshest ferment possible! You can choose any variety for this recipe, we did a combo of black beauty and some Japanese eggplants. The fewer seeds the better, so avoid the larger eggplants. The right eggplant is important, but don’t get hung up on it.

Preparing your Eggplant:

Next, you’ll want to peel and slice them. Make sure to peel the skins, they will be too tough and chewy after fermentation is complete. Once they’re all peeled up, slice your eggplant longways into eggplant strips. Think French fries. Thin strips. As you slice them, put them in a large bowl and salt them. Let them sit for 8-24 hours covered to sweat out the bitter liquid. After you’ve let them sit, squeeze out the excess liquid.

Fermenting Your Eggplant:

Get a wide mouth mason jar (a half gallon or quart jar are good depending on the amount of eggplant you have). Add in about half of your garlic cloves, basil, and parsley. You could also add some black peppercorns. Then, add in your squeezed salted eggplant, and the other half of your garlic cloves, basil, and parsley. Fill the mason jar with filtered water, and place your glass weight on top. Then add the fermentation lid. Let it ferment for about 7-10 days. The eggplant will be plenty salty from the sweating process. So just plain water will do.

Storing your Lacto-Fermented Eggplant:

When your fermented eggplant pickles have finished, you will want to squeeze the juice from them again and place them in a clean mason jar. Fill the rest of the jar with olive oil and store in the fridge for 6 months. Make sure there is enough oil to cover them completely. You could totally skip this step if you want and just move them straight to cold storage.

Enjoying your Fermented Eggplant:

Eat your pickled eggplant on crusty bread, as a side dish, or cook with them. They go great with Italian recipes or food from the Middle East. You could throw them in a food processor and make baba ganoush with them for an added depth of flavor.

Fermented Eggplant is the way to go!

Next time you have too many eggplants in your garden, and you’re just totally sick of eggplant parmesan and completely out of ideas, try fermented pickled eggplant!

Let us know how it goes in the comments!

Check out more Lacto-Fermented veggie recipes:

Fermented Eggplant

Learn how to Lacto-Ferment Eggplant in this Italian style recipe for a delicious and versatile way to use up all that eggplant summer abundance.
Print Recipe
Fermenting eggplant in a mason jar
Prep Time:10 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time:7 days
Total Time:7 days 10 hours 15 minutes


  • Large knife
  • Large Bowl
  • Colander
  • Mason Jar
  • Glass Fermentation Weight
  • Pickle Pipe (fermentation lid)


  • 3-4 medium Organic Eggplant (any variety) avoid super large as they contain more seeds
  • 1 handful fresh basil chopped
  • 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp sea salt for salting eggplant
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn optional
  • 3 Red Hot Chili Peppers optional
  • Olive oil optional (for preserving in after fermentation)


  • Slice your eggplant longways, then cut your eggplant slices into little thin strips resembling French fries
  • Add your eggplant slices to the large bowl and sprinkle salt over each layer
  • Let them sit covered in the bowl for 8-24 hours to sweat out the bitter liquid. Then squeeze out the excess liquid.
  • In a wide mouth mason jar, add your basil, garlic, red pepper, peppercorns, parsley, and squeezed eggplant. Fill jar with filtered water and place your fermentation weight on top adding a little pressure on the ingredients to release any trapped air bubbles. Ensure that the ingredients are full submerged in the water.
  • Add your fermentation lid on top, and let sit on the counter top for about 7-10 days to ferment, checking regularly.
  • After they are sufficiently fermented, you may move them to cold storage, or squeeze them out again and place them in a clean mason jar and top with olive oil. These will store for 6 months in the fridge.


You do not need to add a salt brine to the eggplant, because they will have a sufficient amount of salt from the salting/sweating process. You can just use plain filtered water on top.
Your olive oil may get solid in the refrigerator, you can sub for a different oil if preferred, just avoid any seed oils. 
You want to choose the best freshest looking eggplants for fermenting. Try choosing a good middle size, as the large ones tend to contain more seeds=more bitterness. 
Author: Fallon

Shop This Post in the Homestead Mercantile:

Like It? Share it!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating