Fermented Eggplants: Japanese SHIBAZUKE Recipe

Shibazuke is a type of “Tsukemono” and is usually fermented eggplants or cucumbers with red Shiso leaves. The specific method is originated in 12th Century Kyoto, the western and central city back then in Japan.

I love Shibazuke the best among all the Japanese Tsukemono, it’s shame that you hardly find ones without additives in Japan now. Those taste horrible; sweetness, sourness, and umami are added artificially. My grandmother used to make perfect and my favorite cucumber Shibazuke, I was always looking forward to visiting her and bring a bag full of Shibazuke home.

The authentic method is to ferment eggplants or cucumbers without water, just salt, and place a heavyweight. It takes a very long time and needs more labor, takes them out periodically, wash them, and change the salt. You have to wait at least half a year.

So, the recipe here has adjusted to Kiwami way to speed up lacto-fermentation, yet guarantees that it still tastes great and is really good for your health.


(Vegan, Additive Free)


  • Eggplants to fill a Jar (I use 1 Litter Jar)
  • 2 Tbsp of Julienned Gingers
  • A Clove of Garlic
  • 2 Tsp of Sea Salt
  • +/- 3% Brine

How To Make The Perfect Brine


  1. Chop eggplants in a shape and a size of your preference, place them in a large bowl.
  2. Add julienned gingers and sprinkle sea salt over the eggplants and toss lightly together.
  3. Let the eggplants sit about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, Sterilized the jar with boiled water.
  5. Place a clove of garlic in the jar.
  6. Place eggplants and ginger mixture into the jar. (There will be liquid from eggplants in the bowl. Discard the liquid, don’t add to the jar. )
  7. Add 3% Brine to cover the eggplants fully.
  8. Keep the jar away from sunlight in the room temperature (23C° to 26C°)
  9. Lacto fermentation will start around the 3rd day.
  10. Open the jar sometime between 5th to 7th day depends on the room temperature. (Brine should look foggy/milky)
  11. If sparkly bubbles out and smells sour when the lid is opened, fermentation went successful.
  12. You can store the jar in the refrigerator after eggplants reaches the sourness you want.
  13. The fermentation continues slowly in the refrigerator, but it won’t go bad at least 4 months. It will only increase sourness and tastes better.
  14. You can eat them as they are or mince them to use for cooking.

Published by kiwami

Sustainable Lifestyle Specialist /Interior Designer (U.S. certified) /Author of Picture Books