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Lacto Fermented Shimeji Mushrooms

Fermenting vegetables is the ideal way to bring fermentation practices into your life, and lacto-fermentation couldn’t be easier. All you need is your vegetable of choice, in this case shimeji mushrooms, some course flaky salt, your fermentation vessel, we used a Kilner jar, and some form of weight. The act of lacto-fermentation involves Lactic acid bacteria, which is effective for food preservation and safety, and is vital in the preservation of our intestinal bacteria, therefore leading to better gut health. Read about the types of fermentation here.

To start we froze our bunch of shimeji mushrooms overnight, this breaks down the cell structure making it easier for moisture to escape during the fermentation process. We then separated the bunch into single strands and weighed the total amount of mushrooms. The lacto-fermentation is based around using 2% of the total mushroom weight in salt, for example if your total weight of mushrooms in 500g you would use 10g of flaky sea salt.


There are two options for the salt, you can create a salt brine or use the salt directly, we chose to use the salt directly. 


Add the salt to your mushrooms and gently massage them, this will draw moisture out of the mushrooms, bear in mind that the mushrooms will slowly be defrosting, so your hands may get a little chilly. We kept coming back to ours periodically and giving the mushrooms a further gentle massage over a 30-minute period. You’re looking for a good volume of water to begin to be released from the mushrooms, enough to eventually cover them. 


Once the mushrooms have begun to release a good amount of fluid, you can begin to pack your jar. The key to packaging your jar is to add your mushrooms bit by bit and compress with each addition. What you’re looking to achieve is for the mushrooms to be submerged in the fluid they are releasing, the more you compress you will see the fluid move up.

Don’t be afraid to get your hand in the jar and use your fist to compact the mushrooms together, the more liquid you can generate the better. This is because the liquid forms a barrier against unwanted bacteria, by depriving the area of oxygen you’re allowing the mushrooms to ferment without them becoming mouldy. To ensure the mushrooms remain submerged in the fluid you need a weight

We often use a Ziploc bag with water inside pushed on top of our ferment, and the jar lid closed over the top (this may take some time pouring water in and out of the bag until it’s the right volume to squish into your jar with your ferment). It should look something much like the photo above.  


From here you leave your mushrooms to ferment for around 7 days. After that, place them in the fridge until you’re ready to use. After 7 days you’ll have some little salty beauties.


Now, we want to inspire you to make some delicious meals with your ferments, and these mushrooms can be included in plenty of recipes. They can be added to any salad, and are especially nice in a pesto pasta salad. Or shallow fry them and add to the top of a Spaghetti Bolognese or Mushroom Risotto. 


We made a delightful, spicy taco number with our jar. These can be made with any wrap, for ours we used Blue Corn Tortillas. These were roasted with butternut squash, chipotle chilli sauce, our quick pickled red onions (found on our Instagram) and avocado. Then finally topped with some crunchy battered and fried Lacto Fermented Shimeji. 

Lacto Fermented Shimeji Mushrooms

Fermenting vegetables is the ideal way to bring fermentation practices into your life, and lacto-fermentation couldn’t be easier. All you need is your vegetable of choice, in this case shimeji mushrooms, some course flaky salt, your fermentation vessel, we used a Kilner jar, and some form of weight. The act of lacto-fermentation involves Lactic acid bacteria, which is effective for food preservation and safety, and is vital in the preservation of our intestinal bacteria, therefore leading to better gut health. Read about the types of fermentation here.


To start we froze our bunch of shimeji mushrooms overnight, this breaks down the cell structure making it easier for moisture to escape during the fermentation process. We then separated the bunch into single strands and weighed the total amount of mushrooms. The lacto-fermentation is based around using 2% of the total mushroom weight in salt, for example if your total weight of mushrooms in 500g you would use 10g of flaky sea salt.

There are two options for the salt, you can create a salt brine or use the salt directly, we chose to use the salt directly. 


Add the salt to your mushrooms and gently massage them, this will draw moisture out of the mushrooms, bear in mind that the mushrooms will slowly be defrosting, so your hands may get a little chilly. We kept coming back to ours periodically and giving the mushrooms a further gentle massage over a 30-minute period. You’re looking for a good volume of water to begin to be released from the mushrooms, enough to eventually cover them. 


Once the mushrooms have begun to release a good amount of fluid, you can begin to pack your jar. The key to packaging your jar is to add your mushrooms bit by bit and compress with each addition. What you’re looking to achieve is for the mushrooms to be submerged in the fluid they are releasing, the more you compress you will see the fluid move up.

Don’t be afraid to get your hand in the jar and use your fist to compact the mushrooms together, the more liquid you can generate the better. This is because the liquid forms a barrier against unwanted bacteria, by depriving the area of oxygen you’re allowing the mushrooms to ferment without them becoming mouldy. To ensure the mushrooms remain submerged in the fluid you need a weight. We often use a Ziploc bag with water inside pushed on top of our ferment, and the jar lid closed over the top (this may take some time pouring water in and out of the bag until it’s the right volume to squish into your jar with your ferment). It should look something much like the photo to the left. From here you leave your mushrooms to ferment for around 7 days. After that, place them in the fridge until you’re ready to use. After 7 days you’ll have some little salty beauties.



Now, we want to inspire you to make some delicious meals with your ferments, and these mushrooms can be included in plenty of recipes. They can be added to any salad, and are especially nice in a pesto pasta salad. Or shallow fry them and add to the top of a Spaghetti Bolognese or Mushroom Risotto. 


We made a delightful, spicy taco number with our jar. These can be made with any wrap, for ours we used Blue Corn Tortillas. These were roasted with butternut squash, chipotle chilli sauce, our quick pickled red onions (found on our Instagram) and avocado. Then finally topped with some crunchy battered and fried Lacto Fermented Shimeji.