170g fresh shiitake mushrooms, woody stem end removed
8g caster sugar
8g salt (not iodised)
120ml water
2 garlic cloves, peeled
15ml sauerkraut juice or a store-bought probiotic capsule
3 sprigs thyme or other aromatic herb

Lacto-fermenting mushrooms is simple: a few store-cupboard ingredients along with the mushrooms, either bought or foraged, and a little time is all that’s required. The method works well with shiitake, porcini, morels and oyster mushrooms. Steaming the mushrooms with the salt helps keep unwanted bacteria at bay and the sugar is the fermentation fuel. If you don’t have any sauerkraut liquid to add the good live bacteria, a probiotic capsule will work to kickstart the process. This recipe requires a jar that holds 500ml.

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1.Steam mushrooms in a steamer pan for 15 minutes.
2.Remove and set aside to cool.
3.Add the remaining ingredients to your jar, secure the lid, and give the jar a good shake for 10-15 seconds to combine.
4.Add the cooled mushrooms and shake once more.
5.Continue to shake the mushrooms gently twice a day to distribute the acidity as the fermentation takes place.
6.To remove any build-up of gases, ‘burp’ the jar daily by releasing the lid and then resealing.
7.After 10-12 days the mushrooms should have a pleasant sourness and be flavoured with garlic and herbs.
8.At this point, refrigerate the mushrooms to retard fermentation.
9.They will keep for 3-4 weeks without becoming more sour.
10.Serve sliced into a ramen soup or noodle salad, or season with a little rice vinegar and mirin as a side dish for sushi or steamed fish.

Recipes & food styling Russell Holder / Photography Manja Wachsmuth

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