This easy Italian Pickled Eggplant or Melanzane sott’olio recipe never tasted so good. Sliced pickled eggplant mixed with fresh spices and stored under oil. One of the best ways to eat eggplant.
This is one of the canning recipes that my Mother-in-law would make to keep us all happy, during the cold (for Italy cold) fall and winter months. Between this one and the Giardiniera Recipe they could easily change up or add to a meal.
How to make it
Peel and thinly slice the eggplant, do them one at a time, after you have done one, place the cut eggplant in a glass bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, continue with each eggplant. Cover the bowl and let sit for 8 hours at room temperature.
After the 8 hours, drain the liquid (but do not rinse the eggplant) and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
In a big pot bring to a boil the water and white wine vinegar, add the eggplant and continue to boil for about 8-10 minutes or until tender.
Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and wring out excess moisture. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and toss with the spices.
Spoon into the sterilized jars , leaving at least 3/4 inch of space, then top with oil. Make sure that the eggplant is completely covered. This water bath will help if you plan on canning to keep for a longer period of time.
Let sit at least 24 hours before serving. The longer it sits the better the taste.
So I said to the Italian after it sat for a day, “do you want to try it?” After we tried it we both looked at each other and we knew it was exactly like his mother made, well it should be it was her recipe, although you know sometimes no matter how much we try, it just isn’t the same. But not this time, it brought back all these amazing memories! And isn’t that what the best food does?
Why salt it?
I know that people insist it isn’t necessary to salt it first, sometimes I don’t, but believe me you do see a difference. Salting in my opinion helps to eliminate the bitter taste and leave the eggplant softer and not as tough.
Different types of eggplant
Apparently there are about 12 different types, African Garden Egg, Bianca, Chinese Round Mauve, Graffiti, Indian, Japanese White Egg, Little Green, Ping Tung, Santana, Tango, Thai and of course Italian. To tell the truth I probably haven’t heard or seen 90% of these. I usually use the Globe, Graffiti and Italian the most. For this recipe I used the Italian type.
How to pick the perfect eggplant
It’s best to pick medium to small eggplants they are more tender and contain fewer seeds than the much bigger ones. You are going to find seeds in the eggplant, but no worries you can eat them, just make sure they are white and not black. Black seeds indicate a tougher older vegetable.
The best oil to use
I usually use olive oil, because I really don’t make jars and jars, but my mother-in-law who did, would use a vegetable oil, usually sunflower. To tell the truth olive oil gives it a better taste and you can always use the left over oil for bruschetta or drizzling on meat when you are grilling.
The best canning jars
The best jars to use for canning are jars with screw top lids, I used 3 eggplants for this recipe, and I only got one cup when I was done, but I then immediately went out and purchased another 12 eggplants because we actually forgot just how good it is done this way! And of course be sure to sterilize your jars before use!
How to serve it
I like to serve it with crusty Italian bread as an appetizer, you could also serve it as a side dish with your favourite meat dish. Remember to always keep the eggplant that is remaining in the jar always covered in oil.
How to store it
The jars can be kept in a cool dark pantry and will keep for up to 6 months. Once open, make sure you cover the eggplant completely in oil before closing and store in the fridge for 5-6 days.
So if you want to try using up some eggplant this summer why not try this Italian Pickled Eggplant and let me know what you think. Buon Appetito!
Italian Pickled Eggplant
- 3 medium Italian eggplants* (see notes) (6-7 inches) (16-17 cm)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley (minced)
- 1-2 dashes hot pepper flakes (if desired)
- olive oil (enough to completely cover the eggplant)
- Peel and thinly slice the eggplant, I cut it crosswise in three, then thinly sliced them (see photos), do them one at a time, after you have done one, place the cut eggplant in a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, continue with each eggplant. Cover the bowl and let sit for 8 hours at room temperature.
- After the 8 hours, drain the liquid (but do not rinse the eggplant) and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible.
- In a big pot bring to a boil the water and white wine vinegar, add the eggplant and boil for about 7-10 minutes or until tender but not mushy, check after 5 minutes. Taste one to make sure it is tender.
- Drain the eggplant and again wring out excess moisture. Place the eggplant in a large bowl and toss with the spices. Spoon into the sterilized jars , leaving at least 3/4 inch of space, then top with oil. Make sure that the eggplant is completely covered with oil, press down on the eggplant to remove any air bubbles and add more oil if necessary before closing the jar. Let sit at least 24 hours before serving. Enjoy!