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Italian Pickled Eggplant

This herbaceous pickled eggplant is a game changer when it comes to preserving. Time consuming, but you’ll be happy you did it when you’re eating it on ricotta toast or throwing it into some pasta in a few months.

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Brine and Cool: 3 hrs


  • 6 firm medium eggplants, unbruised (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon mint leaves, minced fresh or dried, optional
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano, optional
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, minced, optional
  • 1 to 2 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare the eggplant:

  1. Slice the unpeeled eggplants into strips about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Layer the strips in a colander and sprinkle each layer liberally with kosher salt.
  3. Place the colander in the sink, cover with a dish that fits in the colander, and place something heavy on top to weigh the dish down. The salt helps remove excess water and some of the bitterness from the eggplant. Let the eggplant drain for 1 hour.
  4. Squeeze the eggplant with your hands to drain out any remaining excess moisture.
  5. Transfer the eggplant to a large pot and add 1 1/4 cups of the vinegar and the water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat, and allow the eggplant to cool completely in the water, stirring occasionally.

To pack the jars:

  1. Place the sliced garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, mint, oregano, and bell pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze as much water out of the eggplant as possible and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients. Pour in at least 1 and up to 2 1/2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil and the remaining 1/4 cup of vinegar, and mix to combine.
  3. Transfer the veggie mixture to 2 clean one-quart jars or 4 clean one-pint jars. Press down well to remove any air.
  4. Leave about 1-inch of space between the vegetables and the rim of the jar. Pour in as much olive oil as needed so that all the eggplant is completely submerged. Do not overpack the jars with the eggplant.
  5. Place the screw-top lids on, wipe the jars, and store them in the refrigerator. They should be ready to eat in 24 hours.