Eggplant Preserving

I was recently having a conversation about preserving and prompted to write about how we preserve eggplant. There are two ways to do it, under oil and under vinegar.

I prefer the under oil version (Melanzane Sott’olio), as the vinegar version is a bit harsh for me. Daniele and I made this one together and it’s super simple.

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant
  • Oil
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic (cut fine)
  • Herb (Parsley or Mint, not both)
  • Peperoncino (red pepper)
  • Salt
  • Jar

Slice eggplant 1/4 inch slices
Grill until dried out, pretty grilled, some black stripes

Layer into the jar:

  • 2 or 3 grilled eggplant
  • salt
  • garlic
  • peperoncino
  • herb
  • vineger (every other layer)
  • oil
  • Start a new layer until finish eggplant or reach top or jar

Oil has to cover the top layer, top off the jar the next day, as the eggplant may absorb some oil, shift, or expand up. It seals it and prevents mold. At least that is what Italians say, I’m not an expert on the matter.

Wait a day or two to try them, they need to absorb the oil and flavors. Then they just get stronger and better over time.

The oil when the eggplant is finished can be used over salad.

The second method, the under vinegar version (Melanzane Sottaceto) is very similar. The main difference is the eggplant is not grilled, rather it is boiled in half-vinegar half-water. I have never made this one myself (as I’m not enough of a fan to eat a whole jar, but Daniele actually prefers it).

It was explained to me that you boil the eggplant in the vinegar-water, dry them out, and layer them like the under oil version. This online recipe seems right on target:
http://flavorsofitaly.blogspot.com/2009/07/nonnas-pickled-eggplant-melanzane.html

We normally make a meal of “fresh things” for lunch about every day in the summer, and these jars of eggplant are awesome cause they are always there and delicious. It takes the pressure off having to cook veggies when it is really hot out. We also made several big jars in August that should get us through the winter no problem. And they just get better over time, they absorb more and more of the flavor.

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