The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Preserving Eggplant In Olive Oil

September 3rd, 2009 · 119 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Salted eggplant sheds lots of liquid prior to be sealed in olive oil

Salted eggplant sheds lots of liquid prior to being sealed in olive oil

 Thank the genius who discovered that eggplant (other things, too) can be stored almost indefinitely when covered with olive oil. My wife normally does not care for eggplant–she especially dislikes the texture–but we served this preserved eggplant at our wedding and have held a special fondness for it ever since. I like to pull out a jar with cocktails. After a few months, the eggplant slices are pleasantly leathery and oozing flavors of garlic, basil and red pepper.

The preparation is extremely kind to the cook. There are no boiling pots or canning gadgets to worry about. All you need are some jars with lids and a few basic ingredients that you no doubt have already grown in your garden.

Don’t even worry about a recipe. Simply peel your eggplant and cut it into thin squares or rectangles about 2 inches long. Toss these with plenty of salt, then set them in a colander inside a large bowl to drain for at least 12 hours. They will shed lots of liquid. At the end of that time, use your hands to  press as much remaining liquid out of the eggplant as you can.

Eggplant packed with garlic, basil and red pepper

Eggplant packed with garlic, basil and red pepper

Toss the drained eggplant with enough red wine vinegar to thoroughly coat, then set aside for 1 hour. Now pack the eggplant into pint jars, layering it with occasional leaves of basil, crushed garlic cloves and pinches of red pepper flakes. Press each layer down firmly, draining off any excess vinegar. When the jar is full, cover the contents with your favorite extra-virgin olive oil. Secure the lids on the jars and refrigerate.

Let the flavors mellow for at least a week, preferably longer. We are still eating eggplant we put away last year. Each bite reminds us of our wedding buffet.

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  • Jeff schlegel

    Wash salt off after 12 hours then red wine vinger

  • Lebanese

    tt sounds like the lebanese Makdous, it has a fantastic taste flavour, usually served with a tomoato and onion salad

  • Natalie

    I’ve been trying to figure out the name of that mezza forever…Makdous. Thank you!

  • Samantha Heath

    I had a little old Italian woman I was taking care of many years ago who taught me this recipe and I have been craving it and told myself this summer I will make it and didn’t know if I would remember how. Thank you for posting this because it’s exactly how she made it and I can’t wait to get started and share with friends and family

  • Sara

    Can they be canned after refrigeration and stored on the shelf or must they always be refrigerated?

  • Ed Bruske

    I have never tried canning them. Follow USDA canning guidelines.

  • Gail

    One reader is worried that the garlic could cause botulism, a risk with uncooked low acid foods. I will soak it in red wine vinegar first to acidifying it but you could also try using roasted garlic. Yummy

  • Fran Snowdon

    Thank you. This recipe looks fantastic and I’m about to start tonight.

  • Tammi Siller

    Does this have to be refrigerated? Or can you keep it on the shelf?

  • Ed Bruske

    Please check out previous comments

  • These are Wonderful Uses of Eggplant - FamilyNano

    […] preserve them using olive oil, use this method from The Slow Cook, it is entirely […]

  • Mary

    Doesn’t the olive oil solidify in the refrigerator?

  • Ed Bruske

    Yes, then it liquifies again when you take it out of the fridge

  • Cathy Barlow

    My parents recipe is similar. After the eggplant has drained, we don’t soak in vinegar. We use 2 cups olive oil and one cup apple cider vinegar combined. We begin layering the eggplant (cut in thin rounds), sprinkling with oregano, garlic and red pepper flakes, and pour the olive oil/vinegar over it, repeating layers. When at the top, we cover the eggplant well with more olive oil. Then we place in the fridge for a month or so before eating. All this talk on the web of botulism had me scared, but your post made me feel better. Like my mom said, we’ve been eating it this way for many, many years with no problems at all!

  • Tina

    Can you pull it out of the refrigerator and store it on a shelf

  • Ed Bruske

    The reason I store it in the fridge is because of the possibility of garlic spoilage. Still, I am still eating eggplant I preserved years ago.

  • Marc conte sr

    Is there a way to shelf store with olive oil? Or can you only store that way with vinegar?

  • Ed Bruske

    Marc, because of the food safety issues involved I would not even hazard a guess about that

  • Ed Bruske

    See earlier comment on this