Pickled Eggplant (Melanzane sott’olio)

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This is a southern Italian delicacy that is made at the end of summer when the eggplant are their most delicious. There are many ways this is made with different family recipes. My family calls them “Mulignana sott Uoglie”, in Napoletano. The pickling method my family uses ensures that you can eat these year round! Follow along and make this delicacy with me!

Pickled Eggplant

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian


  • 10 Small Italian Eggplant or 5 large Eggplant
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 3 Peperonicino peppers or Red Pepper Flake to taste
  • Oregano to taste
  • Kosher Salt
  • 32 oz White Wine Vinegar
  • Blended oil, Sunflower & Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Day 1 – Prepare and salt the Eggplant

  • Working only three eggplant at a time so that they don't oxidize. Cut the top and bottom of the eggplant. Then peel all the skin off. Cover each egg plant with a clean dish towel as you are peeling the others. Using a mandolin slicer, cut 1/8 inch slices.
  • Once you slice the eggplant, cut into fine slivers. The width of the slivers is completely up to personal preference. I make mine very thin. Once you've caught one egg plant, place it into a large bowl or container and sprinkle generously with salt. Mix well to make sure the salt is coding. All of the eggplant continue cutting the next two egg plant and salting each layer as you go. You can gently press the eggplant down with your hands to prepare for the next layer.
  • Once you've salted all the eggplant, place a clean plate on top of it with a weight. I usually use a 3 gallon container of oil that I have in the house. This will allow the eggplant to release all of its water and bitterness.
  • Let this sit for 24 hours covered.

Day 2 – Add Vinegar

  • At this point, you will see that the eggplant has released a lot of dark liquid. Drain the liquid by placing it in a colander with a plate and a weight on it. I usually use the same plate and weight as before. Let that sit to drain for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the eggplant back into its container, and now pour in the white wine vinegar. Placed the same plate and weight on top. Let this sit for 24 hours covered.

Day 3 – Seasoning the Eggplant

  • Now it's time to squeeze all of the vinegar out of the eggplant. You can do this by hand, or by squeezing it through a food mill. In my case, I'm using an Italian press specifically made to prepare this recipe.
  • Once you squeezed out all the vinegar, place, the eggplant into a bowl and now it's time to season it. With food safe gloves on, Break up the eggplant to loosen it. Add garlic cloves, peperoncino, oregano and oil. Mix well by hand, making sure that all of the eggplant is seasoned and coated.
  • Place into a sanitized 32 ounce mason jar. As you fill the jar press the eggplant down so that there are no air pockets. Once the jar is filled to 1 inch from the rim, place a piece of garlic, peperocino, and a sprinkle of oregano on top. Then pour oil on top just under the rim. Clean the rim with a piece of paper towel soaked in white vinegar. Placed the top on, but LOOSELY!
  • Do not seal the top for at least 3 to 5 days to allow the oil to settle. I usually place a paper towel underneath (in case of any spillage) and put it in a cool, dark place. After five days, I seal the top. I usually wait at least two weeks to consume the eggplant so that all the flavors can marry.
  • These pickled eggplants can last over a year. I have jars in my basement that are two years old and are perfectly fine. This pickling method ensures a long shelf life.
Keyword eggplant, pickled eggplant, pickling
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