I was at Fernbrook Farm’s CSA this morning, and much to my delight, there was a bounty of eggplant! I love eggplant. I love eggplant parm and this roasted eggplant dip my husband makes that has taken the place of baba ganoush on our table. I like eggplant that has been thick sliced, salted, and then cooked on the grill, dressed with a little olive oil. But what to do when there is more eggplant than can be eaten fresh? As far as I am concerned there is only one way to preserve eggplant and that is to pickle it. Pickled eggplant is wonderful. I have tried drying it, and while it did keep very well, I was never happy with the results I got using the rehydrated eggplant in recipes.
Here are my two favorite eggplant pickles. One is a hot-water-bath processed pickle that can be kept in the pantry. The other is a “raw pickle” and MUST BE REFRIGERATED!
Eggplant Pickles 1
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″x 1/2″x3″ sticks
- 2 T sea salt
- 3 C white vinegar
- 1 C balsamic vinegar
- Basil leaves
- 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 t whole peppercorns
- Salt the eggplant sticks, and toss them gently to distribute the salt. Lay the sticks in one layer between on a cookie sheet covered with towels. Cover with more towels and another cookie sheet, and put something heavy on top of the cookie sheet to press the excess water form the eggplant. Let it rest for one hour.
- In a pan, heat both vinegars.
- Prepare jars. In the bottom of the jar, add basil and garlic and peppercorns. Add the eggplant sticks, being sure that the sticks are not taller than the 1/2 inch of head space needed.
- Cover the eggplant with the hot vinegar.
- Cover with lids and process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.
- Wait about three weeks before eating these!
Eggplant Pickles 2 (The Family Favorite)
- About 2 lbs. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″x1/2″x1/2″ pieces
- 2t salt
- 1/4 C red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic thinly slices
- 1/2 t hot pepper flakes
- 12 basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 c olive oil
- Toss the eggplant with the salt and let drain in a colander for 12 hours (or overnight).
- Gently press the pieces to remove anymore water.
- Toss the eggplant with the vinegar and let stand 1 hour.
- In a jar, layer the eggplant with the garlic, basil, and red pepper flakes, pressing down to fit as much as you can in the jar. Cover the top with olive oil.
- Refrigerate overnight, and then check the oil level. Add more oil if needed.
- Wait four to five days before eating, but 6 weeks is better.
Serve at room temperature. These will keep in the refrigerator for a year.