Family Recipe: Josie’s Sicilian Pickled Eggplant

The following recipe was contributed by Tina of the Palma family.

By: Tina Palma, Josie’s Daughter’s Kitchen

Recipe Name
Josie’s Sicilian Pickled Eggplant
From where or whom did this recipe come from?
This recipe was passed down to me, so I guess it would be the third generation using it, that I know of. But you know how recipes are passed down. It is very tasteful and flavorful; great in salads and antipasti.
If it is a family recipe, how long has it been passed down?
Just going into the third generation.
When do you and your family traditionally use this recipe (e.g. special occasions, certain holidays)?
It’s ready to eat by the time the holidays rolls around, really needs to marinate in the herbs and olive oil. It debuts in the holiday antipasto .
Ingredients needed:
Eggplants, long hot peppers, garlic, oregano, salt, freshly ground pepper, and olive oil.
Cooking Instructions:
If you’d like, share with us a favorite memory you have of making or eating this recipe:
I remember making this for the first time with my Mom and she was so excited to be doing this tradition with me. It made her feel so good that we were preserving not only the eggplants but also our Italian heritage that was sacred to her. Today it’s even more sacred to me.


  • 1 bushel eggplants (Try and purchase the male eggplants since they have fewer seeds.) The fresher the better, if you can get them the day they are picked they will be easy to work with. Make sure you check the bottom of the eggplant; a male eggplant will have fewer seeds and the bottom will have a shallow indentation and will be round, whereas a female will have many more seeds and a deep indentation which will look like a dash. Make sure you get that right because you will not like all the seeds the female plant gives you. They will weaken the french fry cut of the eggplant and add way too many seeds to your concoction.
  • 2 bulbs fresh garlic skinned and chopped. Same for the garlic as well.
  • 6 long hot peppers chopped, including the seeds. (Don’t discard the seeds. They give a lot of flavor to the concoction.)
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • 1 cup salt
  • Oregano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Prep time: 7 days


  1. You are going to start by peeling all your eggplants. As you peel them you’re going to put them through a vegetable chopper cutting them in a french fry style cut. After cutting your going to place them in your crock or large stockpot. As you get it about halfway full you’re going to salt them down and stir them up; bringing the top to the bottom and bottom to the top distributing the salt throughout the whole amount of eggplant in the crock. This is going to help release the water that’s locked in the eggplant.
  2. Now, you are going to let your cut eggplants sit for about a half-hour while you clean up a bit. Cut your hot peppers and your garlic and be very liberal with your garlic; you’ll need at least 2 whole bulbs of garlic chopped.
  3. Now, you are going to squeeze out your eggplant of excessive water and dump out all the water which has developed from you putting the salt in the eggplant. Rinse your crock/stockpot out, too.
  4. Now that everything is prepared you are going to begin the final step. Beginning with preparing the vinegar concoction. To every cup of white vinegar, you are going to equal that with 1 cup of water. I used 8 cups of white vinegar and 8 cups of water.
  5. Before adding your liquid you are going to put back the squeezed out eggplants into your crock along with the cut hot peppers and chopped garlic, oregano (the amount is to your discretion. I usually prefer at least a couple handfuls), salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. After that is complete you are going to add your liquid. You want the eggplant to sit below the liquid level, so it will be marinating in the vinegar solution and the herbs. To do that fit a dish over the eggplants in the crock so it is held under the vinegar solution. Cover with either a wooden lid or a pot lid to fit correctly so no fruit flys can get in.
  7. This will sit for 7 days periodically (every other day) you will stir the concoction so that all the flavors will come together.
  8. On your seventh day, you will take the lid off and squeeze the eggplant out and place them tightly in your clean sterilized mason jars. You might also add some whole peeled garlic cloves in between your eggplant. If its the pint-size jars I would only do 1 or 2 cloves, its will be more for visuals since you gave it the flavor from the chopped garlic you put into the concoction last week. (These are great for Christmas, hostess or housewarming gifts) Last step you are going to use either a wooden tongue depressor (can get in the craft store or a mini spatula) and you are going to top off with olive oil so that your eggplant will be sitting below the oil. You are going to manipulate your eggplant so that the oil is distributed throughout the entire jar and it is covered at the top with the oil.
  9. Now you are going to put your new lids on and tighten firmly. This is not a sealed jar, it is preserved with the oil BUT I would not just leave them on a shelf in your pantry; I would take the precaution and store them either in the refrigerator or the freezer.


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