Canning and Preserving Eggplants

If you follow my blog, then you know I have a passion for preserving old family recipes. These are the recipes our grandmother's and mother's made from scratch.

Food that when you make it today brings back the fondest childhood memories. Let's face it homemade is the best and nobody makes it like our grandmothers.

My cousins, Jimmy and Carmie share the same passion for preserving these cherished recipes. Here are the recipe and instructions that have been in my cousin Carmie's family for generations.

Eggplants prepared in this way are perfect on sandwiches, or as a snack with a nice slice of Italian bread. I'm so glad Carmie has this recipe because my mother also made these and I don't have her recipe. So, here is the recipe by Jimmy and Carmie.


A Marcella Family Recipe 

Canning and Preserving Eggplants

Carmie and I have been making this family favorite for as long as we have been married. (Basically, I cut the EGGPLANT and then make sure the jars are sealed). It is a recipe that her mother; ANNIE taught her. For years we have been saying that we should document this recipe and process so that it will be preserved for future generations. Anyone that we know that has tried this specialty really enjoys them. Whenever we go back east, we are always reminded to pack 3 or 4 jars. 

We have always made a bushel of Eggplants when making this recipe; however, you can make 2 or 3 individual EGGPLANTS if you like. As you will see there are no critical conversions for the ingredients no matter how many you decide to make. 

The first step is to trim both ends and then peel them with a potato peeler or a paring knife. Then you will slice the Eggplant into 1/8th to ¼” thick slices. (When we first started, I attempted to cut them by hand and trying to keep them uniform was next to impossible. So, after a few years I bought a RIVAL ELECTRIC FOOD SLICER). It is now well over 40 years old and still performing well). Now, the slices are uniform and the time for this step was cut by about 60% or more.

Peel and Slice

rival electric food slicer

 So, the ingredients for day one is EGGPLANTS and SALT. As indicated, we did a bushel of Eggplants. Twenty-three in all.

 Next, the Eggplant Slices are layered in a kitchen strainer and salted with Iodized Salt between each layer. Once the strainer is full of all of the slices that have been salted we then place the strainer in a place for them to drain overnight. (A sink or tub work well) 

We place a dish or flat bowl on top of the Eggplants and then place a weight on the dish or bowl to help press the moisture from the Eggplants. (We use a gallon of oil or vinegar) The next day the strainer; that was full to the top, will now only be-half full and the slices will now be half as thick as they were original.

Pressing the water out of the eggplants overnight

 On day two you will need the following ingredients: 

1-gallon HEINZ Apple Cider Vinegar
1 ½ -gallons CRISCO Canola Oil
1 Jar 2.12 ounces McCormick Red Crushed Pepper 
1 Jar 2.6 ounces McCormick Crushed Whole Oregano Leaves 
1 Jar 32 ounces Minced Garlic 
Wide Mouth Pint Mason Jars 

To start, fill a large frying pan about half full of vinegar and bring to a slow boil. On the counter next to the stove, layout several dish towels. Start by placing several slices of Eggplant in the boiling vinegar and blanch for 30 seconds or so. 

Remove from the vinegar and lay the individual slices flat on the dish towels to drain. Once drained, place the Eggplant slices in a large bowl. Continue until all of the slices have been blanched. The slices will have a very vinegary taste at this time. 

 At this time, we fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover two mason jars when laid on their sides. Bring the water to a boil and place two jars in the water. Also, in a small saucepan, we heat enough water to cover the Mason Jar inserts.

Boiling the jars and lids

 Now for the hard part. (Just kidding) Carmie sets up a workstation with a shallow bowl, oil, oregano, red crushed pepper, and garlic. One of the jars is removed from the boiling water and placed on the shallow bowl. (Remember to place another jar into the boiling water). First, a little oil is added to the bottom of the jar, then a little garlic, a little oregano, a little red crushed pepper and then a couple of Eggplant slices. 

This process is continued until the jar is full to within approximately ¾ to ½ inch from the top of the jar. A regular dinner fork is used to keep the slices layered and flat. It also helps eliminate any air pockets that may form. 

The top of the jar is then wiped with a clean dish rag and one of the Mason Jar Lids are placed on the jar and the lid ring is installed and tightened. The jar is then placed in a draft-free area to await that wonderful sound. POP! We have found that the FOOD SAVER VACUUM SEAL MACHINE is a lot more reliable. SO, I get to help again. Using the Food Saver and the Wide Mouth Jar Attachment, I seal the jars.

 As you can tell, this is not an easy process; however, if you start with two or three Eggplants, you should not be overwhelmed. Also keep in mind that if you start small, you can eliminate the mason jar and use a small Tupper Ware Container. The process is the same except the final assembly is in the Tupper Ware Container, not the Mason Jar. 

Once opened, the jars must be refrigerated. Unopened, and if sealed properly the jars will last about two years when stored in a cool dark place. Once opened and refrigerated they still have a shelf life of 6 months or so. Twenty-three Eggplants yielded twenty-three pints. 

You might like some of our other Canning Recipes


  1. I wasn't aware that the vacuum seal machines worked that way with lids. It's been years since I have canned anything but am now thinking about doing it again. I do love eggplant!

  2. Hi Daphne, Yes the sealing machines not only use plastic bags, many of them include attachments to vacuum seal jars. Thanks for stopping by.


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