MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Rolla     ●    St. Louis - Food Safety


Quick Answers



My Italian mother-in-law used to can eggplant. I was wondering if the process she uses is safe, as she has recently passed away. I think it is safe because we ate it and never got ill. I have her recipe, but I find it strange that there is no heat processing.

The recipe says to slice eggplant paper-thin and layer with salt into a pan. Place a plate and a weight on top of the eggplant and allow it to sit over night on counter top. Next day, drain drippings from pan and fill with vinegar and allow to sit overnight. Layer slices with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes in a mason jar. Seal the jars.

She never refrigerated the jars until opened. She used to put them in the basement and sometimes didn't open them for years.

The salting and vinegar steps would prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum since the bug is sensitive to pH and salt and decreased water. This product is a good example of what we call the "multiple hurdle" concept. Probably none of the control techniques is sufficient in itself, but the combination of the three make it very unlikely that the bug can grow.

Layering with oil then prevents oxidation. It is probably a safe recipe, but not one that we can recommend until we know several more things such as sodium content, water activity, and equilibrium pH.


Source: Douglas Holt, Ph.D., Chair of Food Science Program & State Extension Specialist for Food Safety, University of Missouri-Columbia






Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009



University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri