Italian Vegies sott'olio

Pickling vegies Italian-style, under oil

This way of using up excess vegies at the end of the season is a delicious way to also use up a glut. You can use any of, or a mixture of, green (unripe) tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants and green capsicum. 

1. Wash the vegies and cut into 5mm rounds, long slices or even strips if you prefer.

2. Layer them in a ceramic or glass bowl, sprinkling each layer liberally with coarse cooking salt. 

3. Place a plate over the top and weight down the plate with a bowl or something heavy(eg a bowl filled with water).

 4. Leave this overnight. The salt will draw out the moisture from the tomatoes and helps them to maintain their texture and not go mushy.   

5. The next day, rinse off the salty water that has accumulated and then put the vegies strips back into the bowl, this time covering them with white vinegar. Weight the contents again and leave overnight.

6. The next day, drain the vegies and squeeze any excess moisture out of them. I like to put a batch at a time in a clean tea towel and then wring out the zucchini by twisting the tea towel.      

7. Loosen all the strips and put them back into the bowl.

8. Pour a generous amount of olive oil and mix the vegies so that they are all coated. They are now ready to pack into clean jars, making sure there are no air gaps between the layers. However, I prefer to add a little extra flavour by adding dried herbs (I use oregano), chopped garlic, maybe some chilli or whatever sort of flavour you like. 

 9. Pack them into the jars, adding more oil as you go and then topping up with oil so that the contents are completely covered. If any are uncovered, they will go mouldy.

 10. Leave them for a month to develop more flavour and then enjoy with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine!!


If you are concerned about using garlic in a preserve that is kept under oil, I have to admit that I have never had a problem with the botulism issue. This is because of the acidity that the tomatoes have due to the soaking in the vinegar. However, these preserves have a shelf-life of about 6-12 months, depending on how well they are store.