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|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
6 lb. sm. eggplants
2 1/2 tbsp. salt, divided
2 qt. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes, divided
1/2 c. pickled capers, optional
6 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
1 tbsp. dried oregano, divided
Rinse and peel eggplant. Cut into 1/4 inch lengthwise slices, then cut slices into lengthwise 1/4 inch strips. Place the shredded eggplant into a nonreactive (plastic or stainless) colander and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons salt. Place a plate on the eggplant and place a weight (like several large cans of tomatoes) on the plate. Let eggplant stand for 2 hours, so that bitter juices drain away. Place colander under running cold water and rinse eggplant quickly. After rinsing the eggplant, take a handful at a time and squeeze out all the excess water from it. Set aside.
Bring vinegar and hot pepper flakes to boil and add eggplant. Raise heat to highest and allow eggplant to remain in vinegar for 2 minutes. Lift eggplant out with a skimmer to a nonreactive bowl. Reserve vinegar.
Wash 6 pint jars and immerse in pot of boiling water. Remove jars with tongs and fill halfway with the eggplant. Add optional capers, oregano and garlic. Fill jar with eggplant to within 1 inch of top. Return vinegar to a oil and ladle into jars, filling them to within 1/2 inch of the top. Wipe rims of jars with a clean, damp cloth. Immerse lids in boiling water and cover jars. Screw on rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Label, date and store jars in a cool, dark place. To serve the pickled eggplant, drain it and toss with olive oil. Makes 6 pints.
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