Learning how to freeze eggplant is easy. You want to make sure you do it right though, so it doesn't get gross and mushy.
Looking for a great way to preserve eggplant that isn't pickled?
The good news is that eggplant, while uncommon to find in the freezer section, actually freezes really well and can be used in most recipes calling for eggplant without any issues. The freezing process is easy and a great way to preserve extra eggplant.
You can even prepare your favorite dishes, such as eggplant parmesan and cook them when you are ready to eat later. Learning how to freeze eggplant is easy for anyone.
WHY SHOULD YOU FREEZE EGGPLANT?
Eggplant is easy to grow and can make a great meat substitute.
When you find a deal or have a great harvest from your garden, freezing eggplants is a great way to preserve both the flavor and texture so you can use them in your favorite recipes as if they were fresh.
Canning and drying do not preserve the texture and will limit the recipes you can use eggplant in, while freezing allows you to use it for nearly anything you would use fresh eggplant for.
HOW TO FREEZE EGGPLANT
Freezing eggplant is easy and the results are great.
To begin you need to pick the freshest eggplant.
If harvesting yourself ensure that you pick your eggplant before the seeds mature to avoid the fruit turning bitter and disgusting.
When choosing eggplants at the store or farmers' market, choose good quality ones that have a dark uniform color. Your fruit should be solid without soft spots and blemishes.
Not all eggplants are great for freezing.
Some varieties like Chinese and Thai tend to get watery and soggy when frozen.
When planning to freeze you should look for a black variety to avoid them turning watery when they thaw if you plant to use as a meat substitute in things like chili and stew.
For dishes like sauces and dips, the variety doesn't matter as much. Simply strain away the excess water and use it as is.
DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO FREEZE YOUR EGGPLANT
Depending on what you want to make with your eggplant, you may need a particular shape or size to make it work.
From large slabs of eggplant to thin slices to use in place of noodles in eggplant lasagna, how you shape your eggplant before freezing will affect what you can make with it later.
For soups and stew, you can dice your eggplant into bite-size chunks for the perfect fit. These cubes of eggplant can also work really well in anything you plan to puree your eggplant for, as they fit perfectly directly into the blender.
If you plan to use it in a recipe where the eggplant is breaded you can help to make it easier to use by breading the eggplant before you freeze it. The frozen, breaded eggplant can go directly into the oven or fryer without issues.
PREPARE YOUR EGGPLANT
After you know what you want to make with your eggplant and how you plan to preserve them for later use, you can begin the process of cutting.
For the best results, you should peel your eggplant unless you plan to leave the peel on when using later.
Slice or cut eggplant into your desired shapes and blanch.
To blanch your eggplant you'll want a large pot of boiling water as well as a large bowl with ice water.
Once the water is at a rolling boil, add in your eggplant slices or chunks and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the eggplant in an ice bath.
This will help to preserve the color and texture of your eggplant when freezing.
How you freeze your eggplant will depend on what you plan to do with it when you thaw it.
If you plan to use small amounts for different things you can flash freeze by placing eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet and freezing before moving the frozen eggplant cubes or slabs to a freezer-safe container or into freezer bags.
If you are freezing the eggplant for specific recipes you can freeze in the portion sizes you need and simply seal it into the perfect portions with a vacuum sealer before placing it in your freezer.
For recipes like lasagna, you can prep the entire dish in an aluminum pan or freezer-safe baking dish and cover it before freezing it as is. This will allow you to pull it out and move it directly to the oven from the freezer for an easy delicious meal at a later date.
If making a breaded dish with the eggplant, prep it and freeze on cookie sheets to allow them to freeze individually before moving to air-tight containers so they are ready to fry right from the freezer.
HOW TO THAW FROZEN EGGPLANT
For most recipes, you will not need to thaw your eggplant if you prepared it before freezing. Simply remove from the freezer and cook. For recipes like dips, you will need to thaw before blending into your recipe.
To do this, set the sealed container on the counter for a couple of hours and drain any excess liquid or use the liquid in place of water in your recipe.
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