A beautiful bounty comes late in the summer.
Eggplant flowers bloom and ripen. It is a sight to awaken the Italian within us all.
Store-bought eggplant always takes so much manipulation to extract the bitterness from it. However, freshly picked eggplant from a compost rich garden, will yield effortless tastiness. Yum! So buttery and mellow with just a bit of garlic and a quick sauté in olive oil. Make use of all those garden cherry tomatoes and your fresh thyme too, uh, yes!
The bounty you have been waiting for all summer seems to come all at once. So once you have shared all that you can bear to give away, how do you store it?
- Put it in a paper towel or plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge. It needs a little protection, but should not be tightly wrapped up. It will last like this for up to7 days. (Have apples in the fridge? Keep these two separate; the offgasssing will cause the eggplants to bruise.)
- Thinly slice the eggplant and dehydrate following your dehydrator’s guidelines (115F for 12-15 hours.) Store in an air-tight container for later use.
- Blanch sliced eggplant in boiling water with salt for a couple minutes. Quickly remove from heat and place under cool water in a strainer. Allow the pieces to dry and put them in a plastic freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. (Mostly advisable for use in sauces, as the texture after being frozen and thawed will be rather mushy.)
Do not wash your eggplant before putting it in the fridge.
Or else it will look like these poor guys. I had pre-washed all the veggies for a dinner, then ended up not using these two eggplants. I put them back in the fridge, and had forgotten that I already washed them. Uhg! After learning what a sorry waste this causes, I wish I had cooked it all at once. Once cooked, the leftovers stay good in the fridge for 3 days (5 if you’re adventurous.)
This garden-fresh bounty was gifted to me by a dear friend. I hope your table is looking similarly these days and you get to gather around some great meals with your friends and family. But if you don’t get to cooking and sharing all that eggplant, now you know how to keep it to enjoy another day.