The Best Methods for Freezing Fresh Eggplant
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a versatile fruit loaded with nutrition, which makes it a popular crop for gardeners. Although it has the best flavor if used right away, you can freeze fresh eggplant to use it later in stews, sauces and casseroles.
Roast Eggplant before Freezing
If your garden is overflowing with tender, fresh eggplant, or you found a great sale at the market and stocked up, then you have the option of preserving your eggplant by freezing it. Black eggplant varieties work the best for freezing, rather than Japanese or Chinese eggplants. The following two roasting methods work well for freezing eggplant.
Sliced eggplant is a tasty addition for sandwiches and eggplant casseroles. You can freeze it by cutting the eggplant into one-inch thick slices. Preheat your oven to 350° and bake the slices on a cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, or until it’s tender. Cool the slices, and then place them individually between waxed paper. Freeze the slices in air tight containers or freezer bags.
If you want to use some of your eggplant for dips or sauces, then you can roast the whole eggplant, and puree it after baking. Preheat the oven to 400°. Take your eggplant, and poke holes in the skin with a fork. Bake the eggplant for about 45 minutes. It will start to collapse when it’s ready to take out of the oven. After cooling it, cut the eggplant in half, and remove the flesh. You can puree it to a smooth consistency, or just freeze it as is.
Blanch Eggplant before Freezing
Blanching is another method you can use for freezing eggplants. Choose young, firm eggplants for the best results for freezing. Follow these steps when preparing your eggplants for blanching:
- Slice the eggplant in half
- Scoop out the seeds
- Cut the eggplant into thick slices
- Pour one-half cup of lemon juice into a gallon of water
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot
- Add the eggplant to the water
- Boil for four to five minutes
- Drain and cool
- Freeze in air tight container or freezer bags
Fry Eggplant before Freezing
Using the frying and freezing method, you prepare your eggplants for your favorite recipes before freezing. One example is dipping eggplant slices into a breadcrumbs and Parmesan mixture, frying them until crisp, and freezing them on a cookie sheet. After they’re frozen, place them in freezer bags, and you’re good-to-go for using your preserved eggplants in any of your recipes.