Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Great Way to Prepare and Preserve Eggplant

Eggplant, or Aubergine as we call it here in the UK, is a fantastically nutritious vegetable that is perfect for giving a meaty texture to vegetarian dishes. It’s really useful if you are trying to cut down on the amount of meat you are eating, and I have to confess I’ve fooled more than one avowed meat-eater with it, particularly when I add it to the vegetables in my Roast Vegetable Lasagna.

However, good eggplant can be hard to find. You want them to be firm, fresh, and brightly coloured. An ageing eggplant is never very appealing, nor is it tasty. My best source of eggplant has to be the organic vegetable box I have delivered each week. However, I have very little control over what comes in the box, as it depends on what is seasonal and available. So sometimes when I get eggplant, it isn’t a time that I can easily use it. Up until recently, this meant that they sometimes ended up in my compost bin, which was very disappointing.

Then I found a wonderful post on the Traditional Foods blog for Oven Roasted Eggplant. Not only was it easy, but once the eggplant was roasted, you could freeze it as well. I wasn’t absolutely certain about how well it would freeze, but I decided it was definitely worth a try.

After marinating the chopped eggplant in olive oil and seasonings, you simply spread it on a baking sheet and roast it in a very hot oven for a relatively short time.

I omitted the garlic Traditional Foods suggest, but other than that, I followed the recipe to the letter, and was rewarded with a pan full of sweetly roasted eggplant.

It tasted great freshly roasted, but as directed, I allowed it to cool and flat froze it, making sure to keep the pieces separate. Once it was all frozen I packaged it in freezer bags, ready to add to my favourite recipes.

A week or so later, when I was making our favourite lasagna, I added the frozen pieces of eggplant directly to the tomato sauce and carried on as usual. It worked beautifully. Now, every time I get eggplant in my organic vegetable box but cannot use it immediately, I use Traditional Foods easy and delicious recipe to preserve it. Do go and visit them; there is even a really helpful video to get you started.

Want some other ideas for using fresh eggplant? Try my delicious recipes:

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