What to do with fresh eggplant? Eggplant is a hard and seemingly funny one! But this is where we are at now with our Ideas for using fresh garden veggies series.
I have always been fascinated by eggplant. It is such a weird and unique veggie. I must say, we have received it in our co-op produce basket quite a number of times, so although, this is one veggie that we haven’t actually grown at home, if you are a part of co-ops or other produce shares, you might come across this fairly often. Of course, you may be the type that just loves to go and buy one at the grocery store too!
Either way, we want to share ideas on what to do with eggplant.
Fresh Garden Eggplant Idea #1 – Use in Pastas
So for the first idea, we wanted to share this great recipe for Eggplant Pasta HERE. Check out the recipe.
In fact, we have talked about eggplant being a great pasta replacement in many recipes. We shared 4 Tips to Make Healthier Pasta and one way is to replace half of the pasta with veggies and eggplant is at the top of that list! And within the pasta replacement category, one of the most popular ways is in lasagna. Replace half of the lasagna noodles with strips of eggplant instead.
Fresh Garden Eggplant Idea #3 – Grilled Eggplant
Like I said above, eggplant is an fascinating veggie – it’s uses for eating are often quite unique.
Now while grilling veggies is not unique at all, how to grill eggplant is a more unique process than most veggies.
There are grilling secrets to have your eggplant come off the grill just right and have good taste and consistency.
How To Grill Eggplant – Easy Steps to Perfected Eggplant Grilling
You will want to soak the eggplant in a salt water for at least 30 minutes.
- Wash the eggplant and then slice into round slices.
- Then prepare a bowl of salt water – dissolve 1 TBSP of salt in about 1/2 cup of warm water. Then add 4 cups of cold water.
- Place your eggplant in the water (using something to keep them immersed) for about 30 minutes. If you have more eggplant than water, just double the water/salt mixture above. You want the eggplants fully submerged and free to soak in the water.
- Then take out of the water and place on paper towels. Take another paper towel and pat each piece dry!
- Prepare your grill to the high temperature.
- Brush your eggplant with an olive oil, salt and pepper blend.
- Place oiled side down on the top rack of the grill and cook for about 5 mins.
- Similar to the zucchini – we find it is best to cook these with the grill open on the highest heat and on the top rack.
- Flip the eggplant over, and brush the other side with the olive oil/salt/pepper blend and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately and warm.
This is best served right away, reheated or leftover grilled eggplant is not great.
Fresh Garden Eggplant Idea #3 – Roasted Eggplant
This is the year-round alternative to grilling and still very good!
The benefit of roasted eggplant is that you can add a bit more flavor without losing it to the grill!
So it is quite a tasty way to go!
How to Make Roasted Eggplant
- Wash and slice the eggplant (it can also be cubed, but we always prefer the round slices).
- Then make an olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper (and parmesan if wanted!) mixture in a medium bowl.
- Then add your eggplant slices and toss and mix until all sides of the eggplant is well coated in the mixture.
- Lay the pieces flat on a greased pan and place in a 400 degree oven for 25-35 minutes.
- They will be done when they are soft and have been browned on the top. You can also add a bit of shredded Mozzarella Cheese the final 5 minutes.
- Again, serve immediately. Top with more parmesan or even mozzarella.
I tend to think of this as a perfect side to an Italian themed meal. Eggplant couples well in pasta but it is also great as a side to pasta too.
Fresh Garden Eggplant Idea #4 – How to Freeze Eggplant
Now the next thing we wanted to share, was how to freeze eggplant. If you really like the idea of including it in your pasta, then freezing is a great option! Remember, when it comes to freezing veggies, you will not be able to use them as a raw eating option and many cooking options will not taste right either. But pasta, frying, or sautéing are all a good way to go for your frozen eggplant.
The process is also very similar to the other veggies – you need to blanch them first!
How to freeze eggplant:
- Wash the eggplant
- Trim the ends off.
- Then peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler.
- Slice the eggplant into thickish slices (about 1/3 – 1/2 inch thick).
- Bring a pot of 8 cups of water to a rolling boil (you want a generous amount of water).
- Then add the eggplant to the rolling boil.
- Immediately add 1/4 cup of lemon juice (this prevents browning).
- Blanch for about 3 minutes.
- Drain and immediately add to a bowl of ice water and soak in ice water for about 3 minutes.
- Then drain them and let them dry for a few minutes. A salad spinner will also help speed up drying time. Even dabbing with a paper towel will help!
- Finally, bag them up and label them with the date! Freeze and enjoy later! You can bag in sandwich size bags with many slices in one bag and plan to use it all at one time from that smaller serving. If you want to freeze them all in one large gallon+ size bag and just take out a handful at a time, you will first need to freeze them flat on a cookie sheet and then, once solidly frozen (like overnight), transfer them to the gallon size bag and when you need a bit of eggplant, just grab what you need from the bag.
What do you make with eggplant?
Keep watching for more ideas on using your garden veggies as we have many more veggies recipes and ideas to share this summer with you as you make the most of your garden and farmer’s market finds!
For actual garden ideas, we wanted to remind you that we have been sharing so many gardening ideas on our Garden Gallery of Ideas HERE, Pinterest HERE and Facebook HERE that we hope you are seeing some incredible results with your homegrown food supply. And, as always, we will continue to share gardening tips and ideas on all our site.
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