Eggplants are tender, delicious, and incredibly versatile for almost any dish. However, even when fresh, they spoil quickly. Canning eggplant is an excellent way to preserve it for many months, and you can even add more flavor by pickling.
Prepare the eggplants by washing, peeling, and cutting them into ¼ inch thick slices. Leave the eggplants in salt for an hour before rinsing them with water. Next, boil the pickling liquid and let the eggplants soak for 2-3 minutes. Fill the canning jars with eggplants and pickling liquid, then top it off with olive oil. Finally, process the jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, adding time depending on your altitude, then let the jars cool to room temperature.
Before canning, you need fresh eggplants to preserve the best flavor. Follow these quick tips to pick the freshest eggplants:
Tip #1: Select firm, but not hard, eggplants. They should have a little give, but not so much that the skin indents.
Tip #2: Avoid eggplants with moldy or mushy stems. The stem should be dark green.
Tip #3: Choose small to medium-sized eggplants, as large eggplants are bitter and have more seeds.
To prepare the eggplants for canning, wash them with water and air dry them. Next, cut off their stems and peel their skin. Eggplants oxidize and brown quickly when peeled, so give them some lemon juice to slow down the browning. Finally, cut the eggplants to a ¼ to ½ inch thickness.
You can make your pickling and canning liquid, but simple recipes work best. For pickling liquid, use vinegar, water, and sugar. As for the canning liquid, use olive oil and pickling liquid.
Before storing eggplant in pint-sized or quart-sized canning jars, you must sterilize them to avoid quick spoilage. Water bath canning will conveniently sterilize them in boiling water, but you still need to soak the jars in hot water before use.
A water bath canner uses boiling water to easily can eggplants. If you lack a water bath canner, you can use a large saucepot with a lid and rack. Processing times vary with altitude, so follow the table provided in this guide.
Generously salt the eggplants in a colander. Let them sit in the salt for an hour to remove any bitterness. Next, rinse the eggplants with water, then gently squeeze out all the water from each piece.
Prepare the pickling liquid by mixing 1 quart of vinegar, 1 pint of water, and ¼ cup of sugar. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and let it come to a boil. After the sugar dissolves, add the eggplants and let them soak for 2-3 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon and a jar funnel to transfer the eggplants and pickling liquid to your canning jars. Leave about an inch of headspace in each jar. Add any spices for more flavor, such as a teaspoon of crushed red pepper and a teaspoon of dried basil.
Next, top off the jars with enough olive oil to cover the eggplants while maintaining one inch of headspace. Finally, wipe off the jar rims, use a magnetic lid lifter to place the lids, and screw the jar rings until “fingertip” tight.
Fill your water bath canner with a few inches of water and let it come to a boil. At the same time, heat more water in a kettle. Carefully place your jars into the canner and ensure the jars do not touch each other. Top off the canner with more heated water to immerse the jars 2 inches underwater.
After the water comes to a boil, let the jars process for about 10 minutes or adjust the time based on your altitude. Next, let the water settle and use jar tongs to remove your jars from the canner.
|Jar Size||Canning Time at 1001-3000 ft||Canning Time at 3001-6000 ft||Canning Time at 6001-8000 ft||Canning Time at 8001-10000 ft|
|Pints or Quarts||Add 5 minutes||Add 10 minutes||Add 15 minutes||Add 20 minutes|
Set the jars on a mat and let them cool to room temperature for 24 hours. As they cool, you will hear the characteristic “pop” of them safely sealing shut. After the jars cool, remove their rings and wipe the jars with a damp cloth. Finally, label and store them in the pantry.
Pickled eggplants pair well with fresh, rustic bread as an appetizer. The bread soaks the pickling juice, making it incredibly flavorful. You can even make it a platter by adding cheeses, cold cuts, and more pickled vegetables.
Adding pickled eggplants are a convenient way to give starchy, everyday meals a tangy taste. Sandwiches, pasta, and potatoes taste exceptional with pickled eggplant toppings!
The best way to preserve eggplant is by freezing, extending its shelf life by a year. To freeze eggplants, cut peeled eggplants into ¼ inch thick slices. Next, blanch them for four minutes and cool them in an ice bath. After they dry, spread them in a baking tray lined with parchment paper and flash-freeze them for a few hours. Finally, store the eggplants in freezer bags for long-term storage.
Canned eggplants last up to 6 months when stored in an airtight container. Once the container seal opens, they will last 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
Eggplants have a short shelf life, and they will spoil in 1-2 days without refrigeration. Storing eggplants in the fridge keeps them fresh for 2-3 weeks, but they need to be frozen or canned to last a year.
Canning eggplants is convenient for adding flavor to everyday meals, such as pasta and sandwiches. They will last for many months when stored properly, saving time throughout the year. All you need to do is prepare, salt, and pickle the eggplants; then, they are ready for water bath canning!
If you enjoyed canning eggplants, you could learn how to can squash – a common eggplant substitute!
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