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You can freeze eggplant, or aubergine, and you should freeze it if you want to preserve your fresh eggplant for more than a few days. Eggplant is used in some particularly delicious recipes from a variety of cultures. It is versatile and can be cooked in a simple stir-fry or an elaborate moussaka. Unfortunately, an eggplant won't stay fresh for long in the refrigerator---14 days at best. The only dependable way to store it is to freeze the eggplant.
Pick eggplants that are at their peak of ripeness. You can test this by firmly pressing the eggplant with your thumb or finger. If ripe, the flesh will give a bit and then bounce back when you remove the pressure. If the flesh of the eggplant does not give, it's not yet ripe. If it gives but does not bounce back, it is overripe.
To prepare the eggplant, peeled or unpeeled, start by washing. Cut off both ends and cut the rest of the eggplant into 1-1.5cm (1/3 or ½-inch) slices. Don’t wait long before the next step or your slices will begin to turn brown.
Blanching keeps the eggplant from becoming discolored. Place the slices in boiling water. Add 120ml (½ cup) of fresh or bottled lemon juice. Let the slices stay in the water and lemon juice mixture for four minutes.
Remove the eggplant slices from the boiling water and place them in ice water until they have cooled completely, about five minutes.
Drain and dry the slices. Place freezer paper between the slices and put them into freezer bags or freezer containers. Expert recommendations vary regarding the storage time for frozen eggplant. Most suggest six to nine months in a regular refrigerator freezer and longer in a deep freezer.
- You can bread the slices before wrapping if you'd like to have them ready for frying. It's not necessary to thaw the eggplant before frying.
- Another wonderful way to freeze eggplant after slicing and blanching is to place your slices in an oven-safe or microwaveable dish with the rest of your ingredients for eggplant Parmesan, moussaka or other recipe that calls for eggplant in a casserole. Place the tightly covered casserole in the freezer.
- Never freeze an eggplant whole. It will need to be sliced for freezing.
- Eggplants turn brown quickly after they're cut, so plan to freeze only the amount you can prepare in a timely fashion before it becomes discoloured.
- Be sure your freezer containers are tight and resist moisture.
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