There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh baked eggplant to get your mouth watering. While many people gravitate toward fried eggplant to satisfy their need for an eggplant fix, frying eggplant can not only be a messy, cumbersome way to eat it, but it also adds a lot of extra calories.
Baking eggplant serves many purposes. Baked eggplant can be used in a variety of dishes, including everybody’s favorite, eggplant parmesan, but it can also be frozen for later use. Baking helps to remove the bitterness and chewy texture of the vegetable – and it’s also incredibly easy to do.
Here’s how to do it.
- 6 medium eggplants
- Olive oil
- Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- After washing the fruit, slice your eggplant into ¼ inch thick rounds. You don’t need to peel beforehand! Just make sure you trim off the ends.
In a large bowl, dissolve your salt into half a cup of warm water. Once the salt has dissipated, add six cups of cool water and mix well. Then, place your eggplant slices in the salt water.
- Put a pot lid on top of the bowl on the eggplant pieces to keep them submerged. Let them sit for about half an hour. Then, remove the eggplant and strain in a colander. This, along with the salt, will help remove any excess moisture from the eggplant.
- Pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel and then lay it on a baking sheet. Use a fork to pierce the eggplant a few times, which will prevent additional moisture and pressure build up.
- Lightly spray or brush your eggplant slices with olive oil. Turn them over and brush once more.
- Roast the eggplant for about forty minutes – but no longer than an hour. You’ll notice that the eggplant begins to collapse.
- When it’s done, you can scoop the flesh out of the inside of the eggplant to freeze it, or you can use it as is.
- Baking sheet
- Pastry brush or bottle with sprayer nozzle
- Aluminum foil
Storing Your Baked Eggplant
A few notes on storing your baked eggplant – if you want to freeze your baked eggplant, put the flesh into airtight containers or vacuum-seal bags, leaving half an inch of headspace. When pre-baked and then frozen, eggplant will last for one year.
If you use a standard freezer bag, just make sure you remove as much air as possible. This will prevent freezer burn. Vacuum sealed bags tend to work best, but they do take some moisture out of the eggplant – so keep this in mind.
If you decide to pack your eggplant into freezer-safe containers, just leave the aforementioned headspace at the top to give the eggplant room to expand as it freezes. Never use glass containers.
No matter what kind of container you use, make sure you label it clearly with the date you froze it so that you will know how long your eggplant has been in the freezer.
If you’re feeling super organized, you can even separate the eggplant slices with pieces of plastic wrap. This will allow you to easily separate the slices from each other when you remove them, and it’s a great idea if you only plan on using small amounts of eggplant at a time.
If you want to use your baked eggplant immediately, skip the storage steps listed above. As soon as you pull your baked eggplant out of the oven, it’s ready to be used! This recipe can easily be doubled and tripled as needed, too – you may just need to work in batches to give yourself enough oven space and baking sheet access.
You can also go ahead and freeze the eggplant inside a ready-made meal. For example, eggplant parmesan or casseroles with eggplant in them are great ways to use up your eggplant – and you won’t have to do any work upon thawing your casseroles than to simply heat and eat them!
Looking for more ideas on how to preserve eggplant? Be sure to check out our article with over a dozen ways to preserve eggplant!
Rebekah is a part-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies.