What’s in the Garden? Eggplant

My blessings from the garden today are eggplants.  This year I planted a few varieties.  The Florida Market and the Black Beauty are dark purple eggplants.  The third variety is a green eggplant that I think is called the Louisiana Green.  The green eggplant is my favorite since it is usually a little less bitter.  However, I have a harder time finding the plants in the spring and therefore planted more purple eggplants than green.  Today I only harvested purple eggplants.

harvested-purple-eggplant

Since I don’t freeze my eggplants, I usually cook them the day I harvest them. Some of my favorite ways to cook my eggplants are eggplant fries, eggplant Parmesan, grilled eggplant, stuffed eggplant and eggplant pizza.  Even though I cook them in different recipes, I always begin by washing them in cool water and allowing them to dry.  Although some people don’t peel their eggplants, I choose to peel mine for all my recipes except when I am baking stuffed eggplant,.  I remove the peeling with a small paring knife or potato peeler. Next, I slice my eggplant.  If I am making fries, I cut them in thin strips similar to french fried potatoes.  When making eggplant Parmesan or pizzas, I cut the eggplant into circular slices.  For grilling, I like to cut the eggplant diagonally into long strips.

After cutting an eggplant, I place it in a colander and sprinkle it with salt. I believe that it helps to remove bitterness.  Once again, this is a step that some people choose to skip.  I let the eggplant rest for about 30 minutes.  You  will notice beads of water rolling off the eggplant and falling into the colander so make sure that you place the colander in a bowl or the sink to avoid a mess on your counter.

eggplant-sliced

Lastly, I rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat dry.  These eggplants are cut in thin strips which means that I am cooking eggplant fries.  I will share the recipe and pictures in my next post.

–Penny

fried-eggplant-fries

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