Eggplant might not be the most popular veggie out there, but quite a few people want to know how one can freeze it. As a matter of fact, we freeze eggplant in the same way we freeze other veggies, so if you’ve frozen other veggies before, there’s not many new things you need to learn. Below is a step by step guide to freezing eggplant, so you can be sure you’re doing it right. Please note that this article focuses on one of the ways to freeze eggplant. You can probably find other methods out there and it’s difficult to say which one is best. The best thing you can do is to test out all of them and pick up the one that works best.
How to freeze eggplant
Before you freeze
There’s a couple of things about freezing eggplant that you should be aware of before you start. First thing is – frozen veggies lose some of their taste and texture (even if you blanch them before putting into the freezer) and therefore work best only in cooked dishes like sauces, stews, soups, etc. Also, you shouldn’t keep veggies to long in the freezer. When it comes to eggplant, it’s suggested that it should be used within 6 to 9 months after freezing to ensure its quality is still quite good.
Image used under Creative Commons from garlandcannon
First things first, so you start off by washing all eggplants you plan to freeze under running water and drying it. Then it’s time to cut their ends, peel them (if you want) and cut them into slices. When slicing, consider what shape and size will be needed for the dish you’re going to cook with those eggplant slices. Now we’re ready to proceed to the next section.
Blanching is optional, although many people recommends it, especially if you plan to freeze a veggie for a longer period of time. As we all know, freezing causes slow loss of quality in the frozen object. In case of veggies, most of the lose some of their taste and their texture changes. Blanching helps prevent that and that’s why it’s recommended if one plans to store veggies in the freezer for a longer period of time.
How to blanch eggplant? Simple answer is: just like you would have blanched any other vegetable. Bring a pot of water to boil, transfer eggplant slices into the boiling water and keep them there for 3-4 minutes. This time depends on the thickness of the slices you’ve prepared. The thicker (or larger) they are, the longer they should stay in boiling water to cook properly. After that short period of time, you need to immediately cool eggplant slices down. Cold running water and a pot or sink (depending on the number of eggplants you’re preparing) of ice-cold water will do the trick. Then it’s time to dry cooled veggies. Done.
Please note that if you’re already cooked eggplants you plant to freeze, you’ve accomplished the blanching step at the same time, so you should omit it.
This part is easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Pick up some freezer bags, divide prepare eggplant slices into few groups (one group should have as many slices as you’ll need in a meal you’ll use them in) and transfer each group into a freezer bag. Before sealing those bags make sure to squeeze as much air from them as you can, to avoid freezer burn. Seal those bags tightly, label them and put into the freezer. Done.
As you can see, freezing eggplant isn’t that difficult. The whole process is basically the same as in freezing other veggies. You can even pre-freeze eggplant slices if you want, so you’ll be able to scoop a certain amount of slices from each freezer bag without any additional hassle.