Freezing vegetables is one way to enjoy the flavor of summer well into the fall and winter. It also is a great way to save money. Growing or buying vegetables when they're in season and preserving them for later is far cheaper than buying imported, out-of-season vegetables. Eggplant is a surprisingly easy vegetable to freeze, and can be used in many delicious dishes.
Cooking with Frozen Eggplant
Start with a fresh, firm eggplant. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry. Peel the skin of the eggplant with a knife or peeler, and discard. Slice the eggplant flesh into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Soak the slices of eggplant in a bowl of water with 4 tbsp. of salt. The salt draws out the bitter taste that eggplants sometimes have. Rinse the eggplant pieces after soaking in saltwater.
Fill a stock pot with cold water and 1 tsp. of salt and bring to a boil. Drop the eggplant pieces into the boiling water and blanch for two to three minutes. Make sure the eggplant is completely covered in the water.
Remove eggplant from the boiling water and cool in a bowl of ice water. You do not want to overcook the eggplant pieces, but blanching them will preserve their flavor and texture even after freezing. Place the cooled, blanched eggplant into a colander to drain.
Place eggplant slices in plastic freezer bags, removing air. You can separate the slices with plastic wrap or wax paper if you want to prevent the slices from sticking together. When you are ready to cook with the eggplant, just thaw out the slices and cook according to the recipe directions. Or add frozen eggplant directly to the dish while cooking.
Eggplant that has been frozen won't hold its shape well once it has been thawed. For dishes such as Eggplant Parmesan, it is best to prepare the entire dish before freezing.