Joilene has been gardening and preserving food of all kinds for many years, and she thrives on the creativity involved in these processes.
Nearly all kinds of food can be dried. Eggplants are no exception. The re-hydrated product is, as you would expect, not quite like fresh from the garden, but it is good and serviceable in many eggplant recipes.
So if you have an abundance of eggplants and are wondering what to do with them all, dehydrating is a good answer! At least 10 medium-sized eggplants can then be stored in a quart-sized jar and need nothing more than a little boiling water poured over them to rehydrate the pieces. Add them to your recipes as you would fresh eggplant.
Step 1: Slice or Dice Your Eggplants One at a Time
Step 2: Blanch Your Eggplant Pieces
Step 3: Dry Your Eggplant Pieces
Step 4: Remove From Screens or Trays, and Package in Bags or Jars
How to Prepare Dried Eggplant for Cooking
To rehydrate, boil drinking water and pour over eggplant pieces to cover or a little more. Be sure to remember how much the pieces have shrunk, and don't prepare too many! Let sit for at least 30–45 minutes or more.
The eggplant, like many dehydrated foods, will not soak up quite as much water as it had originally, but it will rehydrate sufficiently to please you in your recipes.
Now you'll have eggplants to use all year, whenever you please!
Insects and Stored Dried Eggplant
A word of warning: Insects love dried eggplant. So if your pantry is prone to moths, etc.—consider freezing your dried eggplant, or put a few pieces in each jar of something insects seem to detest—like dried rhubarb, dried green beans (usually), or dried carrots (usually). Moths are a problem at my house, and storage methods don't seem to matter—my jars can be properly sealed, as clean as can be, and apparently airtight. It's worth taking precautions so you don't lose your food and the time and effort it took to preserve it.
An Experiment Regarding Unblanched Dried Eggplant
Questions & Answers
Question: I appreciate your step by step instruction in drying eggplant! I have a lot of eggplants from my garden and am New at dehydrating & Canning etc.. I just did a batch of eggplant I blanched & froze diced for a Caponata recipe. Is it possible to dehydrate it After it thaws? Also, I blanched & breaded slices for Parmesan waxpaper between layers. I'm New to this but Love my eggplant! Can I dehydrate and use for cooking to put in my pasta sauce like I do fresh?
Answer: I have never tried dehydrating anything but fresh eggplant. My guess is that dehydrating pre-frozen eggplant will not turn out well, since freezing breaks down the cells walls, releasing moisture and toughening the remaining membranes. This is why foods which sometimes seemed OK when fresh get toughened after freezing. During dehydration, fresh foods react by losing their water and getting brittle, not necessarily tough. So, starting with anything but fresh, I think you would wind up with leather, which would not rehydrate nicely. But I might be wrong. If you decide to try this procedure, please comment with your results, so the rest of us can learn, too.
© 2009 Joilene Rasmussen