We’ve been busy around the farmhouse. So busy, we sometimes forget about sitting down to write an entry here. The seven days since our last visit have flown by. We somehow managed to pass our home insurance inspection, we had to break down and buy an inexpensive washer when Mike couldn’t make a good one out of the _two_ that were left here, the clothesline was restrung and used for the first time on a beautiful sunny day
AND I was finally able to do a little bit of canning. Eggplant. Beautiful, delicious eggplant from our local farmer’s market.
Canning eggplant? Don’t worry, the lady at the farmer’s market asked me the same thing after I purchased NINE of these babies. Eggplant caponata, anyone? Or eggplant pickles?
It kind of hurt my heart to cut them and put them in jars, but I know how we love our eggplant caponata. The pickled eggplant is a new recipe for 2013, so keep your fingers crossed that it’s everything we would like it to be. If you are wondering what eggplant caponata is exactly, it can be described in one word: Deliciousness. A bit strong with the onions and garlic, but it’s a perfect spread on homemade crusty bread or in the place of tomato sauce on a pizza. The recipe I use is adapted from this one.
2 T olive oil
3-4 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed (I use a garlic press)
1 large eggplant, sliced and cut in small cubes (it’s about 3 cups and I prefer using the long Chinese eggplant)
½ C red bell pepper, chopped (I prefer the taste of the red bell pepper)
½ C sweet onion, chopped
¼ C chopped parsley (you don’t have to use fresh, but be sure to convert the fresh to the dry – you won’t need to use as much)
1 T sugar (I use organic, evaporated cane juice)
½ tsp crushed oregano
¼ tsp crushed basil
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 C canned tomato paste
¼ C water
1 C red wine vinegar (5% acidity)
First step: Clean your kitchen and countertops. (And make sure your dear husband will be gone for the day…)
Prepare your jars, lids rings and water bath canner. Make sure you have enough lids. And rings. And towels.
Heat the oil and garlic in a large saucepan on low until fragrant (oh, I love this part!) Add bell pepper, onion and parsley.
Cook on low until soft. Add eggplant and continue to cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes – you want to basically sauté the eggplant in the yummy oil you’ve made. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, herbs, salt and pepper, then add the water, vinegar and tomato paste. Whisk the tomato paste into this mixture so it’s ready to go into your saucepan. Add mixture to saucepan and cook until eggplant is tender. There is no reason to cook this on high heat.
Once the mixture is tender, ladle into the hot jars and fill to about ½ inch of headspace, removing any air bubbles. Wipe rims and add hot lids/rings. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes (half pints) or 20 minutes for pints, and then listen for my favorite Pop! Pop! Popping! noise.
This recipe makes approximately 5 cups. Usually, I double this recipe – when I do this, I end up with around 9 half pint jars.