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People often wonder about the correct freezing of eggplant, since the season for these vegetables is not as long as they would like. In order to preserve the taste of this vegetable until winter, first of all, it is worthwhile to understand that they cannot be frozen raw. That is why methods have been invented to help deal with their preservation for a long time.
Can I freeze
Blue ones can be frozen; for this, the fruits should at least be soaked. They cannot be sent raw to the freezer. Also, do not forget about the timing of freezing. This product can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year. In this case, the temperature should be at a level not higher than -18 degrees.
Speaking of re-freezing, this is not recommended.
Selection and preparation of fruits for freezing
In order for the freezing of eggplants to become successful, first of all, you should pay attention to the fact that when buying vegetables, they are fresh and free from signs of spoilage.
Among the other selection rules, the following can be distinguished:
- The peel of vegetables is even and smooth, without visible damage.
- When pressed, the vegetable should quickly regain its shape, which will indicate an elastic pulp.
- Fresh fruits are always heavy. A vegetable 15-17 centimeters long weighs about 500 grams.
- Ideal would be eggplant, the pulp of which is white, and in contact with air for a long time retains its appearance. In this case, the seeds should not have an unpleasant odor and be dark. If there are no such signs, the freezing will most likely fail.
- For such purposes, it is better to give preference to small fruits, since large specimens contain more corned beef, which gives a bitter taste.
- It is also worth paying attention to the stalk. In fresh vegetables, it is green and wrinkle-free.
- In no case should you use overripe fruits, as evidenced by wrinkled peel or dryness on it.
When the vegetables are selected, it is worth thinking about proper preparation. To do this, you need to cut them and then make sure that they are rid of excess water, since otherwise there is a chance that they will turn into porridge.
At the next stage, it is worth making heat treatment, it can be baking, blanching, frying or stewing.
How to properly prepare the refrigerator
Preparing the refrigerator is about providing free space for storing vegetables. If an unsealed container is used, the temperature in the freezer must be maintained at -18 degrees. When using sealed dishes, -12 is sufficient.
The best recipes for freezing eggplant at home
Today, housewives use a lot of ways to store blue ones in the freezer. Then they can be used as a main product or added to salads. Regardless of the freezing option, it is worth considering even the smallest features of the process, since otherwise there is a high probability that the vegetables will lose their taste or shape.
To preserve whole eggplants in the freezer, buy young and not spoiled vegetables. Next, the raw fruits should be washed well without removing the stalk, and placed in a peel in a pan. At the same time, it is recommended to set the minimum value for the fire on the stove so that the vegetables do not burn.
When they are cooked, they should be sure to get rid of the bitter skins and wrap them in cling film after cooling. Further, the blanks can be packed and sent to freeze.
This method is considered one of the most convenient, since it allows you to get the fruits at any time, and, since they are whole, prepare delicious dishes from them. In most cases, eggplant caviar is prepared from such frozen fruits.
Another common option is to add them to tomatoes for a summer flavor.
To prepare blanks using blanching, you should prepare a pot of water, salt and lemon juice. When the water boils, salt it and pour one tablespoon of lemon juice. Next, you can lower the pieces of eggplant there and boil for no more than 5 minutes.
Then you can start taking them out and dipping them in ice water. Fruits can be put in pots and in the freezer only when they have completely cooled down and dried.
Freezing in strips or cubes
To prepare a vegetable for the winter, cut into strips or cubes, it is worth buying hard, but ripe eggplants. You can cut them into pieces, about 2 by 2 centimeters in size. If, after freezing, they go to cook stews, it is worth peeling the fruits from the peel.
If you want to freeze a vegetable that has been cut into roll strips, you do not need to peel the skin. When it comes to freezing raw eggplant, you can start soaking it, and then dry it well, place it in an airtight container and send it to freeze.
Freezing oven baked eggplants
To successfully freeze the stewed eggplant while maintaining its flavor, it is advisable to cut the vegetables into cubes. Next, it is worth preheating the oven to 190 degrees. Grease a form, baking sheet or pan with vegetable oil. Now you can put eggplant cubes here and simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In this case, it is not at all necessary to salt the vegetable. This can be done at will. After the specified time has elapsed, the eggplants can be removed from the oven and allowed to cool to room temperature.
A container is used directly for freezing. For convenience, it is advisable to place a sticker on it with the inscription of exactly how the vegetable was processed and the date of cooking. Frozen stews are great for making crumble with vegetables.
Freezing stewed fruits
If the goal is to freeze stewed vegetables, you should follow the same scheme as when baking in the oven. Whether to peel the fruit or not is up to you. It all depends on what kind of dishes the person is going to cook after defrosting.
If the cook has not yet decided on this, it is still better to peel the eggplants, since in this case it will be possible to cook anything from them, and not be afraid for the taste with bitterness, which will not always be appropriate.
So that frozen vegetables do not turn out to be bitter in the future, they should be pierced deeply with a toothpick in several places. Further, the fruits can be boiled whole. Compared to boiling in pieces, they should stay in boiling water for 3 times longer. Before that, do not forget to add salt to the water. When the eggplants are ready, they are taken out and left to cool completely.
After that, you can begin to cut them into pieces, and at the same time dry well with a towel.
Eggplants fried in a pan are frozen according to the following scheme:
- first you need to choose fresh eggplants. Before cooking, they are well washed, cut in the required way and soaked in water;
- after that, drain the water and dry the vegetables well;
- then vegetable oil is poured into a frying pan, heated a little, and then eggplants are laid out for thorough frying;
- so that in the future too much fat is not absorbed into the vegetable, it is better to put the finished product on a paper towel that absorbs moisture well;
- when the fruits have cooled, they are laid out on a flat wooden surface and wrapped in foil. After they are ready to be sent for freezing;
- if there are a lot of vegetables, they can be folded according to the same principle in several tiers. After a couple of hours, when the fruits are well frozen, they can be taken out of the refrigerator and put into a container with a tight lid or in an airtight bag.
Storage terms and rules
As mentioned earlier, eggplant in any form is not recommended for freezing for more than 12 months. In order for them to preserve their taste, if whole vegetables are sent to the freezer, they should be rid of the stalk.
Best of all, frozen vegetables retain their properties in containers that can be closed as tightly as possible. If air gets inside, the shelf life will be shortened.
It should be understood that the success of freezing directly depends on how correctly the fruit was prepared. If mistakes were made during the drying or steeping process, later this will lead to the fact that the eggplants will be spoiled and become unfit for human consumption.
How to properly defrost food
In some cases, frozen blue ones can be started immediately, without defrosting. Another commonly used option is to move them to the refrigerator, where they will thaw gradually. Sometimes it is more important to lay them out on a flat surface and leave them to defrost at room temperature.
It is not recommended to use a microwave for such purposes. This is due to the fact that it can adversely affect the structure of the vegetable, after which it will become loose.
What can be cooked after defrosting
The most common frozen eggplant dishes are:
- Caviar. To prepare it, you can use fruits with a preliminary heat treatment, and at the same time cut into completely different pieces. In this case, no recommendations are provided, since the blue ones are crushed to the consistency of mashed potatoes during the cooking process.
- Rolls. To do this, baked or fried fruits are thawed and wrapped in a mixture of cheese, garlic and herbs.
- Roast in pots. For such a dish, it is better to cut the fruits into small cubes. They are placed in pots with meat, as well as other ingredients, and then placed in the oven.
- Turrets of tomatoes, blue and grated cheese. To prepare such a dish, vegetables are cut into rings. Before cooking, they should be completely defrosted and heated to room temperature. Then you can settle tomatoes on them and sprinkle with grated cheese on top.
In most cases, from thawed blue ones, you can cook everything the same as from fresh ones. If the freezing was done correctly, it will not affect the taste of this fruit in any way.
The beneficial qualities of eggplant
A large amount of various minerals and vitamins is concentrated in the blue ones. That is why eggplant should be present in the diet of any person who wants to be healthy. Thanks to potassium salts, fruits have a positive effect on blood vessels and heart performance.
Doctors advise people who have metabolic problems to eat these vegetables. They will also be useful for pain in the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and liver. The fruits are also rich in fiber, which has a positive effect on the intestinal function. Eggplant will also be beneficial for people who are on a diet, as they contain only 28 kilocalories.