How to Freeze Eggplant
Eggplant is a vegetable that can be wonderful to have on hand. It is healthy and nutritious, a great meaty vegetable for satisfying vegetarian and vegan entrees, and super versatile due to its ability to stand up to strong flavors. If you love eggplant, you may have wondered if you can freeze eggplant? And the answer is a resounding yes!
Selecting an Eggplant
There are a few things to think about before you explore the best way to freeze eggplant. First is choosing the right eggplant. Standard eggplants tend to freeze a little better than Thai or Japanese varieties. Look for eggplants that feel heavy for their size and have taut, shiny, unblemished skin with green leaves and stems. If the stems and leaves are dried out, the eggplant is older.
Can You Freeze Raw Eggplant?
The answer here is a little complicated. Cooked eggplant freezes a little bit better than raw, since eggplants are full of water and freezing it raw means that the water makes ice crystals that break cell walls. Then when thawed the eggplant will be mushy and watery. But the eggplant doesn't need to be fully cooked to mitigate this. So, you can freeze fresh eggplant with a little extra prep.
For starters, peel the eggplant and slice it (or cube it, if the recipe you have in mind calls for it, like in a caponata). Put it in a colander and salt it to draw out excess moisture and give it a bit of seasoning, and let it sit in the sink for half an hour or so to drain. Then rinse quickly to remove the salt, and pat dry. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with a cup of water, and lightly brush the eggplant with it to ensure that it doesn't get brown. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl lined with paper towels and microwave for 5 minutes. Lay the slices on a parchment-lined sheet pan, not touching, and let cool to room temperature, then freeze uncovered until solidly frozen. Transfer to a freezer bag to use as needed. Try it in an Eggplant Curry.
How Do I Use Frozen Eggplant?
Once you have your stash of frozen eggplant, before you use it in a recipe, thaw overnight in the fridge. Drain off any excess water and pat dry if needed. Then use in any eggplant recipe you love! Need some inspiration? Check out some of our favorite Easy Eggplant Recipes!
Can You Freeze Roasted Eggplant?
Fully cooked eggplant freezes beautifully in a multitude of formats. If you want to have it as an ingredient for future dishes, roasting is a wonderful way to prepare it for freezing. Follow the same steps as above to salt and drain, then transfer to a lightly oiled sheet pan and roast at 400°F for 20 to 30 minutes, until soft and browned. If you want to use it for dips, prick the whole eggplant all over with a fork, and roast whole on a sheet pan in a 400°F oven until completely soft. Then scrape the eggplant out of the skin and cool the mash to room temperature before storing in a freezer container or bag. Use sliced roasted eggplant in these Eggplant Lasagna Rolls.
Can You Freeze Fried Eggplant?
Fried eggplant is great in all sorts of recipes. And if you have ever wondered if you can freeze eggplant Parmesan, freezing the fried eggplant on its own is the best way to make that classic dish. Simply make your fried eggplant slices as you normally would, cool to room temp, then arrange them in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze, uncovered, until solid. Stash the frozen slices in a freezer bag for future eggplant Parm sandwiches, entrees or casseroles.
Freezing eggplant is entirely possible as well as useful. Freezing it raw takes a bit of preparation, but if you're an aubergine lover or come from a family of parm fanatics, it's so worth it.