SQWIB
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For love of the Eggplant

I have to say I am extremely happy with the raised beds this year, I still have eggplants coming, even after the near week of a cold snap.
What puzzles me is the eggplant plants in the front are looking a bit wimpy but the ones in the back are exploding, the plants in the back don't get as much sun because of the guys in the front.

This has been my third year in a row with incredible harvest from the eggplant plants, there were years I couldn't grow one.

I'm a bit greedy with my eggplant, the better half always wants to give them away but I'm stingy with these because I keep finding new ways to enjoy this marvelous fruit!

A bit off note here, but many say the BB's are bitter and need to be salted, I haven't had one bitter one yet, I try to pick them when they are shiny.
The only problems I have are usually the ones that I miss that are small and loose their shine, they get very seedy and aren't worth cooking.
I have roasted these, made casseroles, breadcrumb and fried even froze, Zataran battered and fried, old bay french fries, on pizza roasted and breaded, shredded in burgers, in omelets etc...

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pepperhead212
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Great year for EP here, as well, and mine also hit a dry spell with those very cool nights. But as soon as it got to the 80s in the day again, there are flowers all over! I only grow them in SIPs, and only have 6 plants producing huge numbers - far more than I can use!

I make countless dishes with EP though the summer. I also grill the flatter ones, scrape the soft EP out, and freeze it, to use in the off season. But most of mine goes into the dehydrator. I have 4 gallon jars filled with dried chunks, and another one just started. 1 lb reduces to 1.45 oz.
Dave

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

pepperhead212 wrote:Great year for EP here, as well, and mine also hit a dry spell with those very cool nights. But as soon as it got to the 80s in the day again, there are flowers all over! I only grow them in SIPs, and only have 6 plants producing huge numbers - far more than I can use!

I make countless dishes with EP though the summer. I also grill the flatter ones, scrape the soft EP out, and freeze it, to use in the off season. But most of mine goes into the dehydrator. I have 4 gallon jars filled with dried chunks, and another one just started. 1 lb reduces to 1.45 oz.

Interesting on the Dehydrator, that is one thing I have not tried, can you elaborate on your process and how you use once dried?
Pics?

imafan26
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

I always try to have one or two of them around. The one I have now, is not very good and I want to exchange it for a green eggplant. I just got a Louisiana green, not my favorite but better than the purple for tenderness and keeping. I cannot find my eggplant seeds and koba onion seeds I don't know where I left them. I don't care for round eggplant as much because they have a large surface area and they do get bitter when they brown. I prefer the long eggplant, the small ones like finger and Pintung long are not very long and they are skinny, so they only need a couple of cuts. Less surface area exposed there is less browning and bitterness. Salting is one way to get rid of bitterness. I just use smaller eggplant and fewer cuts. I keep cut eggplant submerged in water if I have to prep ahead. The green eggplant are more tender, they can get bigger and still remain soft whereas, once the purple eggplant lose the shine it is hard, seedy, and bitter.
I have Thai tiger which is a small green eggplant. It is bitter and seedy, but the Thai's like a bitter eggplant. Most other people don't like that it is so seedy.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

SQWIB wrote: Interesting on the Dehydrator, that is one thing I have not tried, can you elaborate on your process and how you use once dried?
Pics?
I couldn't find any of the photos of "before and after" (can't post them, thanks to photobucket), but here is a photo I just took of one of the filled jars:
ImageDSCF0347 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I cut the EP into chunks about the size I normally would when making most dishes - a little over 1" each way. The thicker ones I quarter lengthwise, the green ones, halve them, and then cut into pieces, and place on the dehydrator shelves, close together, since they shrink considerably. When drying them, I do it on the lowest heat - takes longer, but they don't get browned on one side of the shelf.

When using the EP, I soak it in hot water, and this takes about 30-45 min to soften it enough to put in the dish (though maybe not to the center). If I do it in the morning, I put them in warm water, and leave it for the day, and this softens them completely. Here is something a friend made for me, to weight the chiles, dried eggplant, mushrooms, and other similar items, when soaking. This is a ceramic disk that fits inside a 2 liter container (I have another that fits in 2 c pyrex cups), and keeps them under the water to soak:
ImageDSCF0348 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

I learned early on that if I just tossed them in a dish dry, some wouldn't get totally soaked and cooked, and would remain hard, even in a pressure cooker! I guess because they were floating, and not entirely submerged.

I use these mostly in soups and Indian and Thai curries, though I have also used them in many tomato based dishes. I have also ground it into a flour, and put that into Indian flatbreads, in place of some of the chapati flour, which turned out delicious.

imafan26 - I have grown many green eggplants, and my favorite is Hari - an Indian variety I got the seeds for from
https://www.seedsofindia.com/item/Eggplant-Hari-27

This is the fastest producer of any of the green varieties I have grown (I've tried many, and also tried another that company had - Andaz - but that didn't produce much for me), and it is also very heat resistant. I would have thought the ones from Thailand and LA would have been, as well, but they stopped producing in heat waves, like all other varieties I have grown. In a record hot summer a few years ago, Hari produced throughout the summer. And this variety is mild flavored - does not get at all bitter, even when I miss one, and let it get too large and seedy. And they stay tender, as well; even though the large ones do get a little seedy, it's nothing like those round Thai EP, that seem seedy from the beginning!

Here's a photo of a day's harvest from two plants way back. I usually try to pick them before 10", but sometimes I can't keep up with them!
ImageDSCF0600 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Here's a photo from this year, and, as you can see, some are a little fatter, but still pretty much the same. I got a new pack of seeds this season, so maybe they aren't entirely stabilized, but still, they did great!
ImageDSCF0258 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
Dave

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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Thanks for the info, I bookmarked that site to order the Hari seeds. I definitely want to try them.

I see what you are saying about floaters, I blanched some Eggplant last night and had to keep patting them down with a spoon

A few were pretty seedy, I was gonna toss them but figured I would use them as Guinea pigs.

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Dinner tonight, can't wait.

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imafan26
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Thanks I will try to look for that. I usually get my seed from Kitazawa and they did not have that variety. I do have the ao dama which is a round green eggplant thai tiger, and the seeds I lost were Roleks, a long green eggplant with tender skin. I have had Louisiana green before, they were ok but the skin was tougher than Roleks. I will look for Hari. Shipping costs often determine what I buy, so I usually only buy if I can find enough seeds I want at a good price to make the shipping worthwhile.

I used to get Park Seeds, but they must have had a falling out with Hawaii because now not only do they not send even asparagus crowns (they did before), but they tack on an additional $20 to every order, even if it only one pack of seeds.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

I dehydrated some eggplant and they look pretty good.

@ Pepperhead, 2 questions
1) what is your process for making flour.
2) to solve the floating problem when hydrating, do you think steaming in a double boiler will work?


These remind me of Mushrooms when they're dehydrated.

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How did that last pic get in there? :wink:

pepperhead212
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

SQUIB,

To make the flour, I simply grind it up in my Vitamix. It turns it into an ultra fine flour. I have also done this with butternut squash.

You could try the steaming to hydrate, but soaking is so easy, I figure "why bothuh?" No attention really needed with the soaking, as long as I start in advance. Maybe steaming would be good if you needed it in something quickly.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

I usually fix the floating problem by putting the eggplant in my dutch oven to soak and my plastic colander fits right in that. I just have to weigh down the colander to keep it from floating.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Made some flour but couldn't use the food processor, the eggplant was just too tough for it, it was like wood.

Decided to use my Coffee Grinder and it worked great.

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I'm going to try some Flatbread with it this week
1/4 part Eggplant Flour to 3/4 part wheat or spelt flour.

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SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Dinner Last Night

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4 layers of Fried Eggplant, Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Sea Salt, Onion Powder, Oregano, Sauce and Three Cheese Blend.

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Yes thats bacon!

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I topped with a few squirts of ketchup but if I was the only person eating it I would use Sriracha Sauce instead.

pepperhead212
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Looks great SQUIB! And a heads up on grinding in the coffee grinder: I used to do this, but broke a blade on one with a dry mushroom. So maybe if you are planing on grinding some, cut much smaller pieces, as they would probably be less likely to do something like this.

Here is an eggplant dish I made a couple of days ago. I have made several very similar dishes, using dried eggplant, as well as dried tomatoes or tomatillos, in the winter. I've made it with just EP, or just mushrooms, as well as chicken livers - the original recipe this is based on was chicken livers in chipotle sauce. This is eggplant and mushrooms in chipotle sauce, this time with some ground turkey added, and the sauce with tomatillos instead of tomatoes, since I had a bunch I had just harvested.

I had a pound of mushrooms in the fridge, but still bought more at Aldi, since they were $1.18/lb this week! So I took the old ones out, and made a dish I've made a number of times, with various changes, depending on what I have around.

First, I cut up the mushrooms and 18 oz. of eggplants, and cooked the mushrooms about 7 or 8 min. in a little oil, while getting other ing. ready, then added the eggplant, and cooked about 10 min., stirring occasionally, until much of the water was cooked off, then removed them from the wok. Amazing how much these cooked down!
ImageDSCF0349 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Meanwhile, I grilled about 18 oz. of tomatillos, along with 10 cloves of garlic, and one large onion, cut into thick slices. Then I toasted 18 morita peppers, soaked them for about 30 min., and all this went into the vitamix, and blended smooth.
ImageDSCF0350 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

When the EP and mushrooms were removed, I added a little more oil, then browned the lb of turkey, then added the blended salsa to it. Here I put a tsp. of spice mix I always have on hand for Indian cooking - 2 parts coriander seed to 1 part cumin seed, toasted, and ground - works great in Mexican, too. At this point it was still very liquidy, and was spattering - one of the downfalls of cooking these Mexican sauces down! I have found this is best done in a wok, though it's still messy.
ImageDSCF0354 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

After 7-8 min. on med-high heat, scraping frequently, esp. at the end, it had cooked down to a paste, which kept a peak in the sauce when the scraper was removed.
ImageDSCF0355 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Then the EP/mushrooms were added to the sauce, and cooked briefly, to heat through. You can see you thick it got, with no liquid at all.
ImageDSCF0356 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

The finished product, worth all the work!
ImageDSCF0358 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

One good thing about these types of dishes is that there is always a LOT leftover, and they freeze well, for several later dinners.
Dave

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

I'll try smaller pieces when making flour next time

I cut these up not thinking I was gonna make flour, I have one eggplant left that will be dehydrated for a winter dish like you made, Dam that looks awesome.

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

pepperhead212 wrote:
then added the eggplant, and cooked about 10 min., stirring occasionally, until much of the water was cooked off, then removed them from the wok. Amazing how much these cooked down!
Yeah the EP reminds me of a mushroom like texture when cubing and cooking down but doesn't get denser like mushrooms when cooked, just the opposite.

SQWIB
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

I got a chance to try the Eggplant Flour last night, I used it as a thickener and a little went a long way, it definitely adds quite a bit of flavor to the dish. :-()
I'm thinking this may work in place of plain flour when making fried eggplant?

I'll be trying some flatbread with the EP flour this weekend. I'll start off conservatively probably 4 parts spelt flour or wheat flour to one part EP Flour

Maybe Ill make some bread too! :()


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I got one piece of this left and I hope it is still there when I get home tonight. :D

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pepperhead212
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Re: For love of the Eggplant

Looks nice again, SQUIB!

I picked 10 EP today - 9 Neon, and only one Hari. The Hari was affected the worst by that cold snap we had in early Sept., with lows in the low 50s, and one high of 58º. But all of them came back with this heat we are having now! There are still a bunch of Ichibans, but none quite picking size yet, and all have a good number of fruits on them. We'll see if it stays warm long enough for them.
ImageDSCF0360 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
Dave

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