I get a lot of e-mails about what to do with excess eggplant. I love to make my Eggplant Ratatouille, Moussaka, as well as Eggplant Parmesan, but I’ve got an even better solution for you.
One of the best things I ever tasted was when I was in Philadelphia, PA. I was living there for about 3 months doing advanced marketing for Anthony Robbins and his convention that was coming into town. At that point in my life I was eating mostly vegetarian. I couldn’t believe all of the amazing choices that Philly had to offer. I stopped by this quaint little restaurant and decided to be adventurous and order something called “Baba Ghanoush” (pronounced “bah-bah Gah-nōsh). I loved dipping the warm, homemade pita bread in this. I looked and looked for years to find a recipe that came even close to it, but finally gave up with nothing but my memories of that delicious dish.
Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of canning questions. So many people have such awesome creativity. I’ve really loved hearing of some of the concoctions that people are coming up with for their canning jars. As a result, I got in the mood to do a little digging for something to inspire me too and what do you know? I found THE Baba Ghanoush recipe in one of my canning books! I tried it and was immediately sent back over a decade to that day in that quaint little restaurant, holding that warm pita bread and devouring the beautiful, golden brown colored Baba Ganoush! I can’t think of a better recipe to share with you this week than this one! Yum!
Baba Ganoush is a very popular Middle Eastern dip made of pureed eggplant, tahini, olive oil and garlic. It’s similar to hummus but has a sweeter flavor as a result of roasting the eggplant and allowing it’s starches to break down slowly. You won’t want to substitute anything for the tahini. In my house tahini and sesame seed oil are considered my “secret ingredient” as they add a level of depth to the flavor of dishes that’s very unexpected. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! I tweaked the recipe a little bit, but I have to thank Ellie Top and Margaret Howard, authors of “Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving”, for pointing me in the right direction.
1 pound of eggplant
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons of tahini
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (fresh preferred)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ teaspoon of salt (use sea salt, kosher, or RealSalt)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (optional)
Prick the whole, peeled eggplant several times and place on a large baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper. Bake in 400º F oven for 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and let stand until cool to the touch.
Cut eggplant in half and scoop the flesh into a colander; press gently in your hand to extract excess liquid. Transfer to food processor. Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, oil, and salt; process until very smooth.
Pack into small freezer containers. Refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to use, garnish with fresh parsley. (Makes 2 cups)
Freezing this is the ideal way to preserve eggplant, but in spite of what the USDA says, I’ve found that pressure canning this recipe turns out great so long as you use ½ pint or pint jars—nothing larger in order to be certain that you heat the mixture all the way through. Be sure to leave 1 inch headroom. Process for 45 minutes at 10 pounds.