As the harvests are rolling in, there are many decisions to be made about the best way to store our produce.
Eggplant is a bit of a challenge because it is a high moisture containing, low-acid vegetable which is difficult for canning. There are freezing options but if we are preparing our produce and may not be able to rely on electricity to keep the freezer going, canning is always a great option. Once the hard work is over, properly canned products can be safe for consumption for several years.
Here is one of the best recipes for eggplant which deal with eliminating some of that high-water content, as well as a brief overview of pressure canning which is the go-to solution when canning low-acid vegetables.
This is by no means an exhaustive study of safe canning practices and this recipe could be considered intermediate to advanced canning skills. For novice canners, starting with hot water bath canning of high-acid fruits and vegetables, and pickles may be a great idea.
Pressure Canned Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Relish (6 pints)
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 large orange bell peppers
- 2 large yellow bell peppers
- 4 medium eggplants
- 2 large tomatoes or 4 roma tomatoes
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 large onions
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- salt to taste
Preparing the Ingredients
Thoroughly wash eggplants. Slice eggplants into ½ inch slices and spread on cookie sheets. At this stage you may wish to season the eggplant with salt, herbs, paprika, or a drizzle of lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil. Eggplant gives many opportunities to be creative and play with different flavors. Whatever you have on hand will add your special flare to this relish.
Roast in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes until browning and slightly caramelized. If cooking on a grill or outside, use your best judgement of doneness. The idea here is to bring out the best flavors while drying out the eggplant. Remove from heat and let cool.
Roast and blacken the peppers under the broiler, moving them around to blacken as much of the skin as possible. Place in a paper bag or container with a lid and allow to cool. This will make removing the blackened skin easier. Once cool, remove the skin and rinse the roasted peppers. Rough chop the peppers and set aside.
#3. Tomatoes, Carrots, Onions
Wash, core, and quarter tomatoes and place in food processor.
Trim the top of the carrots. Only peel if you feel it is necessary. Some find leaving the peel on can add bitterness to recipes, so it is up to you. Rough chop and place in food processor.
Peel and core onion. Roughly chop and place in food processor.
Process tomatoes, carrots, and onions to a roughly oatmeal consistency.
In a large sauté pan, in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté tomatoes, carrots, and onions on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes and set aside.
#4. Food Processor
In the food processor, add roasted eggplant, remaining ingredients of garlic, and fresh herbs. Blend into a smooth consistency.
In a large bowl, combine roughly chopped roasted peppers, sauteed tomatoes, carrots, and onions, and the blended eggplant. Salt to taste.
Sterilize 6- to 7-pint jars – boil for a minimum of 10 minutes.
*Save yourself some cleanup while increasing your canning safety by filling your jars using a canning funnel.
Fill jars leaving 1 inch of head space. Wipe jar lip with sterile cloth. Place on snap lid with ring.
Place jars in pressure canner, ensuring water is two inches above the tallest lid.
Process for 40 minutes at 10 PSI. If you live over 1000 ft elevation, process at 15 PSI.
*Let pressure canner depressurize. Follow the pressure canner instructions.
Remove from pressure canner and let cool. If the seal does not pop (sink down into itself) it is NOT sealed and should be refrigerated and consumed within a week.
Now we have canned our eggplant and peppers for a long-time storage.
We can enjoy the delicious relish for many months to come, with bread or crackers, as a side dish or anytime we need to add a little flavor boost to any meal.
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