Starting next Monday (whoa.. how the heck is it September already?), I am starting a 3 week cleanse comprised of different weekly steps. The first step involves consumption of massive amounts of veggies and fruits. While looking at the cleanse “guidelines” last night, I was a little surprised to see that eggplants were advised against and that my plan to live solely off of baked eggplant chips had been foiled… Why!?! Together with tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes, eggplants are akin in that they are all nightshades. Nightshades are a family of flowering plants that are often rich in alkaloids and can be not only mildly toxic to a fair number of people, but when eaten in excess are thought to have suppressing effects on digestion. Eggplant elimination from the diet during a cleanses makes a bit more sense seeing that detox regiments are typically not about sluggish foods and slowing down ones metabolism.
While perusing the local Saturday market, I came across loads of eggplant (I can’t remember the name of the farm for the life of me…) including but not limited to some purple, Asian, Fairytale, and Green Apple varieties. I picked up a mixed variety (mostly Green Apple) with plans of re-creating Marissa’s (Food in Jars) pickled eggplant recipe. The only thing I changed from the original recipe was apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. Oddly enough, and I’m not sure why, these pickled eggplant rings exhibited an oily flavor. The texture is a bit mushy for straight out of the jar pickle eatin’, but I imagine these basil pickled eggplant rings would go great atop pizza, pasta, and salads. “I really like putting up things that are pretty.” and let me tell ya, these eggplant pickles turned out über pretty. Enjoy, and have a great Labor Day weekend!
- 5 small eggplants (cut into rings)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (lightly packed then chopped)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2-1/4 Tbsp kosher/sea salt
- juice from 1 lemon
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
- In a large bowl toss eggplant rings (or slices) with salt and lemon juice and set aside for 1-2 hours.
- After the eggplant has sit for the allotted amount of time, rinse, drain, and then gently squeeze as much water out of the eggplants as possible without mushing them.
- In a medium-sized, non-ionized pot, bring the apple cider vinegar to a boil. Add the eggplant to the pot and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes remove the eggplant from the vinegar (reserve the brine) and place in a bowl. Add basil, garlic, and pepper to the eggplant and stir to combine.
- Fill hot sterilized pint jars with eggplant mixture. Pour vinegar over the jar ingredients leaving ~1/2 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and apply lids and rings. Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- Remove jars from water bath and let cool atop a folded towel on the counter top for 12-24 hours.
- Store jars in a cool dry place for at least a week before consuming.