How to Freeze Eggplant
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Eggplant is one of those vegetables that feels like a huge bonus when you harvest it, but can quickly start to feel overwhelming. Just how many nights can you eat eggplant in a row? And yet, a good eggplant Parmesan on a cold winter night is heaven.
Here’s how we freeze eggplant during the fall harvest so that we can enjoy it over the winter. Not only can we make eggplant Parmesan with what we freeze, we can also whip up a stir fry, curry, or simple baba ganoush.
Throwing the eggplant in the freezer or even chopping it and throwing it in a bag isn’t going to lead to good long term storage or ease of use later. You need to par-boil most vegetables so that you de-activate the enzymes that lead to spoilage.
Depending on what you want to make when you pull the eggplant out of the freezer, you might want to make different choices about how you freeze the eggplant to begin with. Here we share our method for freezing eggplant that we will later use in a casserole, such as an eggplant parmesan or a vegetable lasagna.
Eggplant can also be frozen in chunks using this same method for stir fry or curry – just skip the option of breading! This works especially well for Japanese eggplant (the long skinny ones in our cover photo).
How to Freeze Eggplant in Slices
(best for Eggplant Parmesan)
Freezing eggplant in slices is a great way to have your eggplant ready to go when you want to make an eggplant parmesan, or even add eggplant to a vegetable lasagna. We typically use about two medium to large eggplant for each lasagna, so we try to freeze that same amount in a one freezer bag.
To prepare for this method you’ll need:
- 2-3 medium to large eggplants
- One large stock pot filled with 4-6 quarts water
- A large bowl of ice water
- Freezer bags or a vacuum sealer
- Slotted spoon or spider strainer
- Kitchen towels
- Parchment Paper
- Sheet Pans (that will fit in your freezer)
Step 1: Bring your large stock pot of water to a boil on the stove top.
Step 2: Once the water is boiling, begin peeling your eggplant and cutting it into 1/2 slices one eggplant at a time (if you cut them all up ahead of time they will quickly oxidize and turn brown; try to do just as many slices as will fit in your boiling water pot).
Step 3: Drop the eggplant slices into the boiling water, adding only as many as just about fill the surface with a bit of overlap (you’ll probably have to do 3-4 rounds of boiling). Leave in boiling water for 3 minutes, flipping once halfway to avoid browning on top (you can also use the spider strainer to weight it down so it is fully submerged).
Step 4: Use your slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove the eggplant from the boiling water and immediately transfer it to the ice water bath in order to stop the cooking. Allow to sit in the ice water for 2-3 minutes (while you get the next round going).
Step 5: Remove the eggplant from the ice water and place it on a kitchen towel to air dry (aiming a fan at it can help).
Step 6: OPTIONAL – if you know you are going to make eggplant parmesan, it is totally possible to bread your eggplant slices before freezing. Follow just that step in your favorite eggplant parm recipe and then go to Step 7.
Step 7: Lay your eggplant slices (breaded or not) on a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan and stick the sheet pan in your freezer for 12-24 hours. This way, the slices freeze individually instead of in one big clump.
Step 8: Once the slices are frozen, put them in a freezer bag or use a vacuum sealer to seal them. If they are breaded, we suggest keeping parchment paper between layers of frozen eggplant slices.
When you want to make your eggplant Parmesan, lasagna, or other similar dish, simply remove the slices from the freezer and add them to the recipe! If they are breaded, you may need to follow the directions in your recipe to bake them first on a sheet pan before adding to the casserole.