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Canning Little Grandma’s Eggplant Appetizer

Mother Nature is smiling down on us because one eggplant plant is producing eggplant for the world! It’s just unbelievable. It’s going bonkers. Talk about a perfect location.

We’ve been giving them to neighbors as fast as we can, but yesterday Victor went out and there were 7 that were immediately ready to eat.  Two went to neighbors and five came inside for canning.

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I made and canned a caponata at the beginning of the season but this time we decided to go with Little Grandma’s Eggplant Appetizer. Little Gram wrote in 1993 – when she was a mere 93 –

My family loves this. When I make it, they eat it like candy. Well, it is sweet! I find that eggplants are better in the summer, even though you can get them all year round. This is another recipe I have been making for many years. I got it from my mother who brought it over from Sicily. She and my father worked for a nobleman when they lived there. Ma used to cook for the man and his family. That’s probably where she got many recipes. This dish is really a type of Caponota that many Italian families make.

We have made this many, many times – it’s a great caponata – but this is the first time we’ve made this much of it at once.

Victor started out by peeling and cutting all of those eggplants. He actually did all the work. I just did the canning part.

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Then it was into olive oil, for frying.

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Meanwhile, the celery and then olives were parboiled.

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Finally, everything came together…

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And into jars for processing.

I was able to can 8 pints of eggplant. I sent 7 down to the basement and kept one for dinner, tonight. I’m thinking chicken and cooking up some of the polenta I picked up at the Italian Market two weeks ago. Simple, but oh, so good!

This is going to be great at Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Little Grandma’s Eggplant Appetizer

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cups halved or chopped green olives
  • 3 cups thinned Italian tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 chopped Locatelli cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • fresh basil and mint

Cut eggplant in strips the size of French fries. Salt and let stand about an a hour. Dry on a paper towel. Deep fry in hot oil. Keep oil as hot as possible without burning. Add eggplant one at a time and keep adding one at a time to keep the oil at the same temperature. Fry each one until tender and cooked. Drain on paper towels.

To Make Sauce:

Parboil celery for ten minutes. Add olives and cook another five minutes. Drain all water out of the pot. Add the thinned tomato sauce and boil for ten minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Cook for three minutes. Add cheese. Make it come to a boil and then turn off heat and allow to cool.

Pour sauce over fried eggplants. Garnish with fresh Basil and mint that have been sliced into very thin strips.

 

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