There is nothing difficult in getting a bitter taste out of the eggplant. Learn three easy ways to prepare eggplant for cooking. For the two first methods, you will only need to spare only 30 minutes of your time before cooking and having one main ingredient in the cupboard – salt. The third eggplant brining method is here for those who are looking for a way to prepare eggplant for grilling.
If you ask me whether you need to brine eggplant or not, then my answer will be definitely positive. Not only the process helps to get the bitter taste out of the eggplant, helps to retain the initial form of the plant while cooking. As for the brining with spices and seasoning, it can add so much more flavor and texture to your cooked plant. Once you taste the baked or grilled eggplant wedge that had been brined before cooking, you will never return to the basic recipe.
The easiest and the fastest solution is that you can pick an eggplant that is not bitter. The trick is to determine whether you have a female or male eggplant. The male plant has fewer seeds therefore it is less bitter. You have to look for a round “spot” at the bottom in the male. In the female, you will have a deep induction in the shape of a “hyphen”.
How Long to Brine Eggplant before Cooking?
If you know all the peculiarities of preparing eggplant for cooking, know how to make eggplant “sweat” or know the recipe for an easy salted brine and you only need to check how long you should do it, then this small segment is for you. Check out the eggplant brining times depending on the method you are using:
How long should eggplant sweat? You should let the eggplant sit at least for 30 minutes with salt sprinkled all over the cut surface.
How long to brine eggplant in salted water? You need to soak eggplant in salted brine for at least 30 minutes to get any result at all. If you have time, I would highly recommend you to extend brining time up to one hour or an hour and a half.
How long to keep eggplant in pickled garlic brine? Brine eggplant for 12 hours or let sit it overnight in the garlic brine in the fridge.
How to Sweat Eggplant before Cooking
Salting eggplants before cooking is a perfect and quick way to get rid of the bitterness that may appear after cooking the plant. Sweating eggplant super-easy way to achieve this result and the quickest one:
- Rinse eggplant thoroughly under cool running water and cut it in half.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of coarse salt over the sliced surface of an eggplant half. If you are sweating eggplant slices make sure to salt both sides. You just place them on a flat surface and turn the sides.
- Set salted eggplant aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- In 30 minutes, give eggplant halves a gentle squeeze or pat the liquid from the surface with paper towels.
How to Brine Eggplant in Salted Water?
For this type of preparing eggplant for cooking, you simply need to get the proportions of salt to water right: 1 tablespoon of salt for 1 liter of water. This ratio was derived with years of experimentation and cooking. While searching how other people were doing it, I`ve come across different recipes where you had more or less salt added to the water and adapted all the information to this recipe that has the best result. Therefore, to get rid of the bitterness from eggplant and prevent it from becoming mushy in the process of cooking follow these steps:
- Cur eggplant in the shape that you need them. From halves to cubes, whole plants won’t do.
- Combine salt with water in a large bowl that will eventually will fit all the eggplant. Stir to dissolve salt. You can also use warm water to make the process easier.
- Add cut eggplant to the brine and add some weight on the top. I usually cover the surface with a flat plate and put a cup with water to press it down. You need this to get all the eggplants submerged in water. Eggplant is spongy and always stays at the surface.
- Brine eggplant for at least 30 minutes (if you got time, I highly advise you to extend it to 1 hour). Using a colander drain all the water and give eggplant slices a rinse under cool running water.
- Now, the plant is ready to be grilled, baked, or cooked on the stove. Enjoy!
You never know whether you guessed the right gender of the plant and how old it was. However, in only 30 minutes you get a bulletproof method on how to draw out bitterness from eggplant.
How to Brine Eggplant for Grilling – Alternative Pickled Garlic Brine Recipe for Vegetables
Brining vegetables is a perfect way to prepare vegetables for grilling. It takes them to next level of deliciousness. You get a grilled plant infused with extra flavor from the inside. You choose yourself whether you need more spicy notes or savory, what level of sweetness to add by adapting my recipe to your taste and need.
With this technique, you are not only adding different notes of flavor. Brining has also an effect on the texture of the cooked plant. While you have a tender juicy inside after heat-treating it, the outside becomes crisp and crunchy thanks to the combination of added salt and sugar.
And let`s not forget about our main goal (in this article), getting rid of the bitterness in the eggplant. Have a look at how you can unbitter eggplants before grilling/frying/baking in the tastiest way:
- ½ cup water;
- ½ cup rice vinegar;
- 6 tbsps. soy sauce or 1 tbsp. salt:
- 4 tbsps. sugar;
- 2-3 garlic heads;
- 2 bay leaves;
- 5 black peppercorns;
- A pinch of paprika flakes;
- A pinch of chili flakes, optional.
How to make the best brine recipe for grilling vegetables:
- Gather all the ingredients. Slice garlic cloves. You can also crush them and cut them into smaller parts. It has no matter and impact on the recipe how you cut your garlic as you won’t be using it for serving the dish.
- In a pot or a large saucepan on the stove, combine all the seasoning. Bay leaves, black pepper, paprika, and chili pepper flakes with water, rice vinegar, and soy sauce (you always can substitute soy sauce with salt, see the ratio in ingredients list). Bring the mix to a boil.
- As soon as the brine starts simmering, add sliced garlic. Then take the saucepan from the stove at once. Let the garlic pickle at least for 2 hours to give all the flavor to the brine. However, the longer you wait the better.
I like to make my brine in the morning the day before I know I will be grilling eggplant. And in the evening, I combine eggplant with pickled garlic brine and let it sit overnight in the fridge to incorporate that sweet, savory, and spicy flavor that we have in the brine seasoning.
- Rinse the eggplants under running water and pat them with paper towels until dry. Cut the plant into desired shape (halves, slices or planks, wedges). Place sliced eggplant into a deep bowl or an airtight container. Pour the brine with garlic over it.
- If you chose a container, close the lead. If you have a bowl, use some weight (a flat plate will be perfect) to make sure that all the slices will be covered in this flavorful juiciness. Transfer eggplant to the fridge.
- In 12 hours, you can use it for grilling, baking, and cooking in the pan on the stove. Do not forget to smear eggplant with oil. Enjoy!
I really wanted to share with you this amazing brine recipe. It goes perfectly with any type of vegetable that comes to your mind. I have tried brining mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, and cauliflower using this garlic brine. Then I not only grilled the plants, once I used it to make a side dish with roasted vegetables and fried them in the skillet on the stove. Every time the result was mouthwatering. Let me know if you want me to make this brine for my Recipes section with pictures added to every step.
I would appreciate it so much if you would share my work on Pinterest with your friends! I am here to help you make your time spent in the kitchen less tricky and a much more enjoyable experience.