I had an over-abundance of eggplant this season. Thankfully I planted the “little fingers” variety which resulted in small thin eggplants.
I added a lot to tomatoes (and peppers) to make sauces, which I froze in freezer bags. But my freezer was getting full, so I searched for a better, more compact way to preserve eggplant.
Yay! Oven drying (or dehydrating if you are lucky enough to own a dehydrator) to the rescue, similar to the process I used for my tomatoes.
First, I chopped the eggplant into smaller pieces. I used my “Vidalia Chop Wizard” – I’ve had this gadget for years. I don’t use it every day, but when I need small, even pieces, it works well. It’s very loud though, when you push down on it.
I scattered the eggplant pieces on a shallow grill sheet pan (included with my countertop oven) covered with parchment paper.
Drying at about 150° in my smaller counter top oven, it took a couple of hours. The pieces should be dried, but not rock hard.
I allowed the eggplant to cool for a few minutes, then scattered them on a large dish and put into the freezer to “flash-freeze” – this ensures they stay as individual pieces when bagged later. I’m storing in freezer to add to winter soups and sauces!
I’ve oven dried several batches of eggplant, and just kept adding to the freezer bag.
Last summer I did this, and it worked so well. Today, I moved my smaller counter-top oven outside to our enclosed porch.
This way I can still cook in the oven and the house won’t get too steamed up!
Yikes, this is not the week for kitchen electronics. Don’t things happen in threes? Uh oh, what else can go wrong?
First my bread machine bit the dust (thankfully, DH fixed that, albeit temporary) and now my beloved Hamilton Beach counter top convection oven is dead. DH can’t revive it!
I used it this morning for baking bulgar wheat cereal, and then I turned it on to preheat for the apricot nut bread this afternoon. I went to bake the bread, and when I opened the oven, it was not hot. It was just barely warm, so I know it did initially start up.
I have used this oven non-stop since December 2006, when I received it as a Christmas present from DH. That’s 3.5 years of hard labor! Yeah, it would have been nice if it lasted longer, but it was under $100! What do you expect!? Ha!
So, I am definitely going to grab a new counter top oven. Don’t know if it’ll be the Hamilton Beach, but it’s definitely a contender.
I will miss you, oven! But I’ll get a new one to replace you soon!
I love my Hamilton Beach counter top convection oven. It’s definitely on my top 5 favorite, most used kitchen tools!
Back in 2006, my husband surprised me with the oven as a Christmas gift. It was shortly after we moved into our current home and I was rediscovering my love of cooking. Initially, I was hesitant about the Hamilton Beach brand but after reading the reviews on Amazon, I decided to keep the oven. When and/or if this one dies, I will definitely consider purchasing the same oven again!
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