Today, I’m partnering with my area Whole Foods Markets to tell you about their 24 Hours Field to Store program and to share my recipe for Tangy Eggplant Tomato Spread. This is a sponsored post!
One of the things I love most about living in Philadelphia is the amazing access we have to really great, local produce. I’ve been here for nearly 15 years now and have watched how the city has changed for the better. Between the farmers markets, CSA shares, buying clubs, corner stores, and merchants at Reading Terminal Market, it is easier than ever to get my heads on hyper-fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables that are grown nearby.
Now, thanks to a partnership between our 11 area Whole Foods Markets and the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, you can add one more option for incredibly fresh, local produce to the list. They have teamed up for a program called 24 Hours Field to Store. Certain products from LFFC are harvested from the field and delivered to all Philadelphia-area stores within 24 hours.
The featured item in the Field to Store program changes every two weeks. Last week, they were highlighting gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, and starting today and running through August 16, the featured item is eggplant!
I was at the Callowhill store on Saturday, and picked up a plump, firm, glowingly fresh eggplant and brought it home for a little experimentation. Knowing that eggplant is a low acid vegetable, I had to be careful when developing a recipe using it that would eventually go into a jar.
After doing a bit of research, I decided to make a highly acidified spread using eggplant, tomato, and garlic. I peeled and chopped the eggplant, and cooked it down with a small amount of olive oil, a pound of peeled and chopped tomatoes, three cloves of minced garlic, and a full 1 1/2 cups of red wine vinegar.
The resulting eggplant tomato spread is a luscious, tangy condiment. It is perfect on slices of toasted ciabatta or in place of tomato sauce on a homemade pizza. The yield is relatively small, so I plan on making more before eggplant season is done.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in the 24 Hours Field to Store program!
- 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 pound tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar (make sure it's 5% acidity)
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars.
- Peel the eggplant and dice it into small cubes.
- Peel the tomatoes and dice them into bits that are similarly sized to the eggplant.
- Heat the olive oil in a low, wide, non-reactive pan and add the eggplant and tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the red wine vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid reduces and the the vegetables soften. If the eggplant isn't breaking down, use a potato masher to help the cubes meld into the spread.
- Taste and adjust the salt and pepper levels, as necessary.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Divide the citric acid between the four half pint jars and ladle the spread in on top. Use a chopstick or plastic bubbling tool to remove any trapped air bubbles and to work the citric acid into the spread.
- Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.
- When time is up, remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- When the jars are cool enough to handle, check the seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for up a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.