Whole Foods Market Field to Store Program + Tangy Eggplant Tomato Spread

August 3, 2016(updated on August 30, 2021)

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!

Whole Foods Market 24 Hours Field to Store sign

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.

Local eggplant at Whole Foods Market

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.

eggplant, tomatoes, and garlic

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!

prepping tomatoes for peeling

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.

simmering eggplant and tomatoes in red wine vinegar

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.

tangy eggplant and tomato spread

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.

finished jars of tangy eggplant tomato spread

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in the 24 Hours Field to Store program!

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Tangy Eggplant and Tomato Spread


  • 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.

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29 thoughts on "Whole Foods Market Field to Store Program + Tangy Eggplant Tomato Spread"

  • How much longer would pint jars need to be processed if we want to can this in larger quantities? Is there a formula for figuring that out for any recipe?

    1. The processing time for pints would be the same. If you increase the jar size to pint and a half or quart jars, you’d add five minutes.

  • I would soak the slicked eggplant in salt water to get out the bitterness before making this recipe.

    1. You could certainly double this! It just might need a couple more minutes on the stove to get to the right consistency. And don’t reduce the vinegar.

  • Marissa, Do you think this would work with zucchini? In particular, the large ones that are not so moist?

      1. Hi, Marisa–Can you clarify. Sande asked about TBLS, which I assume is TABLESPOONS. Your reply mentions 1.5 teaspoons per jar–per 1/2 PINT jar? Just want to make sure because this sounds delicious and I’d hate to can something so potentially yummy if I don’t have the proportions correct. Thanks in advance!

        1. 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice has the same acidifying power as 1/2 teaspoon citric acid. The question was whether lemon juice could be subbed in for the citric acid the recipe calls for. The answer is yes. 1 tablespoon is equal to 3 teaspoons. So in order to divide 2 tablespoons of lemon juice across four half pint jars, you convert it to teaspoons, which leaves you with 6 teaspoons. Six divided by 4 is 1.5. So that means that 1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice goes into each jar.

          1. Thank you so very much! Really appreciate the explanation and the information. I can’t wait to try this! YAY!

  • I love the taste of this, but ended up with about a half cup left over — I followed the recipe, but since I was using small eggplant (because that’s what I can grow in containers) I could not just use one. I weighed them to be sure I had 1.5 lbs (before peeling).

    The texture is nice and thick, like a tomato jam, so I don’t think I under-reduced.

    Do I have to worry about the pH being off? I did add the citric acid to each jar as directed.

    1. There is a ton of acid in this recipe. You should be okay. However, for the future, it’s never a good idea to increase the amount of a low acid ingredient in a recipe designed to be canned.

  • It turns out my vinegar is 7% and not 5%. Does this matter in terms of flavor or addition of citric acid? Thank you!

    1. This recipe is not designed for 7% vinegar. I don’t know how that vinegar will impact the finished safety. I advise you to get the proper vinegar and follow the recipe as written.

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me! I confess I got excited before checking again, and so dove in with the 7%. It also turns out that the one backyard eggplant I used was rather young (I incorrectly judged it as rather old), so it’s having some feelings about breaking down as the yummy cooks. An all-around adventure! Wholly unrelated, I can’t thank you enough for the tip of using measuring cups to fill jars. I learned that at one of your Philadelphia demos/book signings (love the new book!), and it has been a tremendous help.