Farmers Sam and Donna Old of Craig County have obviously figured out how to grow eggplant. They had a bumper crop this year, and had so much on their hands this week that they donated a massive quantity of the stuff to the Roanoke Rescue Mission.
The Olds estimate the donation at about 2,500 pounds of eggplant. That’s a lot of ratatouille!
I spoke to Joy Sylvester-Johnson at the Rescue Mission, and she said they received the eggplant Wednesday and it was on the menu that night. The cooks planned to batter and fry it for supper that night, but they’re pretty adept at coming up with a variety of delicious uses for donated food.
“They’re really good about thinking on their feet,” she said.
The Rescue Mission regularly gets donations from gleaners, homeowners, farms and grocery stores. Joy said there’s no minimum amount required to make a donation, so even if you have a grocery bag full of squash or tomatoes, they’ll take them. That’s because their kitchen works like a cafeteria, so they can change out the offerings several times if necessary.
Some of the eggplant was likely shared with other homeless shelters in the area. She said the rest would be used in traditional ways, such as eggplant Parmesan or the aforementioned ratatouille. But they have a favorite at the Rescue Mission that involves slicing and broiling eggplant, then topping the slices with pizza sauce and pizza toppings to make miniature eggplant pizzas. That sounds like a tasty way to enjoy the shiny, beautiful veggie, and it might even be healthier. Definitely lower in carbs.
I adore eggplant because my mom used to slice and fry it, and she makes wonderful eggplant Parmesan. I’ve used smaller varieties in Thai food, especially green curry, and it’s wonderful.
Do you like eggplant? If so, what are your favorite eggplant recipes?