Drying Aubergine (in the Sun, over the Stove or in the Oven)

aubegine_driedAs you might have noticed, I am regularly drying fruits and vegetables. Thus, not only do I save slightly withered  produce from the bin, but above all I obtain better quality cheap homemade products. I prepare my own vegetable stock mixture, dried apples, pears and mushrooms, powdered garlic, half-dried tomatoes… Nonetheless, I must admit aubergine was one of the last vegetables I would think of drying (on the other hand, I was sceptical about dried daikon and discovered harihari zuke, one of my favourite pickles). When I read in Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu about the author’s mother-in-law aubergine drying process, I was so excited to try it, I prepared a small batch practically the following day. Once rehydrated and used in a soup, the aubergine tasted so good and acquired such a nice texture, I decided to carry on drying it throughout the summer.

From what I read in Japanese Farm Food and on internet, once rehydrated, aubergine can be added to soups, stews, sauces, pickled in vinegar… which already makes quite a list to experiment with. After the above-mentioned soup test I can say aubergine acquires a slightly “mushroomy” aroma, its flavours get concentrated and it becomes soft but slightly chewy without becoming mushy and it will certainly add an original touch to many slowly simmered winter dishes.  Aubergines are now delicious and cheap, so it’s the best moment to stock up our pantries. Look out for new ideas to eat dried aubergine I will certainly post in near future!

If you want to discover Japanese countryside eating habits and to learn Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s creative ways to handle local culinary traditions, I strongly encourage you to buy Japanese Farm Food, one of the most inspiring cookery books I know.

TIPS: Nancy Hachisu Singleton recalls her mother-in-law drying aubergine outside. If you don’t have conditions to do it (I don’t), I have explained below other drying options.

Obviously your dried aubergine will be more Japanese if you use Asian smaller variety. I don’t have access to those, so I have just used standard Western aubergines and it worked too.

You can dry the aubergine either cut into thick slices or into thick short strips (for example 2 cm x 6-7cm). The former is the quickest and easiest way to do it, but the small strips will save you the cutting steps when you use them dehydrated.

When you want to use your dried aubergine pieces, place them in a bowl of hot water and wait until they become soft. If you have big slices, I advise cutting them into bite-sized pieces before cooking or frying or pickling.

Preparation: one day – several days, depending on the drying method


aubergines, leaves and stalks removed

Cut the aubergines into thick (2cm/about3/4 in slices) or thick strips (2 cm thick and 2cmx6-7cm long (about 3/4inx2,5-3in)).

You can dry them either in the sun or above the stove or in the oven. The oven method is the quickest (you will dry them in one day) but it’s the only one which costs money.


Place the aubergine pieces on a piece of baking paper making sure they do not touch each other.

Put the baking paper sheets in the full sun either outside (balcony, porch, garden table…) protecting them from the wind and animals or inside of your house, for example on a window sill.

Taste them every day to check the dryness and texture. They must be completely dry.

Put the dried, cool aubergine pieces in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).


Preheat the oven to 50°C (122°F).

Place the aubergine pieces on baking paper, making sure they do not touch each other.

Taste them every 4-5 hours to check the dryness and texture. They must be completely dry and hard.

The drying process can be divided into several days.

Put the dried, cool aubergine pieces in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).

———DRYING OVER THE STOVE (works best with gas stove):

Put the aubergine pieces on a thick thread and hang high above the stove.

The aubergine slices will dry while you cook, so of course this process should be divided into several days.

Taste them every day to check the dryness and texture. They must be completely dry and hard.

Put the dried, cool aubergines in a jar with a lid. They will keep at least for a year (no need to refrigerate).


8 Replies to “Drying Aubergine (in the Sun, over the Stove or in the Oven)”

  1. I have dried tomatoes but never eggplants, I have no idea why! This is a fabulous idea and in this way you can enjoy them during winter too!

    1. Hi, Katerina. I haven’t thought about it either. It helps to use slightly wrinkled aubergines I forget in the fridge.

  2. This is such a clever idea and I love that you offer up 3 different methods to suit different circumstances. The rehydration process sounds very successful and worthwhile – I certainly like the idea of added texture in soups — that is how I would use it most I think. I’m going to share your post with my eggplant loving family & friends (my husband’s allergy to eggplant means that I don’t generally have it on hand). I hope you’re keeping well and having a beautiful summer Sissi.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It’s such a pity your husband cannot eat aubergine… I like it more and more every year, so I was thrilled to discover this completely new way to use it.

  3. Aubergine is something that I have never considered drying. Just never thought about it. I usually cook, pulp and freeze it, but my freezer is already full and I haven’t even started roasting chile yet! So when it’s dry, can it be eaten like chips or is it too tough. I see that you can add it to winter soups and stews which make since. But my big question is won’t the eggplant turn brown before it completely dries? Yours looks almost white. Another great idea Sissi!

    1. Neither did I! It was so surprising… The initial pieces are too thick to be eaten like chips (I have even no idea if thinner
      pieces can be eaten like this, but I must try one day). They are supposed to be dehydrated and then cooked, a bit like mushrooms.
      I don’t know why but my aubergines didn’t turn brown! Thanks a lot for the compliment!

Comments are closed.