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Blissful fall dinner: squash gnocchi served with meat stew.

Can you make canned pumpkin puree safely at home? The short answer is no. Canning is not a safe method for preserving mashed pumpkin, pumpkin puree, or pumpkin butter.

USDA laboratory testing has not been able to establish a consistent, safe processing time for preserving any type of mashed pumpkin product by canning. Since 1989, the USDA has recommended against canning mashed pumpkin products, even though many older publications offer these instructions.

However, you can make home canned pumpkin cubes, as well as canned cubes of any type of hard winter squash. Yields can vary greatly from one variety of squash to another, as well as your preparation and canning skill. Estimate an average of 2¼ pounds squash per quart. Select hard rind varieties of squash, such as acorn, butternut, carnival, kabocha, or sugar pie pumpkins are ideal for home canned pumpkin or winter squash. Spaghetti squash is not suitable for canning since it breaks down and becomes pulpy.


Recipe for Preserving Canned Pumpkin or Winter Squash Cubes


• 1½ to 10½ cups water or light sugar syrup (recipe below)
• 1 to 7 teaspoons salt (optional)
• 2¼ to 15¾ pounds (approximate) pumpkin or winter quash


1. Prepare the pressure canner. Refer to the directions from the manufacturer for your brand of pressure canner.

2. Wash jars and keep them hot. (Sterilizing isn’t necessary, either keep them in barely simmering water or in the dishwasher on a hot hold cycle.) Wash screw bands and use only new flat sealing lids.

3. Prepare canning liquid, which may be either plain boiling water or light sugar syrup. Add salt if desired.

4. Wash the whole pumpkin or squash and then cut into one-inch strips. This makes it easier to cut the rind away from the flesh. After cutting away the rind, cut the raw squash into one-inch cubes.

5. Bring canning liquid to a boil, add squash cubes, return to a boil and cook 2-5 minutes, or until barely tender and still firm. (Above all, do not mash.) Keep squash hot while filling jars.

6. Fill hot jars loosely with hot pumpkin or squash cubes. Add hot canning liquid, adjusting headspace to one-inch. Remove air bubbles and adjust the headspace again, if needed.

7. Clean the rim and secure the lid with a screw band. Place filled jar in the canner.

8. Refer to the instruction manual for your pressure canner for procedures on properly venting your canner and then bringing it up to the pressure. Process time for pumpkin or winter squash cubes (at 0 to 1,000 feet) in a dial gauge pressure canner at 11 pounds or weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds is 55 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

9. Allow the pressure canner to cool naturally. After depressurization is complete, carefully open the canner. Place jars at least one-inch apart on a dry towel or wood surface away from drafts. Cool the jars naturally for 12 to 24 hours.

10. Remove the screw band. With the band removed, hold the jar steady and try to lift the lid off using your fingertips. If you cannot lift the lid off by pulling on the lid, the seal is good. If jars do not have a good seal, refrigerate and use the product within 3 days.

If the jar is sealed, wipe with a clean damp cloth, including the bottom, sides, threads, and lid. If there is a lot of sticky deposit (such as sugar syrup), it is sometimes easier to rinse it under warm running water. Dry the jar. Label each jar with the product and date (for example, “Pumpkin Lt. syrup Oct 2015”). Store jars in a cool dry place (50°F to 70°F). Best used within one year. Makes 1 to 7 quarts.

Light Sugar Syrup

• 1 cup water
• ¼ cup sugar

In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes, or until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat. Cool and refrigerate up to 1 month. Makes 1 cup.

Is Making Home-Canned Pumpkin Right for You?

Preserving pumpkin by canning is time-consuming. Since whole winter squash will keep up to 6 months if properly stored, canning may not be the best option for you. (Store whole squash in a cool to warm (40°F to 60°F), dry room. Attics, closets, or near a basement furnace can be excellent locations.)

However, a few jars of ready-to-use pumpkin on your pantry shelf can save time when you want to make pumpkin pie or squash soup without a lot of preparation. To use canned pumpkin cubes for pie or soup, simply puree the cubes in a blender or food processor with enough canning liquid to make a puree and you’re ready to cook up a fabulous pumpkin recipe.

Some of my favorite recipes using pumpkin include pumpkin quick bread, pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin spice cake filled with cardamom cream, and pumpkin custard (just make your favorite pumpkin pie without a crust). Drop me an email if you want a recipe for any of these.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



It’s time to celebrate the autumn harvest in all its glory, so I developed these recipes for a recent meal at The Table, the community kitchen where I am a volunteer chef. This is autumn cooking at its finest, full of nutritious, healthy vegetables, with a naughty garlic bread loaded with garlic. If garlic isn’t your thing, don’t go any further, just go directly to the soup recipe, where you will be rewarded with a hearty lunch or dinner meal.

The beauty of this soup is it makes use of what ever vegetables you have on hand, is completely vegetarian (unless you want to add chicken or beef), and cooks up pretty quickly. This is a crowd-sized recipe, and I have already cut the recipe in half for you. If you’re feeding 2 armies, by all means double it. Ditto for the garlic bread, I made four loaves originally, but I will leave it up to your discretion (and how much garlic bread you like). Feel free to use other veggies than the ones I did. The garlic bread makes use of loads of butter, garlic, with some parsley for color, and can heat in the oven while the soup is finishing up. 

Harvest Vegetable Soup Recipe


• 8 lbs fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 4 peppers, preferably in several colors, cut in chunks
• 2 large chopped onions
• 4 cups chopped flat Italian beans, in 1-inch chunks
• 4 cups cubed butternut squash
• 6 large carrots, sliced into ¼-inch diagonals
• 3-4 finely minced jalapenos, or to taste
• 2 cans red kidney beans
• 1 can black beans
• 2 cans bean mélange or mix
• ¼ c. chopped fresh basil
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tbsp salt


1. In a large stockpot, put the tomatoes, peppers, onions, squash, carrots, jalapenos, beans, herbs and salt in. Cover with water, and bring to a boil.

2. Simmer until tomatoes are very soft (and release their juice) and squash is tender. This doesn’t take all that long, about 20 minutes. Test frequently so things don’t get overcooked.

3. Taste for the salt, and see if you want more. 


Naughty Garlic Bread


• 2 good quality baguettes or Italian loaves, split
• 1 lb butter
• ¼ to ½ cup garlic puree, or 4-6 tbsp finely minced garlic
• ¼ cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves


1. Melt butter in saucepan, and add pureed garlic or minced garlic. Let heat on very low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, to infuse the garlic flavor into the butter (I did this just on a pilot light of the gas stove.).

2. Add parsley, stir.

3. On sheets of foil, place the loaves of bread, and ladle garlic butter onto the cut sides.

4. Fold back together, seal inside foil, and place in a slow oven, about 300, for 15 minutes.

5. Slice and serve. That’s it. 

Notes: The Table Community Food Centre. Last accessed October 7, 2015.

You can sign up for classes or follow the further adventures of Sue Van Slooten at:

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Freckled Pumpkin Yeast BreadIt’s pumpkin season, which means pumpkin flavored items are popping up everywhere. The airwaves and reader boards are replete with ads for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ice cream treats and even pumpkin milkshakes.

I get it. I like pumpkin too. But all that sweetness is a bit much for me. So when I found myself with leftover pumpkin puree after making a batch of homemade Pumpkin-Blueberry Muffins, I knew just what to make – a pumpkin flavored yeast bread that wasn’t sweet and that left out the typical pumpkin pie related spices.

Ingredient Substitutes

1. The bread is freckled with chopped pecans, but toasted walnuts or even dried cranberries would work equally well.

2. Pumpkin puree adds a savory flavor and helps keep the bread soft. Cooked, mashed buttercup or Hubbard winter squash would make a nice substitute, although it would give the bread a more delicate flavor.

3. I used some Kamut® flour to add whole grains and because its nutty flavor enhances the pumpkin. White whole wheat or additional all-purpose flour could be used instead.

Freckled Pumpkin Yeast Bread Recipe


• 1-1/2 cups Kamut flour
• 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
• 1-1/2 tbsp brown sugar
• 1-1/2 tsp salt
• 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
• 1-1/4 cup pumpkin puree
• 3/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans


1. Add all ingredients except pecans to a large bowl, or a stand mixer bowl. Mix well to combine.

2. Add nuts. Knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, or using a stand mixer for 5 - 8 minutes.

3. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 1-1/2 hours

4. Gently fold to deflate.

5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a floured brotform. You could also shape the dough into a free from oval. Cover and let rise 30 – 40 minutes or until doubled.

6. Preheat oven and baking stone to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. Gently flip the bread out of the brotform and onto a parchment lined peel. Score the round with a sharp knife.

8. Slide the loaf onto the baking stone and bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until interior temperature reaches 195 -200 degrees.

9. Remove from oven and let cool for up to an hour before slicing.

Savory Pumpkin Recipes

Here are some older savory pumpkin recipes that sound great too.

1. Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter

2. Pumpkin Pretzels

3. Ginger Spiced Pumpkin Bisque Soup

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



As a child, I have vague memories of my mother water-bath canning tomatoes, pickles and peaches. Further along in life, the memories change to a multitude of ominous-looking jars on metal racks in the basement containing vitreous fluids, dissolving lumps of… whatever, and bulging lids threatening to detonate at the slightest touch. In other words, food canned but not consumed for many, many years. Canning gone bad. That scared me.

Many years later, as an adult, I eventually challenged the concept of grocery-store, over-processed and often times GMO preserved foods containing what I consider additional, unnecessary ingredients. Then, there was that large, navy blue-with-white-speckles porcelain canning pot from my childhood memories, figuratively staring me in the face. Being the earth spirit organic foodie gardener that I am, I just had to put my fears aside and carry my torch for healthier foods into a canning foray.

Getting Past the Fear of Home Canning

But, of course, first I had to read the book Putting Food By, which focused quite a bit on the charms of botulism poisoning and scared the bejesus out of me once again. Okay, so living in the high-altitude Rocky Mountain region, I also had to consider the challenges of high altitude with its lower boiling temperatures. Canning only high-acid foods to be safe, I limited myself to tomatoes, peaches, pickles and jams/jellies and still felt a little nervous eating them. After a couple of years of my congenital “canning-and-rarely-consuming” practices, I sold all of my canning paraphernalia and called it quits.

Fast forward to the present: A large garden, a multitude of plants and other bounties and again that need for a way to preserve and get away from processed foods.

Hence — ta daa — the pressure canner came into my life. Along with it came decades of tales of pressure canners exploding, sending boiling hot shrapnel in all directions, injuries, deaths, the putting out of eyes, and more. Once again, I set aside my fears, realizing that if I follow directions correctly, canning did not mean taking my or anyone else’s lives in my hands. After all, people have been preserving food since the beginning of time. And it gets safer and safer.

But canning is a time-consuming proposition and that really is, I think, a major consideration, aside from the fact that you do need to purchase things like the jars, the canning equipment, tools and some other accessories to make the process go smoothly. Always use the right tools for the job.

What Canning Equipment do You Need?

So, at the bare minimum, you will need canning jars with lids and bands. For canning, new lids are always a must as a perfect seal is of the utmost importance. Next, you’ll need either a water-bath or pressure canner. A water-bath canner (about $20) is okay if you’re on a budget and don’t want to can anything beyond high-acid foods as mentioned above.

If you get a pressure canner, which costs about 4 times as much (about $80), you can also use it as a water-bath canner, plus use it for cooking. The canners come with a canning rack (if you’re going to double-layer jars in the pressure canner, add a second rack for about $10). A kit of canning tools (funnel, tongs, lid lifter/bubble remover, jar lifters) will cost about $12. If you want to make life easier when removing, for instance, skins and seeds from tomatoes, a food mill is helpful ($35+).

So a bit of a cost in the beginning, but it should all pay for itself the first year if you have a decent garden harvest and tend to cook a lot.

The Process is Work — But Worth It

Then there’s the process of cleaning, preparing and cooking the foods you’re going to can, sterilizing the jars and lids, following canning recipes very closely for safety reasons, learning how to make altitude adjustments in time and pressure settings, following the canner’s instructions implicitly, being willing to stay in a hot kitchen for hours and not take your eyes off the pressure gauge if you’re going that route — plus a big cleanup job in the end.

It’s really not a terrible amount of hassle to go through considering it’s possible to can an entire year’s worth of tomato sauce, paste, spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, juice or whatever your desire, in just a few days. Not only will you have guaranteed better quality food, but glass jars do not leach harmful chemicals into the foods like cans do and you can reuse the jars and bands over and over so there’s a smaller environmental footprint.

One of my favorite places to go for canning recipes is SB Canning. This is the third year I’ve made their Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce — I love the stuff and use it for more than pasta. (And yes, they mean 6 bulbs (heads) of garlic and not 6 cloves!)

When Canning Isn't for You

If this all sounds like too much work to you, no worries! There are other ways to preserve foods, which you can read about in my post on Preserving Food, More Options Than Just Canning. Plus, wide-mouth pint canning jars are freezer safe (look for that on the labels), so you can instead FREEZE your favorite sauces, soups, stews, chili, stocks etc. and they keep just as nicely. For freezing, you can re-use the canning lids as long as they aren’t nicked or rusting. You can also read about this process in my post, No More Canned Soup.

Important: For freezing, make sure you use the wide-mouth jars that are freezer-safe and leave 1 inch of space at the top for expansion so the jars don’t break.

Canning is not for everyone, but even if you’re short on time, there are still ways you can preserve foods so you’re not forced to buy canned products at the grocery store.

Deb Tejada is an urban farmer, foodie, do-it-yourselfer, graphic designer, illustrator and web developer living in sunny Colorado.  When she’s not in the kitchen or garden, you can find her at The Herban Farmer.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


After you have dehydrated and vacuum-sealed your garden's goodies, it's time to store them either for use during the winter and early spring months, or for those people who wish to have on hand an emergency supply of food — this post covers both!

I love to use Mason jars. Why? They are great for storing dehydrated food for daily/weekly use. It's so easy to screw off a lid, rather than having to cut the top seal off a vacuum-sealed pouch then having to re-vacuum seal it. Mason jars store easily in your kitchen cupboards making them a handy go-to while cooking your favorite recipe.

Use Oxygen Absorbers

With the use of Mason jars, I still use oxygen absorbers (more on those coming up in the next post). An easy way to know if the oxygen absorber is defunct is to listen for a "pop" when you unscrew the lid. If you hear that, then you know there's still some life left in the oxygen absorber. When it's completely dead, replace it.

What Size Oxygen Absorber To Use?

In my quart-size Mason jars I use a 100cc oxygen absorber, just like we use in the vacuum-sealed pouches. For the smaller pint-size Mason jars, a 50cc oxygen absorber is ample. So why use different sized jars? For lesser-used veggies, such as garlic in my case, the slices of dried garlic fit easily into the smaller half-pint Mason jars. Sometimes I'll use an "almost dead" 100cc oxygen absorber for use in the smaller half-pint Mason jars, therefore bypassing the need to purchase the smaller oxygen absorbers.

It doesn't take long to fill a quart-sized Mason jar with celery, corn, peas, hash-brown potatoes — and these are the mainstays of great soups! Back to the garlic slices: They're easy to crumble up into soups and stews.

Mylar Bags

As an alternative to Mason jars — especially for long-term storage — I highly recommend storing your vacuum-sealed pouches in Mylar bags. They're rip-proof, water-proof, and block out the light. Yes, the three enemies to food storage: Air, light, and water. Do a search online for Mylar bags. Amazon have them (but then again, what does Amazon NOT have?) The size of Mylar bags I choose to use are 10" x 14". Many times, the Mylar bags are bundled with oxygen absorbers so take that into consideration while perusing.

A quick note about Mylar bags: DO NOT attempt to draw the air out of them. Only the vacuum-sealed pouches have the air removed — in fact, it's pretty darn near impossible to draw the air out of a Mylar bag because both inner sides of the bag are smooth. When the bag is clamped in the food vacuum-sealer, the air cannot pass through! (In contrast, the vacuum-sealer bags have one inner "side" textured to allow for air-removal.)

I attempt to put in four vacuum-sealed pouches of food into each Mylar bag at the most. Don't overstuff — there's less risk of puncturing the vacuum-sealed pouches.

Plastic Lidded Bins

The use of plastic lidded bins are great for storing pouches of vacuum-sealed foods that are contained in the Mylar bags. If the plastic bin is classed as "airtight," then by all means you can add a 2,000cc oxygen absorber before snapping on the lid. For the most part, these plastic lidded bins are NOT airtight (the handles usually leak air) so I don't recommend wasting a 2,000cc oxygen absorber.

So why use these bins? They're great for stacking and are well-suited for long-term food storage! In a future post I'll show you how I made a great storage area along a bare wall instead of taking over a closet.

Feed Buckets with Lids

Head on down to your local DIY store and pick up some FOOD-grade buckets (#2 food grade). Don't forget the lids! Or you can go to Amazon. These buckets are definitely air-tight so please feel free to use the 2,000cc oxygen absorbers in the bucket along with your Mylar-bagged pouches.

Do I have to use the Mylar bags? No. But they help segregate your food — keeps you organized. Also, the Mylar bags are great for writing on the date and noting what's in it! Use a fine-tipped black felt marker.

Regarding the buckets: Amazon also have some special lids that you snap on called Gamma2 Lids — and the interior of the lids screw out. The manufacturers claim they are air-tight. Hey, they are great — have you ever had sore fingers from trying to pry off lids (especially in cold weather). Ouch! These save the day (and your fingers!).

Folk also use these big buckets with the screw-out lid centers to store their bulk dry dog and cat food. A user noted that she stored flour too without any bug problems.

Oxygen Absorbers Up Next!

In the next post, I'll get into oxygen absorbers and cover why they are necessary to combat mold-growth.

To read all of Susan's posts, please visit this page on MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Since December of 2010, Susan Gast has operated Easy Food Dehydrating, a website dedicated to dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meats. Susan teaches you how to safely store your goodies too—for long-term food storage. Keep your food pantry full—whatever the reason or season!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.


Giardiniera Garden Vegetables
Giardiniera Pickles

Giardiniera comes from the word giardino, or garden in Italian, and is literally a garden pickle. The vegetable combination is very flexible, but the flavor profile usually includes at least hot and sweet peppers. This pickle is meant to be made from what you have on hand. I love giardiniera chopped up on sandwiches, tossed in pasta salads and eaten along side a nice grilled steak.

Gather up what you have left in the garden, from your neighbors or from your local farmers market, and pickle the best of it before it’s all gone.

Garden Vegetables for Giardiniera

Mixed Vegetable Giardiniera Pickle Recipe


• 3 quarts mixed chopped vegetables like zucchini, yellow squash, kohlrabi, cauliflower, sweet peppers, hot peppers, carrots, celery, onions, yellow beets, radishes, green tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
• 1/2 cup salt
• 4 cloves garlic quartered
• 4 hot chiles, halved
• 1 bunch fresh oregano
• 2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp celery seeds
• 2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar


1. Cut vegetables into chunks, slices or planks, just so that everything is similarly sized.  Leave green cherry tomatoes, small onions/beets/radishes whole.  

2. In a large bowl combine all the vegetables and 1/2 cup salt.  Cover with water. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to sit on the countertop overnight.  

3. The next day, drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly with cold water. 

4. Prepare your water bath canner.  Place 4-5 pint jars in the water bath to warm. 

5. Bring the vinegar and water to a simmer in a separate pot.  Into the hot jars, divide the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, celery seed and peppercorns. 

6. Pack the vegetables into the jars, then pour over the vinegar solution. 

7. Add the lids and process the pints for 10 minutes.

8. To serve, dress the pickles with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, course salt and freshly ground pepper.

Yield 4-5 pints

Giardiniera Pickles

Tammy Kimbler is the blogger of One tomato, two tomato. A cultivator at heart, Tammy’s passions lie with food, preservation, gardening and connecting to her local community through blogging and urban agriculture. She eats well and love to feed others as often as possible. She currently resides with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



About 25 years ago, my daughter and I spent a few days visiting old haunts in New Orleans, mostly eating. We treated ourselves to the famous Jazz Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, which was wonderful — fun, good music and delicious food.

One dish impressed me so much, I begged for the recipe. Our server took my plea to the kitchen and the chef actually sent down a copy!

I have made some minor changes, using olive oil in place of part of the butter, offering substitutions and expanding the directions for the home cook. “Eggplant Court” has become a traditional part of our holiday meals.

‘Court of Two Sisters’ Eggplant Casserole Recipe

This casserole freezes well. Take advantage of fall eggplant harvest and make a double recipe. Freeze in serving-sized containers for winter meals. I like to prepare just the vegetables and freeze packets to finish into the casserole later.

Don’t worry about reheating — it will all be gone. (But also don’t tell the meat-and-potatoes guys that it’s eggplant!)


• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 red bell peppers, diced
• 1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
• 2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut to ½-inch dice
• several large cloves roasted garlic
• 1/2 stick of butter
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (dried is fine, too)
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• freshly ground pepper, several turns of the mill

Ingredients for the second stage

• 1 pound creole Andouille sausage, shredded**
• 1 cup parsley, cut with scissors
• 9 cups fresh bread crumbs from 1 loaf French bread
• 6 eggs, lightly beaten


Directions, Stage 1

1. Start by dicing all the vegetables, mounding them up on a big cutting board or on a sheet of wax paper or parchment.

2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter in the oil and begin cooking the onion, pepper and celery. Season well with the thyme, salt and pepper. When the vegetables begin to soften, add the eggplant and continue cooking, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are fully soft. Do not brown.

3. Remove from heat, taste and add sea salt and pepper to taste.                                                               

4. Stop here if you’d like to freeze the eggplant mixture for a later date. Doesn’t that look delicious? I’m going to freeze this batch of veggies now and bring it out in a couple weeks to finish and bake for a special dinner.

5. When you’re ready to finish the casserole for a special dinner, completely defrost the eggplant mix, turn it into a large bowl and continue on:

Directions, Stage 2

1. Butter your baking dish. I like to use a 3-quart soufflé or deep casserole dish. If you’d like more crust, a 9-by-13 baking dish will work.

2. Salt and pepper can seem to disappear when frozen; taste a bit of the eggplant and adjust, adding more sea salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the parsley and the sausage and stir well. Add the bread crumbs, stir in and then add the beaten eggs. Stir well. Pack into a casserole. Cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes in a deep dish, less in the 9-by-13.

4. Uncover and continue baking another 15 minutes. When you peek into the center, it should look set. Your kitchen thermometer will read about 170 degrees.

** Note: Shred sausage in the food processor. You can substitute party-time links or sausage cooked in patties and crumbled. You can make this vegetarian by leaving out the sausage, but add pepper to make up for the spicy sausage.

Serving Suggestions

This casserole makes a one-course meal or can be used as a side dish or even to stuff a chicken, turkey or a thick pork chop. It makes a delicious alternative to the traditional dressing we love in holiday meals. For a grand buffet dinner party, my daughter bakes a double batch of this and keeps it warm in a crock pot set on low.

Another little trick that worked:  To get as much done ahead as possible, I lined regular bread loaf pans with plastic wrap, packed in the finished eggplant casserole and froze them. Then, after they were frozen, I pulled the casserole “loaves” out of the pan and put each into freezer bags for freezer storage. Come party day, the frozen casseroles are unwrapped, dropped back into the loaf pans and baked.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

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