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Sweet Eggplant Preserve



Wash the eggplants.
Trim the stem end, leaving a little piece.
Cut one or two thin strips of peel, so that the vegetables keep their shape but their flesh is better exposed to absorb the syrup.
Some people leave them in water (changed daily) for 3 days to remove excessive bitterness, but it is sufficient to poach them in lightly salted water for 1015 minutes, until they soften (you will need to weigh them down with a smaller lid), and then to let them drain very well before cooking them in syrup.
In a large saucepan, make a syrup by boiling the sugar in about 3 3/4 cups water with the spices and lemon juice.
Gently press the juice out of the eggplants and throw them in.
Simmer for about an hour, until the eggplants are very tender and engorged with syrup.
Let them cool before you put them in a jar, and cover them with the syrup, which should be thick enough to coat a spoon.
If it is not, reduce it by boiling fast.
If it is too thick or caramelized, add a little water.
Let the preserve cool before closing the jar.