A sweet leventine recipe, usually passed down from generation to generation.
1 KG white (striped) Eggplants
1 KG sugar
1 cinnamon stick
3 cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons ground limestone (كلس)
1 Ltr water
100 grams Walnuts
Start by peeling the eggplants.
In a plastic container, dissolve 2 tablespoons of ground limestone in 1 liter of water. Once dissolved, wait until the limestone gathers at the bottom and the water becomes almost clear again.
In another plastic container, place the peeled eggplants and pour the limestone water on top, making sure not to pour any of the limestone at the bottom into your new container.
Make sure your eggplants are completely submerged in the limestone water by placing a plate on top. Leave to soak overnight.
This is considered an essential step in Jam making in Lebanon. The limestone helps the fruit and vegetables keep their texture and crunshiness even when cooked and candied!
The next morning, start by washing your eggplants thoroughly, making sure no trace of limestone remains. To make extra sure, I boil a pot of water a submerge the cleaned eggplants for 5 mins.
Once done, take each eggplant and make a small incision on one side. This is where the walnuts will eventually go.
Press each eggplant by hand, making sure the excess water content goes out.
In a large saucepan, stir sugar and water on medium high heat. Make sure the sugar comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat to medium low and pour the lemon juice. Let gently boil for 15 mins before dunking the eggplants in the mix.
Turn the heat back up and let the mix come to a rolling boil again. A foam will form on top. Try to gently remove it.
Once the foam is removed, turn the heat back down to medium low and let the eggplants cook for about two hours, stirring and checking on them often.
Halfway through the cooking process add your spices.
The texture of the eggplants will remain solid thanks to the limestone.
Once completely candied, turn off the heat and let slightly cool.
Take each of the eggplants and place a walnut in the incision you made. Then place them in jars and pour the simple syrup from the pan on top for a longer shelf life.
We usually keep them in the fridge and they would last for about 3 to 4 months, if my family doesn't finish them sooner!