Glyko Melitzanaki (pr. meh-lee-tzah-NAH-kee) or Vazanaki (pr. vah-zah-NAH-kee) in Cyprus, is a fruit preserve made with baby eggplants.
September is the best time of the year when baby eggplants are in season, so don’t miss the opportunity to make this delicious preserve.
I suppose most of you will be surprised seeing eggplants served as a sweet preserve. I know that my Greek friends have eaten or heard of melitzanaki glyko.
I had to share with you a twist I made to this traditional recipe, in which I added grenadine, not only for the lovely taste, but also to give a lovely colour to the eggplant.
Grenadine is my addition to this fruit preserve. If you make it without the grenadine its colour will be greenish to brown and not so appetizing.
My mother used to add food colour but I am not a fan of food colouring.
For those of you who have never heard of grenadine, it is a syrup made with pomegranate.
This time I did not have time to make my own grenadine from scratch but when I return home, I intend to make some.
Making fruit preserves or “spoon sweets” as we call them in Greece is not as difficult as it looks.
The basic procedure is almost the same for all spoon sweets. We need the same amount of fruit or vegetable and sugar and some water and we boil it until the fruit is cooked and the syrup is ready.
To make this spoon sweet we need very small eggplants around 8 – 12 cm long.
HOW TO MAKE GLYKO MELITZANAKI
The eggplants should first be peeled, but make sure to wear gloves, as your hands will be stained and it’s difficult to wash it off. Then after soaking them in pickling lime they need to be washed well and an almond and a clove should be inserted in each eggplant.
Once we add the sugar we should avoid stirring it with a spoon but it is better to toss the saucepan until the sugar melts. Later on we can gently stir it with a wooden spoon until it is cooked.
While it starts boiling, some froth may form on top but just ignore it as it will go away. You just have to be careful as it boils as the syrup may overflow.
A good way to avoid overflowing is to put the wooden spoon on top of the pot.
I did not have a recipe for this spoon sweet, so I just made it from what I already know about spoon sweets.
The only thing that I will change when I make it again will be to add more sugar and water as the syrup was not enough to cover the spoon sweet, so next day I had to make extra syrup with grenadine to add on top. (The recipe has been adjusted).
Time needed to make Glyko Melitzanaki
- About 45 minutes to peel them.
- 2 hours to rest in pickling lime. (If you do not have pickling lime, you can just leave it out, as well as having to wash it after. The preserve will just become less crunchy.
- 10 minutes to wash them.
- 1 hour to rest in lemon juice.
- About 20 minutes to add the almonds and the cloves.
- About 30 minutes for sugar to melt.
- 5 – 6 hours resting in syrup.
- Cooking time: about 45 minutes.
Serve as it is with a glass of cold water or use it in your desserts for decoration, serve it with Greek yoghurt or ice cream, or in other creative ways you may think.
The leftover syrup can also be used as any other syrup.
- 60 baby eggplants (about 2 kilos)
- 2,400 grams sugar
- 1 cup pickling lime + water to cover them
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 60 almonds blanched and roasted
- 60 cloves
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups grenadine
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Remove the stem from the eggplant and with a vegetable peeler, remove the skin.
- Fill a large basin with water and dissolve the pickling lime.
- Put the eggplants in the water and let them rest for about two hours. (Add something on top, to keep them submerged, as they will float).
- Wash them well, many times and then put them in the basin with fresh water and the lemon juice. Let them rest for 1 hour.
- After straining them, with a sharp knife make a small slit in the middle of the eggplant and push the almond inside. Put a clove where the stem was.
- Put them in a large pot and after each layer add some sugar to cover them.
Repeat until you add all the eggplants and the sugar.
- Add the water gradually, so that the sugar is wet evenly. Leave it for half an hour so that the sugar will melt.
- Bring it to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Let it to rest in the syrup
- Next day remove the eggplants with a slotted spoon into a strainer and add the grenadine to the syrup. Add any leftover syrup back in the pot, after draining them. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cloves from the eggplants and drop some in the syrup. Put the eggplants back in the pot. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil again. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Check if the eggplants are cooked by poking them with a skewer. If the skewer does not penetrate them easily, they need more boiling.
- Check that they syrup has reached the right density (it should reach 105oC) and then add the lemon juice and mix.
- Let them cool in the pot and then put them in clean and sterilized jars and fill them with the syrup.
- Store in the cupboard.
The calories are much less, as the syrup is not consumed. However, it is calculated in the nutrition calculator.
Nutrition InformationYield 60 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 209Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 17mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 2gSugar 46gProtein 1g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!