Berenjenas are tiny stuffed pickled aubergines (baby eggplants) which are enjoyed just as they are right out of the bottle. They are an intriguing snack or tapa, and proudly displayed by the very best tapas bars in Barcelona, Madrid and all over Spain.
Berenjenas have been part of the traditional cuisine of La Mancha for over one thousand years. Commonly used as an appetizer, starter or in salads, it is ideal as a complement to any great Mediterranean dish. It is an emblematic product that is directly identified with the land of La Mancha. Prepared following an old Arab formula, it is available throughout central Spain at fairs and taverns.
Our berenjenas/eggplants are harvested while they are still green and small. They are boiled between 5 and 20 minutes, cleaned and split in half. Then they are stuffed with red bell pepper and hand-skewered with fennel twigs. Finally they are placed in large cauldrons with a unique marinade of vinegar, oil, salt, cumin, garlic, pimenton (smoked paprika), and water.
An interesting fact is that berenjenas can be of different genders. You can differentiate easily, as females have a "dash" shaped scar in the depression at their blossom end, while males have a round "dot" scar, and also have fewer seeds. Our bottles are co-ed. But have no concern; they are all pickled.
The farmers who grow Berenjenas de Almagro, Solarum melongena, are privileged to grow a variety of vegetable that is unique in the world. They treasure the Almagro berenjena seeds and pass them from father to son, taking great pride in owning a plant whose fruits are so clearly unique.
Little known in the ancient Mediterranean world, eggplants were introduced into North Africa and Spain in the Middle Ages by Arab traders. The Moors introduced this delicacy to the Campo de Calatrava area, where it has been cultivated ever since. Our berenjenas are prepared in the village of Bolatos by the sons of Isidoro Calzado. They follow the traditions established hundreds of years past, during the times of the Moors.