Though there are now many varieties and colors of eggplants, the first type was white-skinned and round, hence the name “eggplant”. They’re commonly used in Indian, Italian, French, Chinese, and Mediterranean cuisines, and is called “aubergine” outside of the US.
Select eggplant with smooth, shiny, firm skin. Dents or blemishes indicate a lack of freshness, so this part is important! The stem and cap should be bright green rather than dull and dry.
Cook eggplant as quickly as you can after purchasing it, as it tends to turn bitter the longer it sits around in your fridge.
Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter and contain fewer seeds.
Using a carbon steel knife to cut eggplant will cause it to turn black due to a reaction with the eggplant’s phytonutrients. Best stick to stainless steel!
Salting, draining, then rinsing sliced eggplant can be done to remove bitterness and moisture. It’s really only necessary to add this extra step if you’re working with large and mature eggplant and planning to broil, roast, or grill it, but not worth the extra hassle if it’s going into a sauce or soup.
Eggplant lends itself well to many preparations, including frying, roasting, grilling, stir frying, and stuffing then baking.
When a recipe instructs you to fry an eggplant, you can often get away with roasting them in a very hot oven instead. It’s not just a huge time-saver, but also a more nutritious preparation.
Eggplant makes a delectably savory meatless meatball that can be tucked into pasta, nestled in a french roll, or served as an appetizer with a creamy dip.
Eggplant is full of fiber, especially considering how few calories it has. It’s also a good source of iron, copper, and vitamin B6, essential to making new blood cells.
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