Eggplants are tasty grilled, sautéed, or mashed. They are complementary to other vegetables as well as meats and sauces.
Eggplants are members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes. They are classified as a berry and referred to as fruit. Also commonly known as aubergines (and brinjal in
The most common type is the large, deep-purple fruit that looks like a distorted egg. Colors can also range from green to white.
In specialty and ethnic markets many exciting varieties include Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and
The peak season is short: August-September. They are available year-round from “forced” growing.
Younger fruits and males will be the most flavorful. Female eggplants have more seeds, which heightens the bitterness. To identify males and females, look at the base (large end). The indentation, or “navel,” will be rounded on a male and straight across like a hyphen on a female.
All fruits should be blemish-free and firm with a hint of sponginess. It is a matter of preference regarding weight, but eggplants that are lighter when compared to their size will have less seeds.
They will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator, but taste best if used within a day or two of purchase. Wrap in plastic before storing in the vegetable drawer.
• Baby eggplants do not require peeling.
• Older fruits will have a bitter-tasting skin.
• The flesh begins to brown shortly after peeling or slicing.
• Bake an entire eggplant until the skin collapses and remove the pulp for dips and sauces.