Eggplant’s unique looks and taste set it apart from other vegetables; even within the eggplant family, flavors and appearances vary widely. The most common grocery store variety is rounded, oblong, and purple, but there are kinds that are squat and plump, long and thin, and even the colors can range from white to yellow to green. If you’re unfamiliar with eggplant, or just have trouble picking ones that are really good, these quick tips will help you strike eggplant gold.
What does the perfect eggplant look like?
- Look: A ripe eggplant (regardless of the variety) has a shiny, lustrous coat that is free of scars or wrinkles. A duller sheen usually indicates an eggplant that is overly ripe. The stem at the top should also be green; brown stemmed eggplants tend to be older.
- Feel: The skin of the eggplant should be pretty taut and resistant to pressure. If you press it gently, it should give slightly but still spring back. Avoid eggplants that feel spongy, don’t spring back, or are very hard.
- Size: Size depends on the variety of eggplant – however, in general, smaller eggplants tend to be sweeter. Also, eggplants that are heavy for their size are often the better choice.
- Eggplant has a short shelf life. It’s best to eat a fresh eggplant within 1-2 days of purchase, otherwise it may become bitter.
- After you’ve cut, diced, or sliced your eggplant, you can strain some of the plant’s bitterness by salting it and letting it sit at least for a few minutes, but up to 2 hours in a colander prior to cooking it. Just rinse it and pat it try afterward!