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.

Tips

  • 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!

  Photo Credits: Spoonful, I Didn't Get Fat Accidentally

Top 10 Christmas Cookies of the Season.
Hearty, Chunky Soups for a Cold Day.
Healthy, Easy New Ways to Enjoy Salmon.
10 Tasty Ways to Make Canned Tuna Gourmet.
10 Creative New Ways to Cook Salmon.
12 Terrific New Takes on Jalapeño Poppers.
Quick and Easy 5 Ingredient Pastas.
Snack Healthy with Homemade Hummus.
Every Dish is Made Better with Beer.
10 Exceptional Coffee Drinks to Make at Home.
10 Handy Meals Made in a Muffin Tin.
Vegan Appetizers Anyone Will Love.
Simple, Hearty Mexican Dishes for a Crowd.
10 Succulent Salmon Dishes for Healthier Eating.
Appetizer Ideas for the Big Game.
Italian Dishes Minus the Indulgence.
Cozy Chili Recipes and Creative Ways to Enjoy Them.
Fantastic, Flavorful 5-Ingredient Chicken Dinners.
10 Savory Curries You Can Make in a Hurry.
5 Creative Cinco de Mayo Recipes to get the Fiesta Started!.
Fun Football Shaped Bites for the Super Bowl.
The Ultimate Super Bowl Appetizer: 5-Layer Football Field Dip.
TOUCHDOWN! The Extreme Super Bowl Recipe Round-Up.
Complete Your Meal With a Perfect Wine Pairing.
Food Pairings with Sean McKenzie and Dave Matthews.
Top 10 Tips for Winning Dinners!.
From Apples to Kale to Salmon, How to Keep What You Love Fresh.
Cooking with Silk®.
Grow Your Own Ingredients: Fresh Garden Favorites.
Bring Game Day Parties to Life with Lit'l Smokies.
5 Lit’l Smokies Recipes to Bring Holiday Parties to Life.
Foods that Will Put You to Sleep.
5 Tips For Enjoying The Holiday Season, Guilt Free and Naturally.
Black Bean & Corn Guacamole.
Slow Roasted Pork Arepas with Quick Pickled Onions and Chimichurri.
Citrus Salmon and Watermelon Popsicles.