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Market Haul

Market Haul: Eggplant

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This nightshade comes in many beautiful colors, shapes, and sizes.

In some circles it's known as an aubergine, in others it's a guinea squash, but to most of us it's an eggplant. In the U.S., glossy, purple-black eggplants are most common, but this nightshade comes in a range of colors, shapes, and sizes. Sicilian (also known as graffiti) eggplants are streaked with purple and white. Albino and white beauties have milky, white skin. Chinese eggplants are long and cylindrical like zucchini. Small and grape-like, Thai eggplants are sold in clusters.

How to choose them
Choose eggplants that are firm to the touch, with no shriveling or soft spots. The green leaves at the end of the stem should be fresh and green, not brown or dry.

How to use them
Because of its meatiness and smoky flavor, eggplant often substitutes for protein in dishes like eggplant parmesan rollatini and stir-fry. But this hearty fruit also shines in foods that are traditionally eggplant-centric, including ratatouille and baba ghanoush.

Eggplant can become soggy when cooked, but a little bit of time and salt can work wonders. After you've sliced and diced, place the pieces in a colander and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes or so, and then blot with a paper towel to remove the excess water before cooking.

How to store them
Store your eggplant at room temperature out of direct sunlight, and try to use it within a few days. Refrigerating an eggplant can adversely affect its flavor and texture.

Are you an eggplant fan? How do you like to prepare it? 

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About the Author
Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon is a Wharton graduate who prefers flip flops to business suits. She writes about travel, food, wellness, and social consciousness.

  • Tammy P. 3 years ago
    Love it mixed with onions and tomatoes along with salt and pepper
  • Lou A. 3 years ago
    I like My quick version of Eggplant Parmesan. I bread it and fry it till golden brown, as in making fried green Tomatoes, then layer the breaded and fried pieces in a pan, overlapping like shingles, then spoon over some of my fav jarred pasta sauce,, top with some shredded cheese, and put in the over till melted and little brown spots start to appear on the cheese..
  • Nancy S. 3 years ago
    i enjoy making different things with eggplant. I did not know not to refridgerate.
  • Frances N. 3 years ago
    I like eggplant, I was not aware of how putting it in the refrigerator changed it's flavor, thanks
  • Sandra W. 3 years ago
    I eat eggplant at restaurants.
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