• eggplant : To salt or Not to salt? shopping list
  • eggplant (Aubergine) shopping list
  • Talk about guilt. How many times have we all salted eggplant and let it rest for half an hour or more just because the recipe said so? shopping list
  • It turns out that sometimes salting is necessary, sometimes not. shopping list
  • A common misconception persists that salting is necessary to remove bitter juices. A fresh eggplant, while it may taste bitter raw, will never be bitter when cooked. An older eggplant will be bitter cooked, but salting will not help. Thus salting to remove bitter juices is either unnecessary or futile. shopping list
  • salting is useful to remove water. Thus salting is used when you want slices to retain their shape, as in eggplant parmigiana. But if it is to be mashed anyway, chances are that salting is not the best approach. shopping list
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  • Eggplant is a fundamental ingredient in such national dishes as the French "ratatouille", the Greek "moussaka", or the Turkish "imam bayeldi", and have long been used in culinary dishes in the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Middle East. In choosing one, pick those that have tight, shiny, skins that are free of wrinkles, bruises or spongy spots. If it sounds hollow when tapped, pass it up as it will be dry. Pick one that is heavy for its size. By "sweating" the eggplant, bitterness is reduced, as well as the need for more oil in cooking. This is accomplished by cutting the eggplant into strips, cubes, or slices (skin and all), then sprinkling with a little salt and allowing to stand in a collander for at least thirty minutes. Rinse with water and pat dry. eggplants are also sensitive to the type of knife used for cutting. Carbon knives can cause a bitter aftertaste and leave rust marks on the flesh, so stainless steel is the best choice. shopping list
  • The eggplant is notorious for its ability to absorb oil. Even with salting and sweating, it will still absorb huge quantities of oil. A fresh eggplant's cells are full of air that escapes when it is heated. If it is cooked with oil, the empty cells soak it up. Eventually the cell walls collapse and the oil leaks out, which explains why parmigiana often seems to be served in a pool of oil. eggplants absorb more oil than any other vegetable. In one experiment, a deep fried eggplant absorbed four times more fat than french fried potatoes. Therefore, it is best to avoid deep-frying and sautéeing; but rather bake, roast, grill, broil, steam, or braise this vegetable. Most eggplant dishes taste better the next day. They can be enjoyed hot the first day and then either cold or at room temperature the next. Unripe fruits may contain relatively large amounts of the toxin solanine. This only partially disappears after a fairly long cooking time. shopping list
  • In general, the lighter the colour of the eggplant, the milder the flavour. Those that have been kept in storage taste more bitter than freshly picked ones. Even small thin-skinned varieties can taste bitter and unappealing, if not used fresh. The bland flavour of the vegetable makes it ideal for vegetarian dishes and served with such stronger flavoured vegetables as tomatoes and peppers. It is the principal ingredient in parmigiana. eggplants are a good source of folate and potassium but otherwise low in vitamins and minerals. It takes one cup of cooked eggplant to equal the potassium found in half a banana; and, to many a child, the banana is a preferred choice. shopping list
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  • eggplants are found in many colors, shapes, and sizes. It takes a long, hot growing season until an eggplant reaches its prime. In North America, the kind most frequently seen is plump and oblong and has a glossy, deep-purple skin. shopping list
  • Choose eggplants that are shiny and firm. At this stage, any seeds found inside are still small, so the flesh will not have accumulated the bitter compounds found in eggplants that have become overripe and puckery. If you are worried that the eggplant might be bitter, slice or cube it, then salt it liberally and allow it to drain for an hour or so before cooking. Putting salt on the eggplant triggers osmosis, which draws out excess moisture and the bitterness along with it. Remove any excess salt by wrapping the eggplant in a kitchen towel and pressing on the slices or cubes, which removes even more water. Pressing the eggplant also collapses some of the eggplant’s air cells, so it absorbs less oil if it’s sautéed. shopping list
  • When heated, eggplant tissues generally collapse quickly due to their high moisture content. The pectin rapidly changes form during cooking as well, and the cells are no longer held tightly together. shopping list
  • When eggplant slices are fried, their spongy texture absorbs a surprising amount of oil. As air pockets collapse, some of the oil is released. The oil still left in the eggplant tissues contributes to the soft, buttery texture that’s so appealing. oil also carries the essence of added herbs and spices, so that eggplant dishes can become rich with the aromas and heady flavors of onions, peppers, anchovies, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. shopping list
  • If you’re cutting down on oil, remember that roasted, baked, or grilled eggplant is also delicious. shopping list
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  • 1 average-sized eggplant will serve 3 people. shopping list
  • 1 medium eggplant = 1 pound shopping list
  • One pound of eggplant = 3 to 4 cups chopped eggplant shopping list

How to make it

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  • sitbynellie 12 years ago
    Thanks for this info, I have never been able to get (what we call aubergine) right when trying to cook it.
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  • rosemaryblue 13 years ago
    We love love eggplant! I grew up eating eggplant, and my mother always salted it and soaked it in milk. I do the same. She said it was in the Nightshade family. Here is a link from the New York Times that gives some information. Sorry, the link is long. :)


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  • thegoldminer 13 years ago
    The post is here because I asked greekgirrl a question. Thanks to her! JJ
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  • silverqueen 13 years ago
    HI JJ,

    Thanks for all of the info on the eggplants it is terrific!!!!!!!!!

    Have a great one!!!

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  • turlak 13 years ago
    Do you know when you are supposed to pick it out of the garden? I thought I was growing regular eggplant, but I think it may be Japanese eggplant because it seems it has stopped growing and it doesn't look like the big ones you see in the market. Thanks for all the eggplant info!
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  • greekgirrrl 13 years ago
    Thanks for that info!!
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