How to Select, Store, Cut and Cook Eggplant

Potent, Peculiar, Pretty, Purple Plant

Try to say that three times fast! Learn all about eggplants so that when you see them in the market this summer, you’ll be able to take advantage of what they have to offer while adding a new food to your usual summer meal rotation. Let the eggplant take your summer plate and palate from ho-hum to yum-yum!

Eggplants are a peculiar-looking vegetable, but they pack a big punch for your health. They are rich in antioxidants that fight the free radicals responsible for causing cancer and speeding up the aging process. The American Cancer society prescribes eating a diet that's diverse in color to prevent this very deadly and prevalent disease.

Eggplant Salad

Photo by yomi955

Eggplant

Photo by Robyn Gallagher

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Everything You Need to Know About Eggplant

How to Choose a Good Eggplant at the Market:

The eggplant should have a dark, rich purple color with skin that is free from spots and cracks. It should feel firm to the touch and somewhat dense. Don’t buy the biggest one you can find. Choose one that’s no bigger than three or four inches around.

How to Store the Pretty Purple Plant:

Store in the refrigerator between 45 and 50 degrees. It’s best to put it in the drawer made for vegetables but you can simply put loose plastic wrap around it otherwise. Once you refrigerate it, cook or freeze it within one week.

How to Cut Eggplant:

Are you clueless about how to cut an eggplant? To sautee, pan-fry or broil, cut the eggplant into slices of ½ to one whole inch. You’ll want to cut it thicker for pan-frying and thinner for broiling or sautéing. If the dish requires boiling, cut the eggplant into one inch cubes and boil no more than five minutes.

Grilled Eggplant

How to Cook Eggplant:

You can eat eggplant raw, but depending on what kind you get, it may taste bitter. If you like it uncooked, buy the shorter, fatter ones and eat the part nearest the skin. Most people cook eggplant in one of the following ways:

1. Broiled with melted butter for three to four minutes or until tender

2. Pan-Fried and dipped in egg and seasoned crumbs, similar to fried green tomatoes.

3. Boiled up to five minutes in just enough water to cover.

Photo on right by woodleywonderworks

More Info on Eggplant:

Try this recipe for Grilled Eggplant Burgers from the Healthy Hag

Learn more about the eggplant at OurOhio.org