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Eggplant 101

May 15, 2009

eggplantWe’ve been talking about Florida eggplant this week on our facebook page (go join!), and it is getting a lot of mixed responses. I personally love eggplant, but I have known people that wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. I’ve wondered how people could hate a food so much (especially since I love it). I’ve come to the conclusion that people either A) Have some weird hang up on the way it looks and its texture or B) Ate some that had not been cooked properly. Not that eggplant is hard to cook, but some methods definitely produce a better taste than others. If you’re one of those anti-eggplant people, I challenge you to try it again. Here’s some tips for cooking as well as recipes that will (hopefully) convert you!

Tips and information

  • When shopping, look for shiny, smooth skin. It should feel firm to the touch. Skip the eggplants that have bruises, soft spots and indentations.
  • 1 medium (1 lb) eggplant is equal to about 3 to 4 cups chopped
  • You can salt large eggplants to remove the bitter juices before cooking. This isn’t necessary, though. To do it – Slice into rounds, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes in a colander. Wipe off the salt or rinse with water and dry with paper towels (rinsing with water may make the eggplant absorb the water, just warning you). Salting also reduces the amount of oil that eggplant will absorb when cooking.
  • Make sure your eggplant is always cooked thoroughly or the taste will be off. Eggplant should be soft when it is fully cooked.
  • Eggplant skin is edible. It’s up to you if you want to peel it (I prefer mine peeled).  Just be sure to cook it first.
  • Once cut, the flesh starts to brown (like apples do). A little bit of lemon juice or a saltwater bath will keep it from turning.

Cooking

While you can cook eggplant various ways, these are some of the best (in my opinion) ways to enjoy Florida eggplant:

  • Frying: Fry rounds in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes per side or until golden brown and tender. Use just enough oil since eggplant will absorb it.
  • Grilling or broiling: Cut into rounds or slice lengthwise and brush both sides with a little bit of olive oil. Grill or broil using medium heat. Turn as each side browns.
  • Oven roasting: Cut the stem off the eggplant. Pierce the skin in several places with a fork or cut slits (into the whole eggplant). Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and place eggplant in dish. Roast in 350 degree over for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender. Peel the skin from the eggplant then chop or puree. Try this: Use the slit method and stuff each with a little bit of garlic before cooking.
  • Stir frying: Cube eggplant, heat oil and stir continuously while the eggplant cooks. Cook until eggplant is a rich golden brown and serve. Again, only use as much oil as you need – don’t go overboard.

Recipes

Here’s some ideas and recipes for eggplant dishes:

I could go on for a while with the recipes  and suggestions, but I think you get the point. Let me know what you try and (more importantly) if you convert from a hater to a lover!

the yummy picture is from flickr

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2009 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the ideas, I love eggplant!

    • May 15, 2009 9:34 pm

      No problem! Let me know if you make any good eggplant recipes soon. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  2. Chris permalink
    May 19, 2009 8:24 am

    My Grandmother used to cut them into one inch cubes and fry them. She called them fried ice cubes. These came out lighter than the thin cut fried slices. Still my favorite way to eat eggplant.

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