What Does Eggplant Taste Like? How To Cook and Prepare Eggplant
Many people wonder ‘What does eggplant taste like?’ as the name ‘Eggplant’ might mislead some people to believe that it is something related to eggs. But this is not the case; eggplant is a vegetable that is consumed in various ways by different people. There are multiple ways to cook eggplants by adding different spices, vegetables, or any other fruits.
In this article, we will explore everything about eggplants, from their taste to their benefits. So what are we waiting for, let’s dive in.
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- What Is Eggplant?
- What Is Eggplant Used For?
- What Does Eggplant Taste Like?
- What Are The Benefits of Eggplant?
- How To Choose A Perfect Eggplant?
- How To Store Eggplant?
- How To Cook and Prepare Eggplant?
What Is Eggplant?
People who have never seen or heard about eggplants, the name can be quite misleading. The first question that comes to mind is “what does eggplant taste like?” To clear some airs, eggplants have nothing to do with eggs. Eggplants are oval-shaped vegetables with dark purple skin.
Eggplant has white flesh and their seeds have a bitter taste. Eggplant does not provide enough nutrients, just a few to name, such as manganese, proteins, and vitamins. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid eating eggplant.
Eggplants are extremely popular in many cuisines, such as French or Italian. Without adding eggplants, the taste of French ratatouilles won’t be the same. Apart from this particular dish, eggplant can be combined with many vegetables and fruits. The most common mixture includes eggplants with cheese and eggplants with zucchini.
What Is Eggplant Used For?
Eggplant is a versatile and diverse vegetable. It is being consumed for many years in multiple ways around the world. Harvesting eggplants at the right time ensures the best taste and flavor.
The origin of eggplant is from India and also been grown in China around 500 BC. It was consumed in the Middle East and Asia for years. Later on, the Persians and the Arabs took it to Africa during the Middle age period. Now, everyone is aware of eggplants and use them in various dishes.
It is advisable to harvest all types of fruit by cutting them instead of twisting. Twisting and plucking the fruit damages the plants. Once eggplants are harvested, they will be covered in perforated plastic and kept in the refrigerator. Eggplants can be cubed or sliced, then steamed or blanched, and kept to freeze for maximum for eight months to use it later.
Eggplant contains a few chemicals, which can lead to digestive problems in your body if you consume them raw. There are multiple ways to consume them, such as stuffed, grilled, roasted, and they are also used in curries, served in any stews and soups, and many other ways. Eggplants consist of many nutrients and they are also low in calorie count. They are rich in fiber and offer a few extra nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium.
Use eggplants as:
- Steamed Dish
- Grilled Meal
- Baked Dish
- Spreads and Dips
This section has briefly explained on how to use eggplants in various ways. You can try any method according to the availability of resources at your home.
What Does Eggplant Taste Like?
The taste of eggplants is dependent on the method of cooking. If you don’t cook eggplants in a proper way, they might taste bitter. It is advisable to combine eggplants with various other vegetables and find out how they taste like.
Let’s explore the different tastes of eggplants:
1. Raw eggplants
Eating raw eggplants is never recommended to anyone. The skin tastes bitter as well as the seeds; therefore, avoid eating it in a raw state.
If you wash your eggplants properly with water, you can consume it raw. Do not eat more than 35 raw eggplants as they will lead to harmful effects.
2. Steamed eggplants
You can try eating eggplants by steaming them. A quick method to steam them is by using a microwave. Once you steam the eggplants, they will become soft and have a watery texture. The bitter flavor will be replaced by a meaty flavor.
If you add a few spices and seasoning while steaming the eggplant, it will increase the flavor and make it more interesting to eat. A good example is the Chinese style steamed eggplants. Eggplants are soaked in soy sauce marinade and put to steam to get a good texture.
3. Boiled eggplants
It is not advisable to boil eggplants because they already have a lot of water content. If you boil them, they will become tasteless. If you still want to try boiling eggplants, try to add some additional flavors to make it delicious.
4. Grilled eggplants
This is one of the best ways to enjoy eggplants. Grilling eggplants brings all of its flavors to life and increases its taste. The char grilled eggplants prove to be a mouth-watering side dish for every BBQ party as they have a smoky and sweet flavor. You can compare this taste with grilled squash. If you want to try a different way to eat eggplants, grilling them is the best choice.
5. Sautéed or fried eggplants
If you like pan-fried dishes, then fried eggplants are a good choice for you. Frying the eggplants will remove the bitterness from the skin and flesh and you will get a meaty and creamy texture.
The only issue while frying eggplants is the loss of firm texture. To maintain the texture and add a crunchy feeling, try to make tempura eggplants.
6. Stewed eggplants
Stewing eggplants is another way to eat them. Stewing them will result in great taste. You can stew eggplants along with tomato, feta, onion, cheese, and other spices to make it a delicious dish.
Stewed eggplants have a unique flavor. Many people compare the taste of stewed eggplants to rice cakes. However, a few categories of people fail to explain the taste of stewed eggplants. When eggplants are stewed with different ingredients, they mix with them and result in a combined flavor.
What Are The Benefits of Eggplant?
Eggplants are considered as vegetables but a few people believe them to be fruits as well. Whatever be the case, there are multiple benefits of eggplants.
Eggplants are nutrient-rich food, which means that they contain an adequate amount of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
82 grams of raw eggplant are packed with the following nutrients:
- Carbs: Five grams
- Calories: Twenty
- Protein: One Gram
- Fiber: Three Grams
- Potassium: 5 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Folate: 5 percent of the Reference Daily Intake(RDI)
- Vitamin K: 4 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Other nutrients present in eggplant are magnesium, copper, and niacin.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Along with a good quantity of nutrients, eggplants are rich in antioxidants as well. Antioxidants protect the body from any damage caused by a few harmful particles called ‘free radicals’. According to various studies, it is proved that antioxidants prevent various types of chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart diseases.
To be precise, an anthocyanin that is present in eggplants known as nasunin is very beneficial. Multiple studies have claimed that they protect cells from getting damaged by free radicals.
3. Diminishes the danger of heart diseases
Due to the presence of antioxidants, studies show that eggplants can help in reducing the danger of heart diseases. In one of the studies, rabbits that had high cholesterol were provided with 10 ml of eggplant juice for 14 days. The study showed that their levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides have reduced.
According to some research, animals that were fed with grilled or raw eggplant for thirty days had an improvement in heart function and reduced heart attack chances.
It is an important point to note that this research is limited to animals. Further research will be needed to assess the results of the effect of eggplants on humans.
4. Encourage the control of blood sugar levels
Adding eggplants into your meal might assist in maintaining the blood sugar levels. The reason is, eggplants are rich in fiber that goes through digestive system together.
Fiber can help in lowering in the blood sugar by absorbing sugar in the body as well as slowing down the rate of digestion rate.
According to a few research, polyphenols found in eggplant can possibly lower the sugar absorption and enhance the insulin secretion. Both of these can assist in lowering blood sugar levels. A test-tube study analyzed the polyphenol found in eggplant. The results showed that polyphenols have the ability to lower the levels of certain enzymes, which persuade sugar absorption.
It is recommended to include eggplants in the diet to control diabetes. The diet should be rich in fiber in vegetables and whole grains.
5. Assist in weight loss
As we already mentioned above, eggplants are rich in fiber and low-calorie count. Therefore, they are an amazing addition in the weight loss process. 82 grams of a raw eggplant has 20 calories and 3 gram fiber.
Fiber passes via the digestive tract little by little. Along with this quality, they provide fullness and satisfaction, reducing the calorie intake.
6. Fights cancer cells
Eggplants have some substances that display some potential to fight the cancer cells. A few animal studies showed that SRGs can be responsible for the death of the cancer cells. They can also lower the chances of recurrence of some kinds of cancer.
The research on this particular topic is quite limited. SRGs are effective in helping in skin cancer if applied on the skin directly. Other studies have showed that consuming eggplants may guard against some kinds of cancer.
However, an extensive research is required to see how different compounds found in the eggplants affect cancer cells in human body.
How To Choose A Perfect Eggplant?
When the season of eggplants comes in full force, people buy large quantities of it. This vegetable or fruit is so versatile, which can be cooked in various ways. You can grill, fry, roast, and add many other flavors to it. However, purchasing a good and fresh eggplant is quite a task. Therefore, we have five tips for you to keep in mind while buying eggplant.
1. The eggplant skin is shiny and smooth
Dull skin is an indication that the eggplant is not fresh. The wrinkled skin of eggplant means that these eggplants were harvested long before and stored badly. Wrinkled eggplants are bitter; they grow bitter as they age. Therefore, choose eggplants that are shiny, vivid, and taut. The shiny skin is an indication they are recently harvested.
2. Heavy than their size
Eggplants should be heavy than they look. Even if their size is small, eggplants should feel weighty. If they feel heavy, it is an indication that these eggplants are fresh. Whenever you go to buy eggplants, pick them up and check for their heaviness.
Fresh eggplants are usually soft and shiny. Just press your finger against the eggplant and check for its firmness. If they are too firm, it means they are old and ripe. Avoid buying these eggplants.
4. Green Stem
The stem of eggplants is equally important as the skin to check. The stem should be entirely green. If it’s brown or dried out, it means the eggplants are not fresh. A green stem is a sign of the recent harvest of eggplants.
5. Select small size or medium size eggplants
The bitterness in eggplants is a very common thing. However, eggplants are bred in such a way to avoid bitterness. The eggplants that are large have more seeds, which is why they taste bitter. It is important to make sure that you buy small or medium-sized eggplants to get rid of the bitter taste.
These five tips should be kept in mind while purchasing eggplants. If you’re a beginner in buying vegetables, then these tips are especially for you. However, if you have been buying eggplants for a long time and still not able to pick the right one, then remember these points from now on. Fresh eggplants will help you to make delicious food.
How To Store Eggplant?
Eggplants do not stay fresh for a longer period. Without refrigerating eggplants, they can be stored in a dry and cool place for about 2 days. If you intend to not eat eggplants for 2 days, then it is good to refrigerate them. If you want to refrigerate properly, cover eggplants in a paper towel and keep it in perforated plastic or a reusable container. This will keep your eggplants in good condition for about 6-7 days. You can also steam or blanch eggplants and then freeze for up to 6 months.
As mentioned earlier, choose fresh eggplants by remembering the points that are mentioned in the article. Make sure eggplants do not have any bruises or scars as they are a sign that tells us about the flesh being decayed.
Eggplants are generally hard, but they are easily perishable. Therefore, their storage should be taken care of. Eggplants are prone to both cold and heat, the ideal temperature for their storage is 10 degrees Celsius. Do not keep the eggplants for storing if you have cut it before. Cutting the eggplants will expose their flesh and spoil the skin as well.
You have to keep the eggplants in a mesh bag without washing or cutting them. After placing them properly, store them in the crisper for some days. If the crisper is too big, then don’t store eggplants forcefully. This will lead to the decay of eggplants and spoil their skin. Other than this, store the eggplants in one of the shelves of the refrigerator.
If you buy eggplants, which are already covered in a plastic bag, remove the cover immediately. As this will not allow the eggplants to breathe and gradually decrease the freshness.
How To Cook and Prepare Eggplant?
You can eat the whole eggplant but due to its skin being bitter in taste, people usually peel it off. Wash the eggplant with water and wipe off the water using a paper towel. Cut the green stem from all the eggplants.
Eggplants tend to soak liquids easily. To diminish the moisture that the eggplants will absorb during cooking, an easy and common method is ‘salting.’ To begin this process, cut them into pieces, wash by water, place the cut pieces on paper towels and rub them with salt. Leave it for about half an hour to let the salt sit. After half an hour, wipe away the salt and gently squeeze the pieces to remove the additional moisture. Make sure that you don’t rinse them with water after applying salt, just wipe them with the use of a paper towel. Now, your eggplants are good to cook.
While preparing eggplants, if you wish to keep a low-calorie count, cook them in wine, broth, or any vegetable juice. Avoid using any type of butter or oil. As we all know, the flesh of the eggplant loses its color quickly, so you need to utilize it immediately after cutting it. Sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice to prevent the eggplant from turning into brown color. You can also prevent the loss of color by using a stainless steel knife instead of carbon blades.
Moreover, avoid cooking eggplants in an aluminum pan as it will result in their blackening. If you plan to cook in any type of oil, coat the slices of eggplants with a mixture of egg and flour or breadcrumbs. This will prevent them from absorbing more oil.
If you purchase large eggplants, soak them in water for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, peel the skin as it contains bitterness. Nowadays, many new varieties have nice flavor without the bitter taste. Harvesting eggplants at the right time helps prevent a bitter taste.
Some suggestions to prepare eggplants
Do not cut eggplants by a carbon steel knife as it will blacken the eggplants. A stainless steel will be a good option to cut them properly. Eggplants can be consumed with the skin as well without it. However, if you do not wish to eat eggplants with skin, you can remove them. Peel the skin before you cut the eggplants into pieces. In case, you’re baking the eggplants, take out the flesh after baking.
You can increase the taste of eggplants by adding a few extra vegetables or different spices to make it more delicious. For instance, stuffed mini Japanese eggplants are prepared with a combination of pine nuts, roasted peppers, and feta cheese. You can also experiment with different types of vegetables to suit your taste.
We hope that you got the answer to ‘What does eggplant taste like?’ if you ever thought that eggplant is not tasty, we believe you don’t think that way anymore. Eggplants are versatile and available throughout the year. There are various ways to cook them and enjoy the mesmerizing taste.
Create your recipe and share it with us. If you have any other queries or questions, feel free to drop it in the comment section.