How to select, store, and prepare eggplants
Eggplant can be counted as one of the most versatile items in the produce department. It’s just as delicious in curries as it is in pasta dishes. Baba ganoush, a dip made from eggplants, is always a crowd favorite. Eggplant can be baked, fried, roasted, grilled, or steamed. There’s really no wrong way to prepare it!
There are many varieties of eggplants. These tips on selecting, and storing are applicable to all varieties.
How to Select Eggplant
Remember the 2 S’s when selecting eggplants at the grocery store: smooth and shiny. The skin of an eggplant should be free of wrinkles and blemishes and have a nice glow. Wrinkles indicate that the eggplant is past its prime. So does squishiness, so choose eggplants that are on the firmer side. This includes the stem. The stem should be firm, not mushy. Like most other produce, you want to select eggplants that are heavy for their size. Beware of large eggplants. They tend to be bitter and contain large seeds, so select ones of medium or small size.
How To Store Eggplant
Eggplants do not have a generous shelf-life, so it’s best to use them within a few days of bringing them home. Eggplants are temperature sensitive. They do best in a cool, dry place away from sunlight (like a pantry). They don’t like temperatures under 50 degrees but if your house gets hot and humid in the summer, the fridge still might be the best place to store them. If you do choose to refrigerate your eggplants, first wrap them in a paper towel then place them in a perforated plastic bag. Store in the crisper section.
Whether you store them at room temperature or in the fridge, be sure to keep them away from high ethylene-producing produce like bananas, avocados, apples, and tomatoes. Eggplants bruise easily, so always handle with care.
Eggplants can also be frozen. If you won’t be using your eggplant for a while, this is your best storage option. Blanch, bake, or steam the eggplants and freeze. This method works best if you freeze slices or rounds of eggplants. You can also freeze cooked eggplant puree to be used later in stews, dips, and soups.
How To Serve Eggplant
From frying to grilling, eggplant can be cooked many different ways. Eggplant is delicious in stews, curries, pasta dishes, and stir-fries. Because of its meaty texture, it’s particularly popular in vegetarian dishes.
We have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to eggplant recipes. Check it out here!
Here are 3 eggplant dishes we think you’ll enjoy (click for recipes):
What is your favorite way to serve eggplant? Share your best ideas in the comments below.