The name eggplant is used mainly in the USA and New Zealand while in South Asian and South African countries, this food item is commonly referred to as brinjal.
Many people have the misconception that the eggplant is a vegetable when it is, in fact, a fruit. Purple in color and very spongy in texture, this magical fruit is planted worldwide and comes with a lot of health benefits.
It is used in many recipes, with people of different origins cooking it in a variety of ways.
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On its own, eggplant has a very bland taste and hence, how it tastes depends entirely on the ingredients that it is cooked with.
If not handled properly, it can be very bitter in taste. Many people believe that it tastes like zucchini, so if we had to name one food item it tastes the closest to, we’d have to say zucchini.
Due to its absorbent quality, eggplant tastes different in each recipe it is cooked with.
What does an eggplant look like?
An eggplant comprises of the following:
- SKIN: The eggplant is known for its dark purple, thin skin, which is a little bitter in taste but rich in antioxidants. Most recipes do use the skin of the eggplant but in case of a larger eggplant, the skin can be tough and bitter and thus, is better off removed and discarded. Young, small eggplants have beautiful skin that is ideal for braising or skillet frying.
- FLESH: The flesh of the eggplant is very spongy; it can easily absorb any flavor and oil. It can be given any flavor you like and cooked with a variety of other vegetables. Ideally, the flesh should be creamy and pale, without any brown portions. If you find any brown spots, make sure to remove them before cooking the eggplant, to avoid an unpleasant bitter taste.
- SEEDS: The eggplant has seeds that are edible. When you purchase an eggplant that is very fresh, the seeds are not visible nor are they bitter in taste. On the other hand, eggplants that are mature have visible seeds that are brown in color and quite bitter in taste — these must be removed while cooking otherwise they will spoil the taste.