Produce Spotlight on Eggplant
Eggplant is an egg-shaped dark purple vegetable. The inside is white with small seeds. Eggplants, a good source of dietary fiber, contain 92% water.
Shopping for Eggplant
Choose eggplants that are shiny, smooth, firm, and heavy for their size. Avoid cracked, bruised, or shriveled eggplants. Smaller, slender eggplants usually have smaller seeds and are more tender than larger ones. Eggplant is available year-round, but is grown in Massachusetts from July to October.
Globe – large, dense, and dark purple with smooth, shiny skin; best for slicing and grilling.
Italian – large, dark purple, teardrop shape; smaller than globe eggplant and slightly sweeter.
Japanese – long and thin in different shades of purple; great for dicing for stir-fries.
Storage and Preparation
- Eggplant will go bad quickly if left at room temperature. After purchasing, refrigerate right away and use within 7 days.
- Before use, wash eggplant under cool water, pat dry, and trim off the ends.
- Eggplant skin can be eaten; some prefer to peel the skin before cooking.
- To release water, cut eggplant into thick rings and sprinkle with salt; place between paper towels and press between two plates with a heavy object on top for 1 to 2 hours before cooking.
- To freeze eggplant, wash thoroughly and cut into circles. Blanch in boiling water for 4 minutes, cool quickly in ice water, and drain. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag or container and freeze. Use within 8 months.
- Rub eggplant slices with oil, salt, and pepper and grill or broil on both sides. Serve as a side dish or use in sandwiches.
- Add roasted eggplant to stir-fries, pasta, or curries.
- For an easy eggplant parmesan, place sliced eggplant in a baking dish with spaghetti sauce and top with cheese. Cover and bake at 350º F for 45 minutes.
1 large eggplant unpeeled =
1¼ pounds =
6 cups cubed
Using Locally Grown Produce
For recipes featuring fruits and vegetables, visit our website https://extension.umass.edu/nutrition/recipes/. To locate places to buy local produce, https://visit www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-grownand-fresher.