What does eggplant taste like?? Let's see some basic facts about eggplants like shape, size, color, texture, taste, cooking techniques, and some healthy eggplant recipes.
Eggplant is a spongy vegetable known in many names as aubergine, brinjal, etc. Here we will see what does eggplant taste like in real and how to cook eggplant to make it delicious.
This is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. However, these are not so popular vegetables in many parts of the world because of their bland taste. This is not a much-loved food though. It has many other names such as aubergine, brinjals, and many more.
Eggplant - Facts
Before learning what does an eggplant taste like, let's see a few common and basic facts about eggplant.
Though eggplant is considered a vegetable, this is actually a seeded fruit of the plant just like tomatoes. Eggplants belong to the nightshade family and thrive in hot climate places or in summer. It belongs to the same family (nightshade family) of tomatoes, zucchini, okra.
It grows in a variety of sizes and colors. The size differs from small globe-sized to large oblong or oval-shaped ones. They also resemble that of a droplet with a crown on top. The large eggplants can be up to 12 - 14 inches long.
The color of the eggplant varies from white to light purple to dark purple and some are light green colored also. Some eggplants have striped multicolored with white, light purple, or dark purple. The body is spongy and it's almost 90% watery.
It has its origin in Asian countries for thousands of years back. This is much popular in Indian, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, and Greek cuisines.
How to pick the best eggplants?
When buying eggplants in season make sure they are firm, without soft spots. Checking how heavy they feel is a good indicator of freshness in fact.
If they feel too light for their weight, they might not be the good ones to choose. Also, look for firm and shiny skin without any wrinkles on it.
How to store the eggplants?
Eggplants are not storage-friendly vegetables, so it is important to store them properly. Here's how they should be kept.
The storage conditions of eggplants depend on their size and degree of ripeness. The best storage temperature is around 52 degrees Fahrenheit or 11 degrees Celsius.
The storage life of the raw eggplant can be extended to seven days if it is kept dry, cool, and away from strong odors. It should remain fresh for about a week when refrigerated in a storage container or plastic bag at low temperatures.
Never store eggplants with other fruits and vegetables, because ethylene - a ripening gas emitted by fruits will shorten their storage life of it.
What does eggplant taste like?
If I'll have to narrate the taste of an eggplant, I would say it tastes bland and flavorless when raw and uncooked. This is spongy, and smooth but seedy in texture. The spongy flesh-like pulp contains approximately 92% water. If you will take a bite of this vegetable, it's in fact without any taste just like zucchini. And no doubt both belong to the same family and probably that's the reason they have some similar features.
However, the small ones with a large number of seeds are somewhat bitter in taste. So for many, the taste of eggplant is bitter too. In fact at times, when we don't cook it uniformly, some parts remain bitter and chewy too.
To remove the bitterness, rub a little salt and keep it for some time. Then wash off with fresh water. This Salting process will help get rid of bitterness. It absorbs the flavor of the spices, sauces, & ingredients used in cooking.
However, ages ago the eggplants were much more bitter as compared to the new-age eggplants. But with technology and improved cropping technologies, the modern age eggplants are mild to no bitter in taste. And salting doesn't make any remarkable changes in it. But while we stir-fry the eggplant, salting helps remove excess moisture in it because of osmosis.
Nutrition and Health Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplant is a nutrition-dense vegetable that is filled with fiber, protein, many essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This is also a low-carb and low-calorie vegetable. Hence this is one of the most recommended vegetables in the keto diet.
This is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6 along with magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin, & niacin, etc.
This is a low-carb vegetable. If you are on a keto diet or any low-carb diet, replace the high-carb vegetables with eggplants. Combine this low-carb vegetable with high-fat foods for a complete menu of your keto diet.
Since eggplants are high in fiber and low in calories they are best known for supporting healthy weight loss (even for a non-keto diet). You can replace high-carb vegetables with these eggplants for your weight loss recipes.
In addition, eggplant is a good source of fiber. Fiber is essential for good gut health and digestive systems. Along with gut health, the fiber present absorbs cholesterol and excretes excess fat. It keeps the intestine clean. So eggplant keeps the heart healthy as well.
Eggplant contains polyphenols which reduce the enzymes that influence sugar absorption. This helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
Eggplant is also rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals and the damage caused by these free radicals. These antioxidants also help in preventing many chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
How does eggplant keep us healthy?
Eggplants help in healthy weight loss - This is high in protein and fiber. Fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps in proper bowel movement. Since this is low in carbs, extremely beneficial for any weight loss diet including the keto diet.
Helps in digestion - High fiber keeps the intestine clean and excretes excessive fat. Thus beneficial for gastrointestinal health and keeps the digestive system healthy.
Prevents anemia - Eggplants help in producing healthy red blood cells because of high iron and copper. Healthy blood cells prevent such diseases as anemia.
Keeps energetic - High iron in eggplants, increases healthy blood cells. These cells carry oxygen throughout our body and increase blood circulation. Hence blood circulation makes the body and minds more active and energetic.
Prevents Osteoporosis - High calcium, and iron helps in keeping bone strong. It prevents osteoporosis in bones.
Helps to reduce blood sugar - This vegetable has many Ayurvedic medicinal properties for diabetic patients. Polyphenols help in reducing blood sugar levels.
Keeps Heart Healthy - It keeps our heart healthy by excreting excess fat from our body. Also, the minerals like magnesium, manganese, and potassium keep our hearts healthy.
Helps in a Healthy Pregnancy - High iron and folate prevent birth defects in the fetus and also provide the daily requirement of iron.
It increases brain capability and function - The phytonutrients present in eggplant boost memory by providing more blood to the brain which stimulates neural pathways. It improves cognitive ability.
Side Effects of Eggplant
Eggplant contains cholinesterase, the anti-inflammatory substance that causes inflammation. Though it's rare, lately some people are allergic to eggplants. Especially people with high pre-existing inflammation will develop allergic reactions to this vegetable.
The symptoms include major hives and itchy skin with rashes. Even the tongue, lips, and throat get itchy and tingling just after ingesting. Some more severe reaction symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrheas', and vomiting.
These go off automatically or with mild medication. But if any serious symptom appears, one must seek medical attention immediately. I developed these allergies at a point in time and but generally, I'm not allergic to any vegetables.
(These are for information only and not any kind of medical advice. Please refer to the medical specialist for personalized information and sickness related to the vegetable.)
How to cook eggplant to taste good?
Let's start with the chopping part. When we chop and keep the loose pieces for longer, it quickly oxidizes. And it turns brownish to blackish. So immerse the cut pieces of eggplant into the water as soon as they are cut to stop discoloration.
Eggplant discolors because of a few factors, i.e. pH of water, the material used for cooking and chopping, and exposure to oxygen. High pH reacts quickly resulting in discoloration. In order to reduce the pH, add lemon or vinegar while cooking. The acidic nature helps reduce the pH level.
Also rubbing some salt on slices helps stop this oxidation and also it removes the bitterness of the eggplant and tastes better.
Eggplants are naturally spongy and have 90% water in them. So when we overcook the eggplant, it becomes mushy since this is spongy and soft fleshy in texture when raw. So for stir-fry dishes, try to avoid adding extra water as the eggplant releases its own water and cook on medium to high flame.
A combination of spices and generously added fat enhances the taste of this vegetable. The only caution you need to take is to cook this evenly and perfectly. Also while frying, and sauteing the eggplant, it tends to soak more oil (because of its spongy texture probably). Brushing it with salt prior to cooking stops excess oil absorption.
Some easy delicious tasting eggplant recipes
There are many ways you can cook eggplant to taste better. Since this has a smooth and fleshy texture, this is also used as a meat substitute for many recipes. This is also one of the best high-carb food substitutes. Hence this is best recommended for the keto diet.
There are so many ways you can cook eggplant to taste great. You can bake the eggplants, roast them in the oven or have a smoky flavor by fire-roasting them. Make it some low-carb alternative for high-carb food, eg. Make eggplant fries, eggplant pizza bites, eggplant burgers, etc. This vegetable blends well with almost all types of cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean, Lebanese, and many more.
Read my vegan eggplant recipes for more recipe ideas.
This is a simple yet delicious eggplant dish. Nicely sautéed with potatoes, and flavorful spices, this stir-fried eggplant recipe is just too good. This goes well with any flatbreads, or even with rice.
Vegan eggplant meatballs are a delicious alternative to meat. Make these as appetizers or dip in marinara sauce and serve them with your pasta. Coat the meatless meatballs with spicy buffalo sauce and serve as an appetizer at your house parties. These are super delicious. Also, it doesn't require any fancy ingredients.
Mashed eggplant is a delicious spicy preparation. These fire-roasted eggplants are cooked in flavorful spices. This is a super-simple and quick eggplant recipe that is perfect for vegetarians and vegans too. Even keto-perfect mashed eggplant (without green peas) is perfect for all. This is an Indian delicacy that's best paired with flatbreads.
This eggplant curry is vegan, gluten-free with a nutty tangy curry base. This is an Indian eggplant curry recipe. Serve this with simple steam rice or even with flatbreads. This baby eggplant curry is too yum to resist.
These stuffed baby eggplants are super simple sides. here the eggplant is partially slit and the spice blend is stuffed into it before frying. If you have the spice mix ready, it takes only 10 minutes to make these stuffed eggplants. Otherwise, it takes up to 30 minutes to make this stuffed eggplant from scratch. This is a great side dish as well.
Make this low-carb alternative if you are on the keto diet. This is a super easy and quick keto appetizer also.
Some other delicious eggplant recipes include
Also, you can add this super vegetable to any of your mixed vegetable curry or lentil soup as well. Make roasted/ grilled/ stir-fried eggplants and add them to roast eggplant perfectly. Use these roasted eggplants in your pasta, salad, buddha bowl, or in curry. You can add other spices to add flavors. Some basic eggplant recipes are:
- Baba Ghanoush - Eggplant dip
- Mutabal - Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip
- Roasted eggplants
- Grilled eggplants
- Stir-fry eggplants
- Chinese eggplant stir-fry
- Eggplant fritters
- Stuffed eggplant rollups
- Eggplant fries
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**Note - This is an informational post and not for any medical advice.
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