Summer time brings an abundance of great fruits and vegetables.  One of my favorite vegetables to eat in summer and really all year round is eggplant.  Eggplant is really a versatile vegetable.  It is great in dishes where it is the main ingredient and enough to bring flavor to other dishes where it is an accompanying flavor.  Some of my favorite dishes include eggplant.  It’s often my go to meal for a meatless monday and you will always find at least a hint of eggplant on my holiday table.  

I think eggplant is often misunderstood …. often times people think they don’t like eggplant because it can be bitter or have too many seeds.  If you fall into this category I’m here to tell you that in most cases your dislike for eggplant comes from eating/picking the wrong one.  It probably wasn’t until I was in my late teens and early twenties that I began to love eggplant and really appreciate it’s unique flavor.  And so I decided a to share some simple yet effective tips on picking the perfect eggplant …. 

Eggplant in a basket

HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT EGGPLANT: 

In the past if you purchased eggplant that was bitter, mushy and full of seeds then chances are you got an older eggplant.  If you are planning to cook with eggplant then you are best getting young, small baby eggplant.     

  • Besides being smaller in size, your eggplant should also have some of these characteristics when you pick them:
    1. smooth and glossy skin with no cracks 
    2. firm to the touch. 
    3. feel heavy 
  • Older/larger eggplant shouldn’t be discarded, however. These eggplant are perfect for drying out in the sun and then preserving in oil inside your fridge (NOTE: your life is not complete until you have tried this – I will try and get a quantifiable recipe for this before the season is up).

Although we can eat eggplant all year round, they are in season during the months of:

  • July;August;September;October

 

Now that you have some tips on picking the perfect eggplant, here are some of my favorite recipes that include eggplant:

Stuffed Baby Eggplant

Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant Parmatini

Eggplant Lentil Parmesan

Eggplant Chili Fries

Sesame-Honey Eggplant 

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to give this summer favorite a new try …. Happy cooking and let me know if you’ve picked the perfect eggplant and what you made! 

Don’t forget to #cheftini on Instagram if you make any of the recipes shared here on the blog!