Eggplant questions - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 11-17-2008, 08:15 PM
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I was looking here for some (purple) eggplant info and found quite a bit and some recipes too.

I have a question, do you all cook your eggplants mostly with the skin on or off? I find that the skin can make an eggplant dish taste a bit bitter. But, it might just be my palate.

My mom made eggplant parm with a purple eggplant, and fried the eggplant first. She kept the skin on. I didn't like the taste, and realized that when we make regular fried eggplant, fried like onion rings or zucchinis, it tastes great. But, she takes the skin off.

Just wondering if any of you have the same problem with eggplant skin or should I always remove it.

Also, are there other eggplants that you prefer over the purple ones that are so popular in America? And can u prepare these other eggplants in the same fashion as you can the purple ones? I hear that the purple ones are really not a good quality and in some countries they're used as animal feed only. LOL! Really. Do different eggplants taste mostly the same as the purple ones?

I cannot really find anything other than a purple eggplant at my local grocers, unless maybe I might find one at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I think I can find lighter colored eggplants at Whole Foods.
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#2 Old 11-18-2008, 06:03 AM
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Personally, I like the skin . As for the bitterness, I sprinkle some salt on the eggplant and let it soak up a bit before cooking with it. My stores mostly only carry purple eggplant also but I've seen some funky looking eggplants at farmers markets over the summer. Unfortunetly I was too intimitated to pick them up and try them. I wish I did though but I had no idea what to do with them. Next time I see them around I do want to experiment though. They're so cool looking with their weird shapes.
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#3 Old 11-18-2008, 06:42 AM
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I like to grill with skin on whole eggplant or broil in oven. Then remove the skin after it is a bit charred. And When I get garlic eggplant at the Chinese restaurant the skin is always on.
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#4 Old 11-18-2008, 07:02 AM
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I find that the bitterness and quantity of seeds can vary among eggplant varieties. But they're pretty minor differences, imo. This past summer I grew a long, skinny white variety which had a very mild flavor. No bitterness at all. But then again, I don't find any type of eggplant to be so bitter that it isn't palatable. I like all types I've tried! And yes, salting the eggplant and wiping off the "sweat" cuts down on bitterness. The skin does seem to contribute a lot to the bitterness as well, and it's easy to simply remove it.

I would say that if you want the eggplant to hold shape (grilling and broiling) keep the skin on and remove after cooking, if you so desire. For me, it really depends on what I'm making with it whether I remove the skin or not.

If you have an asian/korean market, check that out for more variety. You'll find all different shapes, colors and sizes. You'll find all kinds of other crazy cool veggies there too!
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#5 Old 11-18-2008, 10:22 AM
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Yeah, it really depends on what you're going to be making with it. If you're just throwing it into a pan to sautee or cook in a casserole, I always remove the skin. If it's going to be grilled or made baba ghanoush out of, leave the skin on during the cooking process but remove afterwards.
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#6 Old 11-18-2008, 02:39 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I will try cooking with it on and taking it off afterwards. Also, if I could in casseroles or in eggplant parm, I'll remove it.
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#7 Old 11-18-2008, 04:04 PM
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I notice that the skin is fine when eggplant is in season (summer), but it can be bitter in its off seasons. I usually only eat it in the summer, but I always leave the skins on--I usually grill or roast it though. My Mom has breaded and fried it, and will leave the skins on then too. Generally speaking, I usually eat the skin on something as long as it is edible since so many of the vitamins and more fiber comes from the skin.
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