If you’ve only ever eaten eggplant in eggplant parmesan, the taste of eggplant might be a mystery to you. If you’ve only ever eaten it pilled with cheese and tomato sauce, how would you know? So what does that fat, purplish-black vegetable actually taste like?
Actually, a standard globe eggplant doesn’t taste like much at all, it’s fairly mild, bland, and maybe a little bitter. Occasionally you might get an eggplant that has a mild sweetness. If you’ve had a zucchini, it’s comparable to that in terms of both flavor and texture.
Eggplant does tend to be bland and mild. But thankfully, they have a somewhat spongy texture that absorbs most anything you soak it itn.
Types of Eggplant
Generally, when we think of eggplant, we imagine a plump, purple vegetable. However, there are many types of eggplants and some do have different flavors and textures. Here are some less ordinary eggplants with different characteristics.
Fairy Tale Eggplant
Fairy tale eggplants are slim and purple with white stripes. Fairy tale eggplants are sweet, tender, and somewhat creamy. They are often referred to as the best-flavored eggplant.
These eggplants look more like purple tomatoes than they do a traditional eggplant. They have a sweet and somewhat nutty flavor.
Snowy eggplant is a white eggplant that has a sweet flavor and creamy texture when cooked. It has a counterpart in the dancer eggplant, which is similar in flavor and texture, but purple in color.
African Garden Eggplant
This is another eggplant that looks more like a tomato than an eggplant, although this one is yellow in color. Its distinguishing feature is that it is incredibly bitter.
Ping Tung Eggplant
Originating in Taiwan, this eggplant is slim, long, and a deep purple color. It has a sweet flavor and a tender consistency.
When food has a fairly mild flavor, like the globe eggplants we’re used to, the texture becomes significantly more important.
Raw and cooked eggplants have different textures and consistencies.
Like most foods, cooking it will change the texture. When you put your eggplant into the oven, it will most likely have that spongy texture. However, when you take it out, your eggplant should have a different consistency.
If you take out your eggplant to find a chewy consistency, it means the eggplant is undercooked. Now, you can eat the eggplant like this, it won’t harm you. But for a better mouthfeel, put it back into the oven.
Overcooking your eggplant dish will turn it soft and mushy. Once you’ve left it in for too long there isn’t much you can do about the texture. However, the flavor should be alright.
This is the consistency you’re looking for when your eggplant is cooked. Whether you grill, roast, or fry your eggplant when cooked properly, you should be able to achieve a creamy texture.
What To Do if Your Eggplant Tastes More Bitter Than Bland
if you’re cooking with a standard globe eggplant, part of its usefulness is having a particularly neutral flavor. This causes it to be able to soak up the flavors of the items along with it. But what if your eggplant is extra bitter?
When your eggplant is a little too bitter, sprinkle it with some salt. It will draw out some of the moisture and with it, the bitterness. Feel free to wipe off the excess salt before using it.
Soaking your eggplant in milk before cooking will draw out some of the bitterness. It will also help to make your eggplant creamier by pulling some of the milk into its flesh.
Remove the Seeds
The seeds are where a lot of the bitterness in the eggplant comes from. However, depending on the eggplant this could be a job that is not worth the work.
To Sum Up
Different varieties of eggplant have different flavors and textures. The common globe eggplant that you might be used to has a fairly bland or maybe even slightly bitter flavor.
Thankfully, eggplant, like tofu, tends to suck up the flavor of what it’s cooked with. So as long as it’s prepared properly, eggplant makes a delightful meal.
However, if you do like a sweeter vegetable try out some of the less common varieties. Most of those are sweeter than the common globe eggplant.