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Eggplant belongs to the same family as tomatoes and sweet peppers. This vegetable has a distinctive smoky flavor when baked, however it can also be fried and is an important ingredient of many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. Eggplants are at their best between August and October, however you should check the vegetable to make sure it hasn't spoiled before you buy. There are several easy things you can do, even while you're still at the grocery store.
Check that the skin is shiny and unblemished. Scars and bruises can indicate the flesh is damaged.
Ensure the color is bright, whether it's purple, green or white. Discoloration can mean the flesh is rotting.
Press the skin of the eggplant; it should be firm but spring back, meaning it is ripe. If an indent remains then it isn't ripe.
Look at the stem on either side of the vegetable, they should both be bright green.
Cut into the eggplant with a knife. If the flesh appears discolored, brown, or smells off, discard it.
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