An eggplant is a large egg-shaped fruit. A medium-size eggplant weighs approximately 1 ½ pounds. Eggplants grow in a variety of colors: purple, white, brown, yellow and striped. Purple eggplant is common in the United States. Eggplants are available year-round and plentiful in August and September. They can be served fried, sauteed, baked, stuffed and marinated.
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Choose an eggplant that is firm and smooth skinned without blemishes. A soft, overripe eggplant will have a bitter flavor. When you clean an eggplant for your recipe, you will want one that has a good flavor.
Rinse the eggplant in cool water, washing away whatever may be on its surface.
Cut off the stem right before cooking, unless the recipe calls for leaving the stem intact.
Peel the eggplant, if the recipe calls for peeled eggplant. Eggplant can be prepared with or without the skin. If you peel the eggplant, cook immediately as it will quickly brown when exposed to air.