Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Equipment | Techniques | Cookbook Disambiguation Pages | Ingredients | Vegetables

Eggplant (also known as aubergine or garden egg)[1][2] is a vegetable in the nightshade family.[3]



The eggplant is shiny and bulbous and comes in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Varieties common in the West are large, with a pear or teardrop shape and a deep purple color.[3][4] Common East Asian varieties are often elongated, with pale purple skin,[3] while South and Southeast Asian ones are often spherical or ovoid. There are even tiny, marble-sized green Asian eggplants,[3] as well as bright white varieties.[1]

Eggplant flesh

The flesh is off-white and somewhat spongy, with a mild if slightly bitter flavor.[1][3][4][5] After cooking, it becomes very soft.[5] The smaller varieties are said to be less bitter and to need less preparation.[2]


Seasonality tables | Autumn | Winter | Spring | Summer | All year
Eggplant Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Northern hemisphere                        
Southern hemisphere                        

In tropical climates, eggplants are grown all year round, with a peak season in the late summer and fall.[2] In colder regions, they can only be grown in greenhouses or imported.

Selection and storage


When selecting eggplants, look for those that are firm and dense-seeming, with taut shiny skin.[2][3][5] If a colored variety, the color should be deep.[3] Eggplants can be stored in the fridge for a few days,[2] but they ultimately don't keep for that long.[5]



Eggplant can be a very bitter vegetable, requiring special preparation to minimise this bitterness. Some modern varieties of eggplant are bred to be free from bitterness, and can be cooked without the preparatory methods. Experimentation may be needed to balance any bitterness with sweeter flavours within the same dish or meal; this is why eggplants and tomatoes work so well together.

The usual preparation method for reducing the bitter taste of eggplant involves slicing, washing and then rubbing the vegetable with salt.[4] The salt pulls out the bitter juices via osmosis, so when preparing it is often best to put the slices of eggplant on a rack over a sink or on paper towels. Wash the salt off after at least thirty minutes,[4] dry thoroughly, and cook the eggplant as desired; keep in mind that often a small amount of salt remains in the flesh, so the amount of salt added during cooking may need to be less than you might think. When the eggplant has been "purged" in this manner, the flesh becomes much more absorbent and flexible, like a sponge, and is excellent at absorbing other liquids and flavors. Be aware that the eggplant can absorb a good deal of oil.[2]

Eggplants can be peeled if the skin is particularly thick and tough.[2][3] Note that the flesh will discolor after exposure to air.[2][3]

Once prepared, eggplant may be stuffed, grilled, fried, baked, pickled, or stir-fried.[1][4] Its versatility leads to eggplant dishes in many different cuisines, from Japan to India to Italy.[1] It is an essential ingredient in several savoury dishes, most notably the Greek moussaka.[1] It is frequently stuffed in Near Eastern cuisine.[1]




  1. a b c d e f g Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  2. a b c d e f g h Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2012-04-11). The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-18603-3.
  3. a b c d e f g h i Gisslen, Wayne (2015-03-12). Essentials of Professional Cooking, 2nd Edition. Wiley Global Education. ISBN 978-1-119-03072-0.
  4. a b c d e Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  5. a b c d Foster, Kelli. "Everything You Need to Know About Eggplant".