For many people, eggplants are no stranger. They can be easily spotted at most grocery’s stores and supermarkets, but albeit their popularity, not everyone is a fan of this peculiar fruit. In fact, the taste of eggplants can be a puzzle to a lot of people because, honestly speaking, as a food eggplants do not look attractive. They do not look as mouthwatering as fruits should be, and rumor has it that eggplants have an unpleasantly bitter taste.
To do eggplants justice, and to help you learn more about this interesting fruit, we have put together fact-checked information about eggplants and what does eggplant taste like when cooked in different methods. The taste of eggplants largely depends on the way they are cooked, and if cooked properly they taste divine.
What is an eggplant?
For those who have never heard about or seen an eggplant, the name “eggplant” can be a bit misleading. In fact, eggplants have nothing to do with eggs. They belong to the species of nightshades, and they are grown for their fruits, which normally have an oval shape with glossy light or dark purple skins.
The eggplant fruit has white flesh with several soft seeds that taste a little bitter. When it comes to nutritional values, the eggplant doesn’t stand out. A raw eggplant does not provide loads of essential nutrients – only a moderate amount of vitamins, protein, and most notably manganese. However, it is still great to incorporate eggplants into your meals now and then, especially when you are a vegetarian or on a diet.
Eggplants are widely popular in various cuisines, such as Italian or French. French ratatouilles won’t taste the same without the addition of eggplants. Apart from ratatouilles, eggplants are pretty versatile and thus can be easily mixed with other fruits and vegetables. The common combination includes eggplants and zucchini, eggplants and cheese and so on.
What does eggplant taste like?
The flavor of eggplants will largely depend on the way they are cooked. And if you do not cook them properly, your eggplants might end up being extremely bitter. Therefore, discovering the varying flavors of eggplants will be of great help for anyone who wants to enrich their daily meals.
To help you get to know the secret behind the taste of eggplants, let’s explore different eggplant preparing methods and how they influence the actual tastes of eggplants.
The eggplant is not recommended to be eaten raw, because its skin and flesh tend to be bitter, not to mention its seeds. A raw eggplant will taste mushy or spongy, as 92% of the eggplant is water. Unlike other fruits, eating raw eggplants is considered the worst way to enjoy this fantastic fruit.
There used to be some concerns regarding eating raw eggplants, however, as long as you wash your eggplants well with water, it is safe to consume raw eggplants. Harmful side effects only occur if you eat more than 36 raw eggplants at the same time.
A quick way to try eggplants is to steam them. One common method is to use the microwave. Once steamed to doneness, eggplants will have a watery and soft texture. The original bitterness will be replaced with a somewhat meaty flavor, however, eating steamed eggplants would be too bland for most people.
Therefore, it is recommended to steam eggplants with a variety of spices or seasoning to enhance the flavor. A nice example of deliciously steamed eggplants is the Chinese style steamed eggplants, in which eggplants are drenched in soy sauce marinade and steamed to the perfect texture.
Though it is possible to boil eggplants, it is not recommended to boil eggplants due to the huge source of water already in the flesh of eggplants. Boiling will make eggplants runny and tasteless, and in case you still insist on preparing eggplants this way, consider boiling eggplants with other fruits or vegetables to add more flavor.
Grilled eggplant (Photo credit: Foter.com)
This is a fantastic way to prepare eggplants, and the flavor is hard to beat. Grilling brings out all the best of eggplants and makes them better. Chargrilled eggplants make excellent side dishes for any BBQ party thanks to their sweet and smoky flavor. The taste can be compared to grilled squash, only more acidic. If you have never tried grilled eggplants before, we strongly recommend you do because they taste so yummy.
Sauteed or fried eggplants
If you are into pan fried foods, then fried eggplants are a good option. Frying eggplants will eliminate the bitter taste of the skin and flesh of eggplants while rendering the fruit to be creamy and meaty. However, one downfall of frying or sauteing eggplants is losing the firm texture of the fruit. To preserve the firm texture of eggplants while adding some crunchy feeling, try making tempura eggplants, and you won’t be disappointed.
Stewing is another possible method to prepare eggplants, and it can yield satisfying results. Stewed eggplants will be unique. Some even compare the taste of stewed eggplants to rice cakes, while others find it hard to describe the taste. Eggplants can be stewed with onion, tomato, feta cheese and others to create an amazing dish. Once stewed with other ingredients, eggplants will mix with the others to produce a combined taste.
Strongly hope that this post has been useful for you in solving the puzzle of eggplants and what they taste like. The taste will vary from one cooking method to another, and it is safe to say that eggplants are rather an acquired taste. Love it or not, getting to know this awesome fruit will add more colors and flavors to your meal every day.