Which type of eggplant is most bitter?

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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"Is it true that a female eggplant has more seeds and is therefore more bitter than male eggplant?"

Everyone is quick to blame the female! I have to first point out that technically, there is no such thing as a male or female eggplant. Eggplants are, botanically speaking, a fruit: like their brethren peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash they are produced from a flower -- specifically, when male pollen is transferred to the female parts of the flower. They resulting fruit is sexless.

But they do become bitter with age, and like humans, tend to get dull, wrinkled and less taut skin the longer they are around. Pick an eggplant that is glossy, heavy for its size and free of brown patches and bruises. When you press it with your fingertip, the skin should bounce back, not stay depressed. Eggplants are highly perishable, so buy it no more than a day or two before using.

For information about the health benefits of eggplant, see Superfood: Eggplant and for more recipe ideas, see Easy Eggplant Entrees.

Recipe: Seafood Stuffed Eggplant

Marge Perry
Aug, 2012
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