Eggplant, when uncooked, has a beautiful, vivid color ranging from deep purple to crisp white. At this stage, it looks most appetizing, because the colors are visually satisfying.
But a disappointing transformation happens when you cook the eggplant. All that gorgeous coloration is reduced to a muddy brown color that looks anything except edible.
We’ve searched and found some information on why eggplant turns brown when cooked, as well as what you can to do fix it.
Quick Answer: Why Does Eggplant Turn Brown When Cooked?
Eggplant’s skin turns brown naturally when exposed to a high temperature. There are a few methods you can use to counteract this effect: boiling, steaming, microwaving, or deep frying it.
We’ll explain how each option works below.
What to Do to Keep Your Eggplant Purple After Cooking
Harvest the eggplant at the right time.
Before you even begin cooking your eggplant, you need to make sure you harvest it at the right time. Choose an eggplant that’s too late in its life cycle, and it might already be brown when you cut into it.
The best eggplant to look for, whether you’re at the grocery store or picking one from your own personal garden, is one that’s firm. Make sure the skin is smooth and glossy, too. If there are any wrinkles or softness, don’t use it.
Please note, even if you choose an eggplant with a deep purple color, it’s likely to get slightly lighter after cooking no matter what you do. Also make sure to cut the eggplant into sections that are as uniform as possible.
Option one: boil the eggplant.
This method is pretty simple. Once your water is boiling, add your sections of eggplant. They might be tempted to float in the water, which isn’t optimal, because they need to be completely immersed in it.
Use something to weigh them down, such as setting a strainer on top. This will push the pieces of eggplant down into the water. Any parts that sit above the water during boiling will brown, which isn’t what we want.
The eggplant should only need to boil for about three minutes. After that point, take them out, drain them, and observe the color. They should still be purple.
Option two: steam the eggplant.
Steaming the eggplant is another method you can try which will preserve the color. This option is also pretty easy.
If you have a steaming basket like this one, it will be simple. Just set the steaming basket over boiling water and lay your eggplant pieces on top. Steam them for around four minutes.
Don’t have a steaming basket? You can achieve a similar effect using golf ball-sized wads of aluminum foil. Make at least three of these wads and set them in approximately half an inch of water. Lay a plate on top of the aluminum foil supports.
Place eggplant on top of the plate. When you boil the water, it will work as a makeshift steamer.
Option three: microwave the eggplant.
If you don’t have the patience to boil or steam the eggplant, microwaving might be right up your alley.
Of course, you’ll need a container that’s safe for use in a microwave. A steaming insert will work best in the container, otherwise you can buy a steamer basket that’s safe for microwaves, like this one.
Line the bottom of the container with a little bit of water, then set the eggplant on top of the steamer insert in the water. Their skin should be facing up.
Carefully layer a bit of oil on the skin of the eggplant. Put a lid on the container and microwave for approximately three minutes.
Option four: deep fry the eggplant.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that served cooked eggplant that was still purple? We’d be willing to bet they deep fried it.
When you get the oil hot, place the eggplant in with the skin facing down into the oil. They’ll fry pretty quickly.
Click on the video below to see a demonstration of how to fry your eggplant.
Eggplant likes to brown when exposed to high temperatures. If you find this coloration unappealing, you can use various clever methods to keep the purple intact even after cooking. Steaming, boiling, frying, and microwaving are all things you can do to ensure the eggplant looks as good as it tastes.