Most of the time, eggplant has a pleasant taste. It gets used in indulgent recipes internationally because of its earthy flavor.
But every once in awhile, you get one that tastes shockingly bitter. Once that happens, you can find yourself wanting to avoid eggplant going forward.
That doesn’t have to be the case. If you understand why eggplant is sometimes bitter, you can learn to guarantee it doesn’t happen again or even how to fix it.
Quick Answer: Why is Eggplant Sometimes Bitter?
Eggplant gets bitterer with age. The easiest way to prevent this bitterness is to purchase eggplant when it’s younger.
If you end up with a bitter eggplant, anyway, there are a few ways to fix it, such as salting it.
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What is Eggplant Supposed to Taste Like?
Ideally, your eggplant’s flavor will be pretty mild, which is what makes it so great. It’s like a blank canvas that you can incorporate into a ton of recipes.
If you’re particularly sensitive to flavors, you might notice that it has an earthiness or slight nuttiness to it. Around the seeds, it can get a little bitter even if it’s a young eggplant.
Generally, though, it’s kind of comparable in flavor to squash.
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How to Fix a Bitter Eggplant
So you’ve purchased an eggplant and it’s bitter. Now what?
You can take a few actions to mitigate the bitterness. The most common and effective methods are the following:
- Buy the freshest eggplant you can find.
- Salt the eggplant.
- Remove the eggplant’s seeds.
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Make sure you purchase eggplant that’s as fresh as possible.
Avoiding a bitter eggplant is something you can do before you even take it home. When you’re shopping for groceries and looking at eggplants, pay close attention to how they look.
You should be looking for eggplants that are shiny. Ideally, they won’t be squishy and the flesh will be free of wrinkles. If you see any eggplants with puckering on their skin, it’s a sign that they’re getting too old.
Consider the location, too. When possible, visit your local farmers’ markets, because you’ll have an easier time finding a fresh eggplant there. Eggplants in grocery stores have to be shipped long distances, which means they’re often older by default when they finally hit the shelves.
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Salt the eggplant.
Despite your best efforts to avoid a bitter eggplant, you might have ended up with one, anyway. It’s not the end of the world when that happens – you can counteract the overwhelming bitter taste.
One time-tested way of removing the bitter factor from the eggplant is by salting it prior to cooking. Cube or slice the eggplant and salt the resulting pieces.
Leave the salted pieces for at least half an hour. Once that’s done, wrap the pieces in paper towel to remove some of the salt. You can also gently rinse the eggplant to wash it away.
When you’ve salted and rinsed your eggplant, it’s ready to eat or cook. The flavor should be less bitter.
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Remove the eggplant’s seeds.
Don’t have time to salt and rinse your eggplant? That’s no problem.
Another method you can use is removing the seeds. Many people feel that much of the bitterness comes from the seeds, so taking them out can tone down the flavor.
Simply cut or scoop the seeds out, and you might find the eggplant more palatable.
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Your eggplant doesn’t need to be so bitter, you can’t stomach more than a single bite. Even if you’re not able to get the freshest eggplant possible, you can try some tricks to reduce bitterness, such as salting it or cutting out the seeds.
That way, you can enjoy the earthy and flexible taste of eggplant in any recipe you’d like.