Eggplant is a popular plant in recipes all around the world – not to mention vegan ones. When it’s done right, it adds a mild earthiness and texture to your food.
But sometimes, it’s not done well. And when that happens, you end up chewing on something that’s too chewy and rubbery.
At that time, you might find yourself wondering, why is my eggplant tough? We’ll reveal why it’s tough, and how you can fix it.
Quick Answer: Why is My Eggplant Tough?
So what’s behind your rubbery eggplant? Two main causes: it was too old when you picked it, or it wasn’t cooked completely.
Here’s Why Your Eggplant is Too Tough
As we mentioned above, there are really only a couple reasons behind your eggplant’s tough texture. The good thing is, that makes it easier to fix because there’s not a huge range of possible causes to run through.
The first reason is that your eggplant wasn’t harvested at the right time. Unlike with wine, eggplant doesn’t necessarily get better with age. Actually, the older it gets, the bitterer and tougher it gets.
Second, your eggplant may not have been cooked all the way. It gets softer the more it’s cooked, so the solution is knowing exactly how long to cook it for. You don’t want it to be chewy, but you also don’t want it to be shapeless mush, either.
How to Ensure Your Eggplant is Perfectly Tender
Make sure you pick the perfect eggplant.
The first step to ensuring you get a nice, tender eggplant happens before you even cook it. It starts with choosing the right eggplant, whether at the store or from your garden.
How do you know an eggplant is worth picking? First, simply look at it. An eggplant at the right maturity will have a waxy, shiny look that’s free of any wrinkles.
Next, poke it. If the skin doesn’t spring back into place after the poke, then you can assume safely it’s a bit too old to cook.
Cook the eggplant to completion.
If you’ve ever eaten a vegetable that wasn’t cooked all the way, you know what happens: it’s still a bit crunchy or hard. The same exact thing can happen to your eggplant.
To make sure you end up with something that’s pleasantly tender, you need to cook the eggplant for the appropriate amount of time. This will depend on your recipe, which should give you the length of time you need to cook it for.
However, be cautious. Test the texture of the eggplant while cooking by poking it with a fork or even tasting a little bit throughout the process. If your fork tines move easily through the eggplant or it tastes soft, then you know it’s ready.
If your eggplant turns out too tough after cooking, you might not be able to do anything before putting it on a plate. However, there are a couple easy steps you can take prior to and during cooking to guarantee it never happens again. By choosing an eggplant at the right stage and cooking it thoroughly, you can be sure that it’s nice and soft.