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Can You Eat Eggplant Skin?

Can You Eat Eggplant Skin?

If you are new to cooking with eggplant, you may be curious if you can eat eggplant skin. Perhaps you are about to sautee eggplant and want to know what’s safe to eat.

As with many questions in the kitchen, the answer is yes, but it depends. I am here to help you understand the pros and cons of eating eggplant skin. 

Also, in this quick read, we will discuss why people peel eggplants and a brief history of how growers are making eggplants less bitter. 

Let’s dive in!

Yes, you can eggplant skin, but you may not enjoy eating it. The skin of an eggplant can be quite bitter and tough. The bitterness and texture of an eggplant’s skin will vary based on the age and size of the eggplant.

Larger eggplants are older, and their skin is tougher and generally more bitter. A smaller and younger eggplant will have thinner skin, which is not as tough and chewy. Also, a younger eggplant’s skin will not be as bitter.

Deciding whether or not to eat the skin of eggplant really comes down to personal preferences and what you are doing with the eggplant. Some people appreciate the skin’s extra texture and don’t mind that bit of bitter taste.

If you prefer to eat eggplant with the skin, try picking smaller and younger eggplants. That way, you will get the best of both worlds.

Why do people peel eggplants?

There are several reasons why people tend to peel eggplants. The primary reason is that eggplant skin is bitter, and people don’t like that bitter taste in their dish.

An interesting note on the bitterness of the eggplant skin is that that is less true these days than it was in the past. Growers have worked to breed that bitterness out of the eggplant skin. It is still bitter but far less bitter than it was generations ago.

Now don’t take the above to mean that eggplant skin isn’t bitter because it still is, significantly depending on the age and size of the eggplant. It is far less bitter than decades ago, so that is progress. What this does mean is that peeling eggplant is a tradition that has been passed down over the generations. Another thing that people do to get rid of the bitterness is to salt the eggplant.

Another reason that people peel eggplant is that the skin tends to be tough and chewy. Again, this depends on the age, size, and type of eggplant. Young eggplant has a thinner skin that is not all that tough, and you could easily leave it on without much impacting your dish.

Also, people tend to peel the eggplant so that their dish is smooth and creamy in texture. When it comes to deciding whether or not to peel your eggplant, consider the dish and the texture that you are trying to achieve.

Tips for picking eggplants if you want to eat the skin

  • When choosing an eggplant, choose a younger and smaller eggplant. The younger and smaller it is, the thinner the skin will be and, as a result, more tender. This means that it will be less tough and bitter. 
  • Choose the eggplant with smooth and shiny skin. This is a good sign that the eggplant is fresh and in good condition.
  • Avoid wrinkled or discolored skin: Eggplants with wrinkled or discolored skin may be overripe or have been stored for too long. These eggplants are more likely to have tougher and more bitter skin.
  • Check for firmness: Gently press the eggplant with your fingers to check for firmness. A ripe and fresh eggplant should feel slightly firm but not too hard or soft.

The bottom line

Yes, you can eat eggplant skin, and a fresh eggplant’s skin probably won’t make you sick, but it can be bitter and tough, so you may not enjoy it. My best advice is to pick young and smaller eggplants, and then if you want to leave on the skin, it will be a smoother texture and less bitter.