When figuring out how to choose an eggplant, it partially depends on the variety of eggplant. However, over all, the tips that you need to know are the same. The goal is to help you know how to tell if an eggplant is bad or if it is good.
It can be a bit confusing when standing in the grocery store trying to pick out the best eggplant. You may be wondering if you should choose the firm eggplant or the soft eggplant. Should you get the big eggplant or the small eggplant?
I am here to help you figure this out and make it as simple as possible for you.
First, to clarify, pick the firm eggplant, not the soft one. Now, let’s dive in.
About the size
Consider how you will be using the eggplant. For example, if you are grilling or roasting the eggplant in the oven, you will want large eggplants. The reason for this is that slicing it in long thick slices will make it easier to grill.
If you are going to be cutting the eggplant into round thin slices for eggplant parmesan, then a long and slender eggplant will work better. In that case, you would want to choose a Chinese eggplant, if possible. The size of the eggplant shouldn’t have any impact on how many eggplant seeds it has.
About the color
The color of the eggplant and the skin of an eggplant will tell you a lot about the ripeness and health of the eggplant. A healthy and ripe eggplant will be vibrant in color and have smooth and glossy skin.
The classic globe eggplant should have a deep rich purple color, and the Italian eggplant will be lighter in color.
If an eggplant looks dull and the skin is wrinkled, that is an eggplant to avoid. It likely is overripe and will not be as flavorful.
About the feel
A healthy eggplant should be firm and feel heavy for its size. When you pick up the eggplant, gently squeeze it. If it feels mushy, avoid it. That is a good sign if it feels firm but not rock-hard.
I know that saying something should be heavy for its size is a vague statement, but when you pick it up, just consider it. Does it feel lighter than it should? Does it feel heavier than you expected? If it feels lighter than the other eggplants, avoid it.
You want to avoid the soft eggplant because it is likely overripe and won’t last as long when you get it home. Also, the overripe eggplant won’t have as much flavor or hold up if you plan to grill or cut it up.
How to choose an eggplant at the store
Inspect the skin
Look for an eggplant that is smooth, bright, and glossy. Avoid eggplants that look dull and wrinkled.
Check for blemishes
Look at the eggplant and inspect it for bruises or large dents. It is normal for it to have small scratches or scars. You are looking for big obvious cuts, bruises, and breaks in the skin.
Is it firm?
Gently press on the eggplant. It should be firm instead of squishy. It shouldn’t be hard. It should have a bit of give.
Consider the weight
Pick up the eggplant and consider how heavy or light it feels. A ripe eggplant should feel heavy for its size.
Consider the size
The size of the eggplant matters depending on your intention to use it. Smaller eggplants are better for stir fry. Large eggplants are better for grilling.
The bottom line
The most common mistake that people make when picking eggplant is choosing the softest eggplant because it seems to be the juiciest one. It is an understandable misconception, but the opposite is true.
When picking an eggplant pick the one that is firm and feels heavy. Also, consider how you are going to cook the eggplant when picking out the size. The better the eggplant quality the longer that you can store the eggplant for in your kitchen.