Why Your Eggplant Is Bitter (And How To Fix It)

Have you ever wondered why your eggplant is bitter? Annoyingly, eggplants often have a bitter flavor. The fruit is popular because of its rich, silky texture, but it is also known for occasionally tasting unpleasant.

Eggplants are made bitter by phenolic compounds known as Anthocyanins, and this effect usually occurs when the eggplant is old and has been stored for too long. The seeds are often responsible for the bitterness, but the flesh and skin can also be bitter in some cases. The longer the eggplant has been kept for, the more bitter it will taste.

Why Are Eggplants Bitter?

If your eggplant tastes bitter, it is likely because it has been stored on a supermarket shelf or in your fridge for too long. It may be that as the flesh starts to deteriorate, these compounds are released and therefore take on a stronger flavor, or there may be other explanations for it – but the bitterness is associated with aging.

eggplants

If you are growing your own eggplants, make efforts to pick them fairly young and store them correctly. They shouldn’t be kept in the fridge for weeks, but should instead be used up fairly quickly.

Their tough skins might protect them from molding for quite a while but won’t stop them from turning bitter.

How Do You Know Whether An Eggplant Will Be Bitter?

If you’re selecting eggplants from the store, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to determine whether an eggplant is likely to be bitter. This can be challenging, as these fruits will last well off the plant. Their skins are tough and watertight, helping to trap moisture inside and slow down the degradation process.

However, there are a few things that you can do. When you pick up an eggplant, take a few moments to inspect it. Check whether the fruit seems firm and fresh, and whether its skin is glossy and smooth.

If the skin has begun to pucker or lose its sheen, the fruit is probably getting old. Similarly, any squishy spots, brown areas, or discoloration should be avoided. Opt for the fruits that look and feel the freshest, and you will reduce the risk of getting a bitter eggplant.

Is It Safe To Eat A Bitter Eggplant?

Bitter eggplants are not dangerous, but they are unpleasant. The chemical that makes the eggplant bitter won’t hurt you – it just doesn’t taste very good. There is a risk of the eggplant ruining the meal if it tastes really bad, however, so be careful about this.

eggplants

The bitterness is an indication that the flesh is starting to break down, which means it won’t contain as many nutrients or offer as many health benefits as a fresh eggplant. If you aren’t sure how your eggplant will taste, try licking your fingers after slicing it or sample a small piece of it before adding it to your dish.

Raw eggplant is safe to eat, and this is a good way to reduce the risk of you ruining your food’s flavor by adding an old eggplant. If you find that the flesh is very bitter, you might want to compost the eggplant and get a fresh one, rather than spoiling your entire meal.

What Should An Eggplant Taste Like?

Eggplants don’t have an enormous amount of flavor on their own. The taste should be mild, fresh, and slightly sweet, and nutty. It’s a little like a squash might taste.

In general, eggplants are chosen for their ability to take on flavors from the dish and to add a velvety texture, rather than because they have a strong taste on their own.

How Can You Get Rid Of Bitterness When Cooking An Eggplant?

If you find that your eggplant is a little bitter, but you think it could be saved, there are a couple of things that you can try before you toss it in the compost. Firstly, try salting the eggplant, and secondly, try removing the seeds.

Trick One: Salt The Eggplant

If you’ve noticed that your eggplant doesn’t taste good, salting it is probably the most effective means of combating bitterness. To do this, you need to wash and slice open the eggplant. Cut it into strips or cubes, depending on what you want for your meal.

Next, lay these pieces out on a board or plate, and sprinkle a thin, even coat of salt across the exposed flesh. Leave the salt on the eggplant for half an hour at least, and then use paper towels to wipe off the salt and resulting liquid.

You can rinse the eggplant slices too, as this will wash off the salt and the liquid. The eggplant should then be ready to cook, and the bitterness should have been significantly reduced.

This is because the salt draws moisture out of the fruit, and this removes some of the compounds responsible for the bitter flavor. The longer you leave it for, the more water the salt will draw out but don’t overdo this, or you may spoil the texture of your eggplant. An hour and a half should be the longest you leave it for.

Trick Two: Remove The Seeds

Although any part of the eggplant can be bitter, the seeds are often the problem, and if you don’t have time to salt the eggplant, getting rid of these can help. Of course, if the bitterness is spread throughout the flesh, this may not have much impact.

If you want to remove the seeds, get a sharp knife and cut the seeds out of the eggplant and discard them. Cut up the remaining flesh and use it as normal, and it will hopefully have a better flavor than if you had left the seeds intact. It may still be somewhat bitter, however.

Conclusion

Nobody likes a bitter eggplant, and this can totally ruin a meal, especially if the flavor is strong. You can reduce the risk of getting one by choosing fresh eggplants, and making sure that you use any in your fridge up quickly. If in doubt, salt your eggplant and remove the seeds to reduce the bitterness.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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