QUESTION: How do you take the bitterness out of eggplant? I like the flavor and versatility of cooking eggplant. I just don’t eat it often because I find it bitter. Is it just me? -Heather K
ANSWER: It is not just you! Some people don’t like to eat eggplant because they find its flavor bitter, but there are things you can do to reduce the bitterness of eggplant when you’re preparing it. Here are some easy ways to minimize the bitterness, so you can keep adding eggplant to meals.
First off, old eggplants, or those that sit out for a while after being harvested, are more likely to be bitter than young, fresh ones. So when you’re growing eggplant yourself, you’re less likely to find a bitter one as long as you harvest eggplants early and consume them soon after picking them.
If you’ll be slicing or dicing your eggplant before it’s included in a dish, try sprinkling the pieces with salt. Then let them sit with the salt on them for about an hour. Salt will draw out some of the moisture and bitterness from the eggplant pieces. Quickly rinse the eggplant to remove the salt before continuing to prepare the eggplant.
Try soaking the eggplant in milk to pull the bitterness out of sliced or cubed eggplant pieces. Let the pieces sit in the milk for half an hour prior to cooking. Then drain off the milk and prepare the eggplant normally.
Finally, you can always remove the seeds from your eggplant before you prepare it. Seeds tend to hold most of the bitter flavor, not the flesh. You can use a spoon to scoop the seeds out of the raw eggplant, then prepare it as you normally would.