What Makes Eggplant Bitter?

I just threw out a plate of eggplant (marinated). They were small (about 6") , grown in my garden. I was shocked-they were terribly bitter-did I not water them enough?

I don’t know what makes them bitter, but if you soak them in milk it takes the bitterness out. Soak awhile (couple hours or so?) then take out and pat dry. Then go ahead with your recipe. :wink:

We grew eggplant this year. When I fixed them with the peel left on, they were bitter. Peel off, not bitter. I think it’s the peel.

It’s the peel, I tells ya! :smiley:

My mom taught me to always soak them (sliced) in salt water for an hour or so before cooking them to make them less bitter.

Yeah you have to dry them out. Alton Brown says to slice them up and then sprinkle with salt and let them sit on a paper towel for an hour (?). Last time I did it, I sliced them up and then put scores in the slices.

I made eggplant 3 times this summer, never had a bitter one yet. Not even the ones with the peels. But the peels were indeed too chewy.

Sounds like you might have a preponderence of male eggplants, with seed. Supposedly, they are more “bitter”. Can happen…also probably a lack of water, as is pointed out. They might be less hydrated.

Oh, wait…seems I was confused and diametrically opposed, female eggplant are more seedy and bitter.

I’ve been disappointed with eggplant. I’ve bought the big 'uns, the little 'uns, the Japanese, the white, and went to great pains to salt, etc. No telling which will be bitter or not. Since eggplants are basically big sponges to hold oil, sauce, cheese, etc. you’d think they would figure out how to grow bland tasting fruits by now. How come I never seem to get a plate of bitter eggplant in a restaurant? What is their secret?

Bitter eggplant is mostly an issue with the variety; most modern varieties that you see in the grocery store have the bitter bred out of them. The only time I’ve gotten bitter ones is when I buy from the co-op or local farmers; I think some of them haven’t quite figured out the right variety to grow.

You can salt them, but that only masks the bitterness, it doesn’t draw it out or eliminate it. The only sure-fire way to not have bitter eggplant is to taste it when it’s raw. You can tell before cooking if it’s bitter or not, and if you get a bitter one, throw it out. But once again, if you stick to the big purple grocery store variety, I think it’s pretty rare that you get a bitter one.

Boy you got me. We had some a few weeks back from the same garden. One was great and the other was inedible.

Cooked at the same time in the same way too. I like eggplant a lot, so I’ll be following along closely here.

You take away his job, his home. You take his woman, and burn his dog. You take away everything he values, and leave nothing but what he hates.
That’s how you make an Eggplant bitter!

Yah, that’s the first thing I thought when I saw the thread title…


Eggplants have perfect flowers, which means that they have both sexes’ parts in every flower. So there are no “female” eggplants. And even if there were, the fruit (which is the part you eat) would HAVE to come from female flowers…if you can find fruit that comes from male (imperfect) flowers, you should inform a botanist.

When they give up their careers as a produce label model to raise two kids and now she has is a fruity husband and kids who steal her Social Security money.

:smiley: And she’s lost her figure! Why, she used to be as slim as a zucchini.


Best eggplant, boy or girl?

The only thing I ever make with eggplant is baba gannoush, and I’m told that the key is to remove the seeds, and let the cooked pulp drain for a while. Seems to work. Of course, I’m just using good old supermarket eggplants.

And on a not unrelated note, is there any more physically attractive vegetable than the eggplant? I thought not.

Just because some foodie writer calls two different kinds of eggplant “Male or Female” doesn’t mean they’re male or female. It just means that they’re defining certain characteristics as “male or female” or “boy or girl”. There is no gender to a fruit, in itself. They all come from female flowers because only female flowers produce fruit.

But of course, this has already propagated like a freaking urban legend, apparently, and now half the foodie world is going to believe that eggplant fruits have gender.