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Egg-cellent Eggplants: A Guide to the Different Types


types of eggplants

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a popular vegetable that is enjoyed in many different cultures around the world. With its unique flavor and texture, it can be used in a variety of dishes, from classic Italian eggplant parmesan to Indian baingan bharta. However, not many people are aware of the different types of eggplants available, each with their distinct characteristics and culinary uses.


In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the different types of eggplants, including their physical characteristics, flavor profiles and traditional dishes they are used in. This will allow you to make an informed decision on what type of eggplant to use for your next recipe, and also to discover new ways to incorporate eggplants in your cooking.



8 Types Of Egg Plants



1. Solanum Melongena

types of eggplants

This is the most commonly cultivated species of eggplant and includes varieties such as the classic globe eggplant, Japanese eggplant, Chinese eggplant, and Sicilian eggplant. The classic globe eggplant, also known as the American or European eggplant, is a large, round fruit with a smooth, glossy, and typically dark purple skin. They have a mild, slightly bitter flavor and a meaty texture, making them perfect for grilling, roasting, and frying. They are a staple in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, such as eggplant parmesan and moussaka.


1.

types of eggplants

Japanese eggplants, also known as the Asian eggplant, are long and slender, and can be as thin as a finger or as thick as a pencil. They have a smooth, glossy skin that is typically a deep purple color. They are sweeter and less bitter than globe eggplants, and are often used in stir-fries, tempura, and soups. They are also great for grilling and roasting.


2.

types of eggplants

Chinese eggplants, also known as the Orient eggplant, are similar in appearance to the Japanese eggplant, but it is typically a bit smaller and has a thinner skin. They have a delicate, sweet flavor and are often used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine. They are great for stir-fries, stews, and curries.


3.

Sicilian eggplants, are large, elongated eggplant with a bumpy, ribbed skin. They are typically a deep purple color and can weigh up to three pounds. They have a meaty texture and a slightly sweet flavor. They are often used in Sicilian dishes such as caponata and parmigiana.


2. Solanum Aethiopicum

types of eggplants

This species of eggplant is also known as the "garden egg" and is native to Africa. It has a small, round fruit and is often used in West African cuisine. It has a greenish-white skin with white flesh and a slightly bitter taste, which makes them perfect for stews and soups. They are also known to be a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and other essential nutrients.


3. Solanum Integrifolium

This species of eggplant is also known as the "pea eggplant" and is native to Southeast Asia. It has small, round fruit that is typically green or white in color. The pea eggplant is known for its delicate, slightly sweet flavor and its use in curries and stir-fries. They are also a good source of fiber and essential vitamins.


4. Solanum Torvum

types of eggplants

This species of eggplant is also known as the "wild eggplant" and is native to Central and South America. It has small, round fruit that is typically green or yellow in color. This eggplant has a slightly bitter taste, making it better suited for cooked dishes rather than raw consumption. They are often used in soups and stews and are a good source of antioxidants and other essential nutrients.


5. Solanum Melongena

types of eggplants

This is another cultivated species of eggplant and includes varieties such as the baby eggplant and white eggplant. Baby eggplants are miniature versions of the globe eggplant, they are small and round, and are typically no larger than a golf ball. They have a delicate, sweet flavor and are great for roasting, grilling, and sautéing. They are often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.


6. Solanum incanum

This species of eggplant is also known as the "devil's apple" and is native to Central and South America. It has small, round fruit that is typically green or yellow in color, and it is toxic if not cooked properly. It is also known for its medicinal properties and its use in traditional medicine. It is commonly used in soups and stews, but it is important to note that it must be thoroughly cooked before consumption to neutralize its toxic compounds.


7. Solanum macrocarpon

This species of eggplant is also known as the "garden huckleberry" and is native to Central and South America. It has small, round fruit that is typically green or yellow in color, and it is also toxic if not cooked properly. It is commonly used in stews and soups, but it is important to note that it must be thoroughly cooked before consumption to neutralize its toxic compounds.


8. Solanum gilo

types of eggplants

This species of eggplant is native to Africa and is also known as the "gilo eggplant" and it is also toxic if not cooked properly. It is commonly used in stews and soups, but it is important to note that it must be thoroughly cooked before consumption to neutralize its toxic compounds



Summary

In conclusion, eggplants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, each with their own unique flavor and texture. Understanding the different types of eggplants and their uses in the kitchen can greatly enhance your cooking experiences and allow you to be more creative with your recipes. Whether you're looking for a classic globe eggplant for your next eggplant parmesan, or a delicate Chinese eggplant for a stir-fry, there is a type of eggplant that is perfect for every dish. So next time you're at the grocery store, take a moment to explore the different types of eggplants and see which one catches your eye. Happy cooking!

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