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How to Store and Prepare Eggplant?

Storage and Preparation:

 

Like many other types of greens, eggplant is best when eaten as soon after it is picked as possible. Do not let the outside fool you. Eggplant is perishable and will begin to lose its moisture within a day or two. Long storage will also tend to make the flavor bitter. Keep the eggplant in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable section of the refrigerator. If the vegetable was very fresh when bought, it will keep up to three days, only a day or two if it was less fresh.

If the recipe calls for peeled eggplant, a vegetable peeler does a good job. Otherwise, wash the eggplant well, dry, trim the stem and blossom end, and leave the skin on. Do not use a carbon-steel knife to prepare eggplant, as it will discolor the flesh. The flesh tends to darken and turn brown once it is cut, so it is best to cook it as quickly as possible after cutting or to toss it with 1 teaspoon or so of lemon juice, do not soak the cut eggplant in water, because the flesh will absorb quantities of water, releasing it again during the cooking process.

Eggplant also tends to absorb prodigious amounts of oil. Salting the cut-up vegetable, draining, and then drying it can reduce the amount of oil it will soak up. I find boiling the slices, sticks or cubes, rather than frying or sauteing them, dramatically reduces the amount of oil needed and produces a very acceptable finished dish.

To salt the cut eggplant, sprinkle the cut surfaces liberally with salt, lay on clean kitchen towels or on a rack over towels, and let stand, lightly covered, for at least 30 minutes. Wipe off as much of the salt as you can or rinse very lightly and then dry the eggplant on more towels.

 

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