Eggplants are a delicious meal. Think of all the times you ate ratatouille or eggplant parmigiana; you probably loved every bite.
If you enjoy eating eggplant regularly, you may have an important question with an uncertain answer: should I peel eggplant?
If you are preparing an eggplant meal at home, it is important to know whether the skin may be involved or not. In short, no, you don't have to peel the eggplant before using it.
Although thick and chewy, the eggplant skin is perfectly edible and some people prefer to leave the skin on their eggplant.
Before discussing the question of peeling or not peeling, it is important to know the nutritional value of eggplant. Eggplant is a vegetable that is grown during warm seasons, usually in temperate climates, but also on a perennial basis in more tropical climates.
The skin is purple in color with black undertones. When looking for an eggplant, check the skin for any discolorations or cracks. If the skin is rubber and looks worn, you should move on and find something else.
Eggplant is also often mistakenly considered a vegetable, like tomatoes. In reality, it is a fruit. Eggplants do not contain cholesterol, fat or sodium. They are also an excellent source of fiber and are low in calories.
For example, a three-ounce serving of eggplant contains only five grams of carbs and 20 total calories. Of these five carbohydrates, three are fiber.
If you thought eggplant didn't contain more nutrients than this, think again. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium.
Plus, they can help lower cholesterol levels and even regulate blood pressure.
To peel or not to peel the skin of the eggplants.
Back to the big question: should you peel your eggplant? Generally speaking, eggplant has a mild taste and tender interior. It is therefore ideal for sautéing, baking and even frying.
The skin, on the other hand, can be quite thick and taste bitter . This is why many people choose to peel it.
But before deciding that skin peeling is automatically a good idea, think twice. The skin may be the healthiest part of the eggplant.
Studies have shown that saving the skins of your vegetables and fruits can help you retain the fiber in these foods. If you're trying to maintain a balanced, fiber-rich diet, keep the skin on your fruits and vegetables.
Skin disposal can also be a matter of cleanliness.
Some people consider the skin of fruits and vegetables to be "dirty" and prefer to remove it before eating them.
People remove the skin from their fruits and vegetables to remove any potential contaminants, but it's not necessary.
Of course, the skin or rind of a fruit or vegetable can contain bacteria, dirt and pesticide residues. But a good, solid wash will get them clean enough for you to eat the skin.
When washing the skin, be sure to use a soft brush or scrub it with your hands. Cover all areas: the flower, stem and even bruised areas. Some people prefer commercial fruit and vegetable washers, but water is fine.
The deep cleaning process will make the food clean enough so you can get more of the fiber and beneficial chemicals found in fruits and vegetables.
Make eggplant skin more edible
Now that you know you can leave the eggplant skin on without a problem, it's all about taste and texture. Sure, you can leave the skin on, but will you want to? Some people can be quite picky about their food preparation and choose not to remove the skin.
If you want to make eggplant skin more edible, start at the source. Be more selective in choosing your eggplants. Look for smaller, younger eggplants.
They will generally have a thinner skin, which is easier to consume. If you end up with older eggplants, it is best to peel them before consuming them.
It may surprise you, but many supermarket eggplants are actually overripe. This would explain why so many of them taste bitter when brought home and eaten. Getting a fresh eggplant after harvest can mean thinner skin and less bitter taste.
Keep in mind that some recipes still call for removing the skin , like a baba ganoush , for example. In this case, you can choose larger eggplants and be satisfied with the result.
For some simple recipes or grilling recipes where the skin is left on, be sure to opt for a smaller option. This will keep the skin edible without the bitter taste that can accompany a larger eggplant.
Looking for another alternative to skin peeling?
Try soaking the eggplant in water about 15 minutes before you prepare it. Letting it soak can bring out some of its bitter taste and make it more palatable.
Never forget that the skin, even if it looks unappetizing and soft, is safe to eat. On the other hand, other parts of eggplant are not edible. The leaves, for example, are poisonous. Do not eat them under any circumstances.
Another thing to keep in mind is that eggplant must be cooked. If you don't remember eating raw eggplant, you probably didn't. Eggplant contains chemicals that upset your digestive system if you eat it raw.
So be sure to cook it well before eating it.
Quality Eggplant Recipes
Eggplant can be a great alternative to meat. Indeed, it has a substantial texture and a savory taste.
If you're a vegetarian or just looking to cut down on the amount of meat you eat, eggplant can be a great alternative.
There are also a ton of recipes that don't require peeling or skinning. You can simply cut the eggplant into small cubes or rounds and grill or sauté them.
If you really want to get fancy, there are recipes where eggplant can even be used to mimic bacon.
One thing to keep in mind as you play around and experiment with different methods: eggplant browns quite quickly after being cut. You can lessen the oxidation process by squeezing a little lemon juice on your eggplant pieces; this will allow them to stay fresh at room temperature for 48 hours.
Eggplant is a delicious and nutritious food that is used in many recipes. Now that you know the skin can be eaten, you can find a plethora of recipes where the skin plays a role.
To cut to the chase, no, you don't have to peel an eggplant. Sometimes keeping the eggplant skin on can create a tough texture or bitter taste, which is why some people peel it for ease. The skin, however, is quite safe and edible, and contains important nutrients
Eggplant, is actually a fruit rather than a vegetable and is widely recognized for its deep purple, almost black color. This color comes from an antioxidant present in the eggplant skin. Which helps preserve brain cell membranes and may contribute to memory loss and other neurological health issues by fighting inflammation and promoting synaptic communication.
Additionally, eggplant can be used as part of a diet to help regulate blood pressure – which is also a benefit of the anthocyanins in its skin.
While it may seem easier for a home cook to remove the skin to avoid an unwanted texture or taste, you may be sacrificing many of the health benefits of eggplant. So what's the best way to cook an eggplant to perfection with the skin on?