Eggplant is a specific vegetable. On the one hand, it produces tasty and unusual dishes, such as products that look like mushrooms. On the other hand, if this vegetable is improperly processed, it is possible to spoil the whole dish, since some eggplants taste bitter, and so much so that they become unsuitable for food.
To avoid this, it is necessary to choose the right eggplant. And it is important to decide in advance what they are for - for cooking, frying or canning.
It is best to eat young fruit. The fact is that in eggplants there is solanine, which in concentrated form is a strong poison. By the way, for the same reason, eggplants are not consumed raw. But this does not mean that you need to completely abandon them.
In young eggplants there is practically no solanine. It accumulates with the growth of this vegetable, when the seeds begin to ripen in it. Therefore, the adult fruit is better not to use in food.
But what if autumn is the most fertile season for collecting eggplants, and they are already adults?
How to choose the right eggplants
They must be strong, with smooth skin, without spots and obvious defects. Shriveled, soft food is best not to use.
Eggplant should not be large. Big ones are often overripe, and therefore bitter because of solanine.
Adult eggplant has a hard skin that does not become soft even after cooking. In such instances, hard seeds that spoil the whole dish.
How to clean eggplants
For different eggplant dishes, there are also their own rules for cleaning this vegetable.
But in any case, the eggplants are first washed, then each fetus is cut off with a tail with a sepal and the very tip from the opposite side.
If they are intended for cooking caviar or stewing, then they are cut off the skin. This is done with a peeler or a sharp knife, removing the skin along the vegetable.
From young eggplants, the skin can not be cut off, because it is still soft and not bitter.
Do not remove the skin from eggplants even if they are needed for baking in the form of boats or cups, as the skin helps to keep the shape.
If the dish requires baked eggplant pulp, the skin can also not be removed. For this, eggplants are cut in half, baked, and then the pulp is removed from them with a teaspoon.
But all this applies to eggplants that are not bitter, that is, to those in which there is no solanine. After all, if (in the fruit there is a solanine, then they must first be prepared before being used as food.
How to determine the presence of solanine in eggplants
To determine whether there is solanine in eggplant and whether it will taste bitter, it is enough to cut off a small part of it and wait a few minutes.
Eggplants, in which a large concentration of solanine has accumulated, quickly darken in the air, becoming almost brown on the cut. Young eggplants without this dangerous substance remain light-colored, unless they can slightly yellow. There are also varieties that are almost devoid of this substance. Such eggplants also do not darken at the cut.
How to remove bitterness (solanine) from eggplant
Eggplant with bitter pulp is first cut into slices, cubes, slices or something else.
Then they are put in a bowl, covered with salt and left for half an hour or an hour. During this time they will give plenty of juice, in which all the bitterness will go.
After that, the eggplants are washed several times in cold water. Almost all the seeds are washed out along with the water from the slices. I must say that in adult eggplant there is a lot of them.
Then the pieces spread in a colander or on a paper towel. You can slightly squeeze. And then cook according to the recipe.
If there are few seeds, and the eggplants are bitter, they are poured with only a small amount of salt, kept for half an hour, then squeezed slightly and cooked further.
If there are seeds in eggplants intended for stuffing, they are removed together with a part of the pulp immediately after the vegetables are cut along in the form of a boat or across in the form of a barrel.
To remove the bitterness from the eggplants, some housewives are soaked in cold water, adding a tablespoon of salt to a liter of water. After half an hour, the eggplants are drained from the water, dried slightly and prepared according to their favorite recipe. To easily remove the skin from the eggplant, as well as the bitterness, they are pre-blanched in boiling salted water for five minutes. Then they are removed, doused with cold water and peeled.
To remove the peel from the baked fruit, fresh prepared eggplants are spread on a baking sheet, put in the oven and baked for 30-40 minutes. From such semi-finished products it turns out very tasty caviar.
If eggplants are cooked with peel, for example, stuffed, cut them in half, remove the pulp, put it in boiling salted water and blanch for five minutes. Then throw in a colander, cool and fill.
Eggplants can be blanched and whole. To do this, they are immersed in boiling water for five minutes, and then placed under pressure. After all moisture comes out of them, proceed to further preparation.
But no matter how cleaned the eggplants, you need to remember that they can not be used by everyone.
Eggplant due to the large amount of fiber is contraindicated for people with gastric ulcer, gastritis. Also, this vegetable crop can cause allergies in people prone to this disease.