If you’ve only ever bought eggplant at the supermarket, you might believe they’re all the same size, shape, and color: huge, rectangular, and deep purple. Take a stroll around a farmers’ market in the middle of the summer, and you’ll see that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are numerous types available, each one distinct in its own way.
There’s a lot of variety in this nightshade, so it’s good to learn about some of the more common varieties before peak eggplant season begins (July to October). This summer, you might get lucky and come across some of the rarer kinds at your local farmers’ market.
While it may appear to be similar to the common globe eggplant seen in supermarkets, Italian eggplant is different.
It’s a little smaller, but it’s still big and plump, and the flesh is more sensitive. Use it in any recipe, but it’s especially delicious in Italian meals like caponata.
Graffiti eggplant, also known as Sicilian eggplant, is distinguished by its purple and white stripes. Unfortunately, when the eggplant is cooked, the stripes vanish. This eggplant type is entirely versatile, and it may be used in any dish that calls for conventional eggplant.
Fairy Tale Eggplant
This small eggplant is, without a doubt, the cutest in the bunch. Purple and white stripes adorn this heirloom cultivar, which is scarcely bigger than the palm of your hand. They can be cooked in the same way as larger eggplants, but they’re especially well suited to grilling because they’re so soft.
The Chinese eggplant has a long, narrow body with a light to mid-toned purple shell and white flesh, not to be mistaken with the similar-looking Japanese eggplant. It tastes less bitter than the common globe (American) variety because it has fewer seeds. The Chinese eggplant’s consistent and slender shape makes it ideal for slicing into rounds and sautéing.
The Japanese eggplant has a slender, long shape similar to the Chinese eggplant, although it is darker purple in color. They cook in a pretty short time, which makes them ideal for stir-frying. Furthermore, their delicately sweet flavor will go well with any flavor combination.
There are several white varieties available, but what distinguishes them all is their pure white skin. The eggplant flesh, on the other hand, is the same as we’ve all come to know and love. Prepare it the same way you would prepare any other eggplant.
Little Green Eggplant
This ancestral cultivar has pale green skin and is plump and round. It has a moderate flavor and becomes exceptionally creamy when cooked. It can be substituted for ordinary eggplant in any recipe that asks for it.
This type, often known as baby eggplant, is small and squat, with a dark reddish-purple color. It tastes fantastic, whether roasted or stuffed, and it’s great in Indian dishes like curry.
Thai eggplant is a small, spherical, greenish-white vegetable. This kind is difficult to come by, but try tossing a handful into a Thai curry if you get your hands on it/
Globe or American Eggplant
Globe eggplants, sometimes known as American eggplants, are what you’re used to if you grew up in the United States. They’re the type you’re most likely to come across in the grocery. They have a rich purple color and a short, squatty shape. It’s a versatile eggplant with a meaty texture that makes it a perfect protein alternative (like in your classic eggplant Parmesan).
Rosa Bianca Eggplant
The bitterness is absent from this Sicilian variety’s flesh, which is quite light and delicate. If the cuteness of your fruit is essential to you, it’s also extremely cute. You may have a difficult time obtaining this kind in your area, but when you do, grab it. Rosa Bianca eggplants are ideal for grilling because of their petite size.
Ping Tung Eggplant
It has a larger size and soft, delicious flesh. This eggplant is native to Taiwan and is best served grilled. Season with salt and olive oil before serving.
If you want larger eggplants, this is the one to go for! It can reach a width of 6-8 inches! Grilling or roasting this eggplant is the most delicious way to prepare it.
This eggplant has white skin and the shape of an egg or a pear. When grilled or roasted, it has a creamier texture and tastes better.
Thai White Eggplant
Thai White Eggplants are a bit of an anomaly in the eggplant world because they are also eaten uncooked. They’re great for snacks or dips because of their crunchiness.
In comparison to its Italian relative, the Filipino eggplant is thinner and longer. When cooked and grilled, it has a mild and sweet flavor.
Kermet and Lavender Frog Eggplant
Because they can soak up broth without coming apart, these lovely, dense, golf ball–size Thai eggplants are ideal for curries. In Thai salads, they’re often served raw and thinly sliced.
Galine and Black Beauty
These are your standard eggplants, with the exception of Black Beauty, which is a touch bulbous. Although there isn’t much of a flavor difference between the two cultivars, the Galine is ready for harvest a little early, while the Black Beauty lasts longer into the fall. It’s best to salt them before cooking because they contain a sense of bitterness.
The texture of this Italian eggplant is distinctively bready, almost floury. It’s versatile: it’s firm enough for eggplant Parmesan but soft enough to grill.
Dancer and Snowy
Though their hues contrast, when cooked, these two beautiful types are extremely similar. Both have a creamy texture and a pleasant flavor that eliminates the need for salting.
This deep plum cultivar is delicious and rich. It makes the greatest baba ghanoush you’ll ever have.
For most of us, an eggplant is just the dark purple, pear-shaped vegetable seen in the produce section of every supermarket. Eggplant can be rectangular or bulbous, firm or creamy, sweet or bitter, and solid or streaked with greens, oranges, or purples ranging from pale mauve to near-black in color.