Eggplant is a pear-shaped vegetable that ranges in color from deep, vibrant purple to pale, almost translucent white. Eggplants vary in size, from cute, little 2 inch bulbs to nearly a foot long! Eggplants contain vitamin C, potassium, folate, and dietary fiber, particularly in the skin. Common varieties found at the farmers’ market include:
American: Has an egg-shaped globe appearance. It is almost black in color, with a green stem and green calyx, or the skirt around the top.
Italian: Cylindrical oblong shape about ten inches long; varying from glossy dark purple to lavender skin; white flesh with barely visible seeds. These are known for their creamy texture and depth of flavor when cooked.
White: Oval-shaped and thinner near the stem end. The eggplant's skin is ivory-white in color and the flesh is less bitter than other varieties.
Japanese: Smaller, thinner, and has purple skin with a calyx that may also be purple instead of green. It is sweeter and less bitter than larger globe varieties. Indian: A baby version of larger eggplants with an oval egg-shaped body, deep purple skin, and creamy white flesh with very small seeds. It has a milder eggplant flavor with a slightly sweet taste.