There are a lot of vegetables that can be eaten raw, but one that doesn’t give us the confidence that it is safe to eat raw is eggplant. But curiosity can make us ask ourselves if we can eat raw eggplant?
We all love grilled eggplant or a great baba ganoush. But not so many of us know the taste of a raw eggplant since its texture doesn’t tempt you to try it as it is.
So I decided to research this topic a bit to come up with a good answer to your question and also to know what other people think about raw eggplant taste and texture.
Can you eat raw eggplant?
It is safe to eat raw eggplant, including the skin. However, the taste will be much bitter than the cooked eggplant, and also, the texture will be spongy rather than the creamy and easy to eat roasted or cooked eggplant.
While it’s safe to eat raw eggplant, there are real chances you will be disappointed with its taste and texture, so it will be much better to avoid eating it raw.
Eggplants contain a toxin called solanine which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities, so if somehow you know you have a sensitivity to this toxin, it is better to avoid eating eggplant at all.
Eggplant is part of the Solanaceae family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, all peppers, and a few other vegetables that can contain solanine as well.
Read Also: Eggplant Substitute
Are eggplant leaves and flowers poisonous?
Eggplant leaves and flowers are known to be poisonous. Vegetable flowers that are part of the Solanaceae family are not edible.
When you plan to eat eggplant raw or cooked, make sure you cut the leaves out. And if you have eggplants in your garden, you should avoid eating the flowers, which I don’t know why you would want that but now we know for sure that is not a good idea.
Uses of eggplant raw and cooked
There are lots and lots of recipes with eggplant, but I want to touch just a few well-known ones, and from there, you can be creative and use eggplant in any you find suited.
-Raw Eggplant Salad. Raw eggplant can be annoying to eat on its own since it has a spongy texture and a bitter taste. But if you combine it with a few other vegetables like celery, olives, tomatoes, and so on, you can make great use of its texture and cover its bitter taste with a few spices, herbs, and condiments.
-Baba ganoush. Baba ganoush is the best way to enjoy the eggplant as a great appetizer that can substitute hummus, cream cheese, or anything you like to spread on the bread.
In my country, we have Romanian Eggplant Salad which is close to baba ganoush as a recipe, but it has way fewer ingredients, and it’s easier to make and, at the same time, can be very delicious. Almost all the Romanians grew up with their mothers making “Salata de vinete”. You can check a great recipe here.
-Grilled eggplant. I love grilled vegetables, and eggplant is one of the best, alongside zucchini, mushrooms, and bell pepper,
-Ratatouille. Ratatouille is an awesome dish that makes great use of the eggplant’s texture and taste, you can find here a great recipe from Jamie Oliver.
How to choose a good eggplant?
If you plan to eat raw eggplant, the best thing you can do is to make sure that you buy a good one, to begin with. If you buy one that is not ripe enough or is about to go bad, you will be more likely to be disappointed with its taste and texture.
Here are a few things you can check when you buy eggplants:
-Texture. A good eggplant should be slightly firm when you touch it, and also, you can check if there are softer spots, so it is better to check the entire eggplant, not just a part of it.
-Stem. As with many vegetables and fruits, the steam can indicate how fresh the eggplant is. The stem should have a green color without any mold sign; it should also be quite firm.
-Color. While most eggplants will have a strong purple or white for that specific variety color, you should check for the discolorations and or any spots that are different colored. The color should be smooth and shiny.
-Weight. A good eggplant should feel heavy for its size.
How to store eggplant?
You can store eggplant the eggplant in three main ways depending on how and when you plan to use them:
-Store eggplants at room temperature. Eggplant can last three days at room temperature if you keep them away from direct sunlight and the room doesn’t have more than 77 F/25 C.
–Store them in the fridge. For many vegetables and fruits, this is a better way to store them at room temperature, but eggplants are quite sensitive to room temperature, and they will not last longer than kept outside the fridge. So, in this case, it may not be the best idea, but rather store them in a pantry or a cool place.
-Freeze them. You can freeze the eggplants to keep them for up to six months. You have to blanch eggplants in order to store them in a freezer. Check here how to do that.
The conclusion is that it is safe to eat raw eggplants if you get rid of the leaves/stem, but most probably, there are other better ways to enjoy the eggplant.
If you still want to eat it raw, put it into a salad. This way, you can cover its bitter taste and get good nutrients from it.