There is some­thing dis­tinctly fall-​like when it comes to egg­plants. Maybe it’s their aubergine shades, or sexy shapes and curves that resem­ble fall gourds and squash.

Mov­ing back to heartier cook­ing meth­ods in fall makes egg­plant a can­di­date for ideal roast­ing, bak­ing, stuff­ing and grilling prepa­ra­tions.

Although the dark pur­ple ver­sion is really the best known and read­ily found in most gro­cery mar­kets, the shape, size, and color can vary. From small and oblong to long and thin, look for shades rang­ing of dark to pale pur­ple to white green and even yel­low ver­sions.

Those dif­fer­ent shapes, sizes, and fla­vors are uniquely suited for dif­fer­ent uses in the kitchen. The long skinny ones tend to be “meatier”, mak­ing them great for stir-​fry appli­ca­tions. The baby sized ones are ten­der and mild, and can be eaten whole, skins and all. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the white and yel­low vari­eties are sweeter.

Graf­fiti egg­plant come in both large and small sizes. Their name comes from the inter­est­ing and pat­terned striped mark­ings on the fruit. They have small seeds and a thin peel, mak­ing them great to eat whole — no peel­ing nec­es­sary. They are per­fect for bak­ing, roast­ing and stew­ing. Names like Pur­ple Rain or Shoot­ing Stars attract attention.
Not all egg­plants are cre­ated equal. No mat­ter the vari­ety, choose an egg­plant that feels firm and heavy for its size. The skin should be vivid, glossy, and free from scars or blem­ishes. Avoid egg­plants with dis­col­ored skin or bruis­ing, which usu­ally indi­cate dam­aged flesh on the inside.

Salt­ing egg­plant before cook­ing isn’t actu­ally nec­es­sary. This tech­nique is sup­posed to limit bit­ter­ness and rid the egg­plant of any extra mois­ture. It’s rather an urban myth and not rec­om­mended, as most vari­eties have been bred with­out those bit­ter qual­i­ties.

Egg­plants are fairly del­i­cate and should not be stored for long dura­tions. Keep­ing them in the fridge with skin fully intact will keep them fresher and last­ing longer. They should keep in the crisper for five days or so, but not much longer.

The skin of an egg­plant is com­pletely edi­ble and nutrient-​rich, though often, a lit­tle tough, even after cook­ing. One tech­nique used is to alter­nately peel strips of skin from around the egg­plant. This gives a skin on, skin off blend to any dish. Only peel the skin right before cook­ing to avoid any dis­col­oration.

Global cuisines cash in on eggplant’s unri­valed excel­lence. Plant-​centric main dishes high­light this irre­sistible fall food.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.