With their unique taste and texture, eggplant is available in markets throughout the year and throughout the world, but they are at their very best locally grown and in season from late July through October in our region.
Eggplants originated in India and have been an important part of Indian and Chinese cuisine dating back to the 5th century B.C. They belong to the nightshade family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.
Eggplants come in all colors and shapes and grow to perhaps three feet high. Giving them just a bit of support is often helpful. The varieties range slightly in taste and texture, and in general the eggplant has a pleasant rich and complex taste.
Recipes often speak of soaking or salting to remove bitterness. This should not be necessary with any of these varieties as they have been selected because of their lack of bitterness. Bitterness is also more common in an eggplant that has sat too long on the shelf in a supermarket. Harvested in a timely fashion and eaten fresh, bitterness should never be an issue for you and soaking and salting have never been necessary for me.
Hattie provides two types of eggplant.