Have you ever
eaten eggplant that's been unpleasantly bitter? Especially if you
live in a cold country, this is often a problem and has put many
people off what can be a delicious and healthy vegetable.
in eggplant is caused by toxins that build up if the eggplant has
grown slowly (hence it's more of a problem in colder countries,
less of a problem in sunny Meditteranean climates). If you can buy
smaller, heavier eggplants, it's less likely to be a problem.
can also cause gastric upsets, so I always ask guests if anyone
is sensitive to eggplant if I'm cooking them dinner.
There IS however
a way to reduce the bitterness (toxins) - with humble salt. Cut
up the eggplant into slices or cubes, as appropriate fro what you'll
be cooking, then either soak in heavily salted water for a couple
of hours, or sprinkle the dry, cut pieces heavily with salt. The
eggplant will give off a brownish sweat, which you then rinse off
before cooking. This process is called degorging.
I do it depending on the time of year, and also the size and weight
of the eggplant.
This is actually
one of the only times I use salt in cooking - and I always rinse
the eggplant several times before cooking it.