Eggplant, also known as aubergine, anara, or brinjal that is grown worldwide for its edible fruit (1). We generally think of the beautiful purple color, but it can also be white and egg shaped (hence the name). It can be used in many different styles of cooking due to its ability to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking.
Botanically, it is classified as a berry due to the fact that it contains many small, soft, edible seeds. The seeds taste bitter because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids.
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Serving to Babies
Avoid adding extra salt when serving foods to babies. Make sure that the eggplant is soft when offering. Younger babies will do better with a stick shape whereas older babies may prefer smaller pieces.
Eggplants do not provide a lot of micronutrients. They do provide a moderate amount of manganese. While they have a negligible amount of fat, they are capable of absorbing fat during the cooking process. The purple color comes from the anthocyanin nasunin. Eggplants also contain fiber which can help establish a healthy microbiome.
At the store
Look for eggplants that are firm. Check to make sure that there isn’t any bruising or soft spots. Smaller fruit tends to be more tender with thinner skin.
You can store eggplant right on the counter. Do not cut it until you are ready to prepare it. Avoid direct sunlight if possible.
Raw eggplant can gave a bitter taste, so it is usually served cooked. Rinsing, draining, and salting it before cooking can help remove some of the bitterness. Due to its texture, it is often used as a meat substitute, although nutritionally it is not equivalent.
Simple Teriyaki Eggplant Stir Fry
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 medium bell pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp ginger
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce (adjust depending on how saucy you like it)
- 1 cup edamame
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
- Slice eggplant and bell pepper.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, ginger, eggplant, and bell pepper. Cook 5-10 minutes or until soft.
- Add in edamame and teriyaki sauce. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve over rice or alternative grain.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.