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Aubergines / Eggplants are sometimes bitter or particularly seedy. Since this is at the market or supermarket, we can look at it, smell it and carefully touch it, but not poke mushy indentations in it or pierce its skin.

Is there a way to tell whether it is bitter or has many seeds?

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  • I recall it also being gender dependent (the eggplants are male and female) which can be told by looking at the flower end. Small spot means male and less seeds. Big spot means female and more seeds. – mroll Jul 1 '20 at 14:15
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Eggplants become bitter as they mature so your best bet is to buy freshly picked eggplants and to use them as soon as you can. Look for a full-size eggplant with a glossy and firm purple. Once an eggplant's color dulls, it becomes more bitter.

The "seediness" of eggplants may also vary depending on what variety of eggplant you've purchased so try a variety of them to see which ones you like best!

If you end up with a bitter eggplant, try slicing it, salting the slices, and allowing them to drain for an hour. Then, remove excess salt and moisture by pressing on the slices with a kitchen towel. This can help the eggplant taste less bitter.

Fun fact: Eggplants are bitter because they contain phenolic compounds, which impart bitterness! Lots more great science about eggplants in that link :)

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There are many varieties of eggplant. So that's one place to start. Chinese eggplant, the long, narrow, purple ones, generally have few seeds and are not bitter. However, that is one of, I don't know, over a dozen varieties. It might be good to attempt to locate some of these varieties and try them.

Not sure where you are writing from, but perhaps most common in the US, is the globe eggplant. Most of the bitterness has be bred out of this variety. In general, I look for smaller sizes, which tend to have fewer seeds. No matter which variety you choose, they should be firm, probably shiny...healthy looking.

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