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Italian Eggplant can be an elongated pear-shape or almost cylindrical, with a glossy deep purple skin. This is a meaty, mild-tasting vegetable that is low in calories. It is never eaten raw, but it can be baked, grilled, or sautéed. If it is young, the skin is edible; however, as it ages the skin becomes bitter and may need peeling.
Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, so are less bitter than female eggplants. To tell the difference, look at the indentation at the bottom. If it’s deep and shaped like a dash, it's a female. If it's shallow and round, it's a male. Smaller eggplants also tend to be the best tasting.
Choose eggplant that is heavy for its size with firm, glossy skin and no scarring, tops should be bright green. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to ten days.
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