Rich in fiber, potassium and antioxidants, eggplant is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Asian recipes. Contrary to common belief, the eggplant is not a vegetable but a fruit in the berry category. The high season for eggplant in the United States is during the late summer and early autumn months, from August to October.
Choose an eggplant that is uniform in color and free from imperfections on the outer skin. Pick it up to see if it feels firm and has the same weight as an average baking potato.
Inspect the eggplant's leaves. The leaves should be full and green and show no signs of dryness or brown discoloration. Eggplants that are too ripe decay quickly.
Press your thumb or forefingers against the skin of the eggplant firmly but gently. If you leave an impression on the skin, it is too ripe and should be discarded. If you feel a slight resistance of the skin against your finger, the eggplant is ripe. Repeat along the top, body and bottom.