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Belonging to the nightshade family of vegetables which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.  Described as having a pleasantly bitter taste and a spongy texture.  Resembles a pear-shaped egg – glossy, deep purple in color.

Handling and Storage  
Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size.  The skin should be smooth and shiny.  Eggplant should be free of discoloration, scars and bruises.  The stem and cap should be bright green in color.  To test for ripeness, gently press the skin with the pad of your thumb.  If it springs back, it is ripe – if it does not, and an indentation remains it is not.  Eggplants are sensitive and highly perishable.  They should ideally be stored at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  Store in the refrigerator if 50 degrees cannot be obtained.  If eggplant is in plastic wrap, remove as soon as possible because it will inhibit it from breathing and degrade its freshness.
Varieties
Chinese; Indian (Baby); Italian; Japanese; Sicilian; White; Regular (Purple)
Common Names
Aubergine (France)
Availability
Year round (peak – August – October)

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