Good Question: Why is My Roasted Eggplant Bitter?

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Eggplant is a relatively new endeavor for us; we love all sorts of veggies but have been put off by eggplant for various reasons. Lately, though, we've been really enjoying it roasted - especially in pureed dips like baba ghanoush.

One of the last batches turned out to have an unpleasant, astringent bitterness, and we went looking for answers to our very own good question. Why did it turn out so bitter, when previous batches of roasted eggplant have been sweet and smoky? Read on for some of the answers we came up with...

Let the "bitter juice" drain - We made an especially sweet batch of baba ghanoush late one evening after roasting the eggplant in the afternoon and letting it sit out for hours until we got around to it. This may have inadvertently let all the bitter juices collect and drain out. The bitter batch was pureed warm, directly out of the oven.

We did one more batch and this time let it cool completely, pressing out the juice into the sink before we pureed it. This was very good and had a much sweeter taste.

Smaller is better - Smaller, more slender eggplants, like Chinese eggplants, tend to be less bitter.

Go seedless - We like the texture of the tiny seeds in an eggplant, but removing a few of the tougher layers of seeds after roasting can also cut down on bitterness in the finished dish.

Do you like the bitterness of eggplants? A friend prefers them more bitter than sweet. Or do you have other ways to get rid of that astringent taste?

(Image credit: Mariquita Farm)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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