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Does "sweating" eggplant really make a difference? Sweating -- where you sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let it sit for 30 mins or so in a colander to get out the "bitter" juices. I always do it, but wonder if I really need to. I will say that the eggplant always seems more tender when I do it, which would make sense. I just wonder if it really does anything for "bitter juices."

asked by jenmmcd about 4 years ago
14 answers 24633 views
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added about 4 years ago

I love eggplant, but have never been convinced of the need to salt it before cooking like is usually recommended. I read recently that this step is more useful for larger eggplants, which are apparently more likely to carry undesirable bitterness often associated with eggplant.

Even if the salting doesn't have a great effect on the amount of perceived bitterness in an eggplant, the benefits of the juices being seasoned and returning to the flesh are probably worth the time if you have it. When I cook a steak or something like that, I salt it about 40 minutes before cooking. The juices come out of the meat, get seasoned with the salt, and eventually make their way back into the meat, doing a better job of seasoning it than can be achieved by salting immmediately before or during cooking.

I'm not sure that the same principle would apply to vegetables, but if you're convinced that the taste of your dishes are improved, then you may as well do it when you have time before cooking.

...but then again, I'm not a guy who salts his eggplant.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

As someone who has both salted and not salted larger eggplants (i.e., regular ones, not Japanese or Chinese), I know that it does make a difference in reducing the bitterness. Fortunately, I have fairly regular access to the smaller varieties, grown locally and picked recently, so I always use them instead. They never need salting, and also seem more tender without long periods of cooking. ;o)

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added about 4 years ago

I'm a salter. It's more important, as AntoniaJames says above, for larger eggplants, but even when I'm working with smaller varieties, I will at least salt them lightly to draw moisture out and get the seasoning process going.

Desert
added about 4 years ago

I vote yes as well. Salting to me removes bitterness. When I eat eagplant and don't gag, I know it's beens salted ahead of cooking.

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added about 4 years ago

yes, another tip, this one for cucumbers, if you slice of the end and rub the two ends together for a minute it will get rid of bitterness as well. Japanese use this trick a lot.

Desert
added about 4 years ago

T- I've done this several times and it amazes me. I would love to hear a scientific expination of this phenom. Have you ever heard one?

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 years ago

Mr. Hirschfeld and DonnyG, I looked into this a few months ago and it seems that this rubbing together practice has never been proven to do a thing. The truth is, many cucumbers are bitter near the blossom end. They aren't bitter anywhere else. You cut off an inch or two, depending on the size of the cucumber, at the blossom end, and you get rid of all of the bitterness, with or without the rubbing activity. ;o)

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added about 4 years ago

I found that salting eggplant also help them absorb less oil when you sauté them, and they do cook faster as you have already got rid of all that water. Just be sure to squeeze them well after salting - it also helps to put them on some paper towels.

the only time I would not salt them is before grilling or oven roasting.

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added about 4 years ago

I salt when the eggplant is a bit old, but when it's fresh (firm and maybe even garden fresh), I don't.
Recent yummy eggplant recipe:
Cut a large eggplant, any color) into 3/4 inch rounds
Place on baking sheet lined with parchment.
Salt for 30 minutes, then wipe off the moisture with paper towel.
Brush with olive oil, Louisiana hot sauce, Pomegranate Glaze, bit of Soy Sauce.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or so, then turn the slices and back another 15 or so. Watch so they don't burn.

Dsc03010
added about 4 years ago

I salt, but not to remove any bitterness. I've yet to meet an eggplant young or old, slim or plump, purple, white or striped, that is bitter. Astringent, yes, but not bitter.

I salt for two reasons: One, to get a jump start on seasoning; and two, to remove excess moisture. Macerating draws out the liquid that otherwise makes for a watery ratatouille or a soggy parmesan.

Cakes
added about 4 years ago

I salt to remove excess moisture when I fry up my eggplant.

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added over 1 year ago

For years, I salted eggplant before cooking. Whether from my garden or the store, I thought that was the only way. Well, surprise, it made no difference when one day in a dinner-time hurry, I sliced, oiled and slapped it on the grill. Just as sweet and the leftovers make a scrumptious addition to homemade pizza, or even layered in vegetable lasagna.The smokiness from the grill enhances the dish, but indoor grilling works well in a pinch. My diet has changed to exclude gluten, GMO, sugar and dairy, so grilling with herbs enhances all dishes for me...especially the eggplant!

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 1 year ago

It alld epends upon what I'm making. For Eggplant Parm or Moussaka I salt. Or for Eggplant Pizzas. But for Ratatouille or Melitzanosalata there's no need. mmmmmm Melitzanosalata. Think I need to make some!

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added over 1 year ago

Roseann, you are answering a question asked 3 years ago. I think they're good now!