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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 7 years ago

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15 answers 57524 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 7 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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B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 7 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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34b35e7d 9f0b 412e bbb2 00e0498f86d5  2016 10 06 19 40 38
added about 7 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.

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73cd846c b69c 41fe 8f8b 7a3aa8dd3b93  desert
added about 7 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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72b8c92f c97c 49cf 8fc2 4b08462521f6  me
added about 7 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.

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73cd846c b69c 41fe 8f8b 7a3aa8dd3b93  desert
added about 7 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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B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 7 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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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added about 7 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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79951eb6 6cc6 49ec beac f4df333fc031  img 3190
added about 7 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.

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Fff96a46 7810 4f5c a452 83604ac1e363  dsc03010
added about 7 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.

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Bb911bcd 2446 4d8f 848f cdc2090e999a  leaf cake
added about 7 years ago

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

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years 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!

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4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years 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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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years ago

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

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F4abc4c1 4fa5 44e8 9ee3 663868621a64  stringio
added 6 months ago

I've tried it both ways but I prefer to not salt especially if I'm making eggplant parmesan I find that after I dip them in the flour egg breadcrumbs and fry them and once you add the marinara and mozzarella cheese and sauce I can't tell the difference but if you want to talk go for it

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