The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat eggplant. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What eggplant etiquette is

Eggplant etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat eggplant. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve eggplant to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat eggplant at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.


What you should know about eggplant

Eggplant is a fruit from the nightshade family.

Eggplant is typically oblong or bulb-shaped. Its skin is smooth and glossy. Its color can be various shades of purple, white, green, or black. The flesh is creamy and spongy, with small edible seeds. Its flavor is mild and slightly sweet with a slightly bitter note.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat eggplant

1) How to store eggplant

It is best to store eggplant at a temperature between 50-55°F (10-13°C) in a cool and dry place. Keep it away from sources of heat and direct sunlight. In the pantry, eggplant can last for about a week.

You can also store eggplant in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

After slicing or cooking eggplant, you should store in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Eat it within 4 days.

2) How to clean eggplant

To clean eggplant, rinse it under cool running water. Gently scrub it with a soft brush. There are no significant health risks associated with cleaning eggplant, but it is important to ensure that it is fully ripe before eating or cooking.

Signs that eggplant has turned bad include softness, mushiness, discoloring, or a strong foul odor.

3) How to cook eggplant

Eggplant can be eaten both raw and cooked.

Common cooking methods include roasting, grilling, sautéing, frying, and baking. Eggplant is often used in dishes like ratatouille, baba ghanoush, and moussaka. Some popular eggplant dishes include eggplant parmesan, caponata, and stuffed eggplant.

Eggplant is not very common in salads and sandwiches. You can use it in various creative ways, such as in dips, spreads, and casseroles.

4) How to serve & present eggplant

Eggplant is a versatile ingredient, suitable for both formal and informal meals. You can serve it as a side dish, main course, or appetizer.

It is best to serve eggplant at room temperature or slightly warm. Present it on a plate or in a bowl, with serving tools such as tongs or a serving spoon.

5) Food and wine to pair eggplant with

Eggplant pairs well with a wide range of flavors. Such as garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and thyme.

You can serve eggplant with other vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and zucchini. You can also pair it with fruit, such as citrus or pomegranate seeds. It is best to avoid pairing eggplant with other bitter vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or bitter melon.

Eggplant can pair well with cheese and dairy, such as feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, or ricotta. It is best to avoid pairing it with strong or pungent cheeses, such as blue cheese or stilton.

Eggplant can pair with various types of meat, such as chicken, beef, or lamb. It also pairs well with fish. In particular, it combines well with oily fish, such as salmon or sardines. It is best to avoid pairing eggplant with seafood that has a delicate flavor.

Wine and beverage pairings with eggplant vary depending on the dish and the preparation. Red wines with medium to full body, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, can pair well with grilled or roasted eggplant. White wines with high acidity and floral or citrus notes, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, can pair with lighter eggplant dishes, such as salads or soups. Rosé wine can also work well with eggplant dishes. Sparkling wine, dessert wine, beer, and spirits are less common pairings for eggplant.

6) How to eat eggplant

The most polite etiquette to eat eggplant is to use a fork and knife. Eating eggplants with your fingers is generally considered impolite in formal settings. The entire fruit is edible, including the peel. However, some people may choose to discard the stem or any tough or bitter parts.

Eggplant etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common eggplant etiquette mistakes:

  • 7/10. Cutting the eggplant incorrectly.
  • 4/10. Not properly seasoning or cooking eggplants.

Additional information for properly serving eggplant

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Eggplant contains about 25 calories per 100 grams. One medium-sized eggplant contains around 130 calories.

How to buy the best eggplant

A crucial factor in eggplant etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Eggplant is generally available all year round. However, the peak season varies depending on the region. Usually, peak eggplant season is from July to October.

Choose the best

Eggplant is commonly available fresh in commerce. You can also find it canned, dried, or frozen.

There are many different varieties of eggplant in commerce. The most popular include Globe eggplant, Japanese eggplant, and Italian eggplant. Globe eggplant is the most common variety in the United States. Japanese eggplant is smaller and thinner with a sweeter flavor. Italian eggplant is longer and thinner than Globe eggplant and is best in dishes such as Eggplant Parmesan.

To buy the best eggplant, look for a fruit that is firm and shiny, and feels heavy for its size. The skin should be smooth and free from blemishes. The stem should be green and attached. Avoid eggplants that are soft, wrinkled, or have brown spots.

Alternatives to eggplant

Some common alternatives to eggplant in dishes include zucchini, bell peppers, and mushrooms. These ingredients can provide similar textures and flavors in various recipes.