How Long To Bake An Eggplant (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 35-40 minutes

Eggplant belongs to the family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is its scientific name. This plant species is grown worldwide for the fruit it produces. The fruit is berry-like, edible, mostly purple and spongy. It is to note that China and India alone are responsible for 87% of the total production of eggplant. The eggplant has been described as native from India from where it spread to Africa and other continents of the world.

Some of the morphological features of this plant are that its stem is a little spiny and its flowers can vary in colour from anywhere between white to purple. It is known by different names in different parts of the world. It is often called “baingan” in India and “Brinjal” in South Asia. There are 10 different varieties of eggplant known so far.

The part which is eaten is the glossy-purple fruit that this plant bears. The fruit is mostly tear-drop-shaped but also comes in a wide variety of shapes and colours. This fruit is highly nutritious. It contains several vitamins such as vitamin A, C and K. It also contains carbohydrates, calcium and other essential nutrients. It is 80-90% water.

How Long To Bake An Eggplant

How Long To Bake An Eggplant?

Eggplants are baked to reduce their oil absorption. The fruits of eggplant are spongy. Upon frying, they absorb a huge quantity of oil. To reduce oil uptake, they are baked. Baking also ensures that flavours are rightly absorbed by the fruit.

Baking an entire eggplant does not need any oil at all. It should be poked before baking in order to prevent it from exploding due to excessive steam. Sliced pieces have to be brushed with oil so that it doesn’t get burned. Cubed pieces need a little more oil to get cooked properly. The oven temperature considered appropriate is 375 F.

It is said that the smaller the pieces of eggplants, the easier it is for them to get baked. The following table shows how long do different sizes of eggplants take to bake-

Size Of The FruitBaking Time
Whole or halved fruit45 minutes
Sliced pieces20 minutes
Cubed pieces40-45 minutes

How Does Eggplant Take This Long To Cook In Oven?

Eggplant is relatively a simpler dish to prepare. The timing largely depends on the size and variety of the fruit. It usually takes 20 minutes for the fruit of normal size to get baked. Upon cooking, the skin of the eggplant starts to get wrinkles and begin to collapse. The interior part is creamy white and has got several seeds. Upon cooking, this part also starts to get softer and milkier.

In order to bake an eggplant following steps have to be followed-

  1. Selection of good fruit – The fruit should be firm, ripe and of dark purple colour.
  2. Wash the eggplant – Wash the fruit to remove all the dirt.
  3. Slice the eggplant – Slice the plant in any way. It may be cubical, or disk-shaped or lengthwise.
  4. Sprinkle – Sprinkle the chopped pieces with some salt and seasonings.
  5. Oil – Brush some oil on the pieces so that it doesn’t get burned.
  6. Prepare the oven – Pre-heat the oven at 375 F.
  7. Bake – Bake the prepared eggplant until it becomes brown and crisp.

Conclusion

Eggplant is consumed worldwide. It is used to prepare several Mexican, Indian, and Chinese dishes. Eggplants also have a varied amount of health benefits. In the ancient Ayurveda system, the white eggplant is used to treat several diseases mainly asthma. It is quite rich in potassium and fibre. It also consists of vitamins and anti-oxidants.

It is important to cook the eggplant properly as undercooking and overcooking have their consequences. If the fruit is undercooked, the after-taste will be bitter and not so pleasant and overcooking results in that unpleasant wobbly texture. Pre-salting before baking is extremely important so it would soften the texture upon baking. Also, salting ensures that the fruit doesn’t drink up excess oil.

Not removing the peel also can be problematic as it gets hard and difficult to chew after baking. A properly stored dish of eggplant can last for 3-5 days in a refrigerator. Proper selection, cutting, salting and baking are needed to get the perfectly baked eggplant.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780080408262500473
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4614-9572-7_16