Redditors Weigh In On Why Eggplant Is Such A Divisive Vegetable

There are some vegetables that you can serve and feel pretty confident that most people will eat them — they're a safe bet for dinner parties, potluck dishes, and the like. They include many that are popular in America, such as potatoes, corn, and green beans, according to YouGov America. On the other end of the spectrum, there are certain vegetables that are notoriously divisive — many people either love them or hate them. 

Eggplant is one vegetable that often elicits diverse reactions — and one Reddit user created a post soliciting opinions so that they could determine why exactly this was the case. The simple post, titled "So what's the deal with the aversion to eggplant," racked up 844 comments within just one day.

Many individuals opined that the aversion isn't necessarily with eggplant itself, but rather with how it is typically prepared. One user wrote, "I think the majority of food aversion [to eggplant] is due to how easy it is to screw it up." Another weighed in, commenting "many people haven't had well prepared eggplant." Several users mentioned the reason they like eggplant is because of Greek or Middle Eastern dishes they'd tried with it in it, commenting that perhaps there just aren't many good American dishes incorporating eggplant. 

What are the specific issues people have with preparing and cooking the vegetable?

The trouble with preparing eggplant

When it comes to cooking with eggplant, two major issues stand out that can turn a tasty dish into something unpopular.

The first is the porous nature of the vegetable. While some beloved produce like carrots and potatoes can be slathered in oil with no issue, as user IAmAQuailBiologist wrote on the Reddit thread, "eggplant sponges up any oil it even looks at really effectively thanks to the porous flesh." This is because an eggplant is literally a bit like a sponge — as per The Kitchn, it's loaded with small air pockets that can quickly fill up, which isn't always something you want. A few tips to combat the porosity include soaking the eggplant in milk, sweating the eggplant, or changing how you use cooking fat. Brushing oil or butter onto the eggplant itself rather than coating the pan can help the vegetable to not absorb too much.

Another common complaint for poorly-prepared eggplant is that it can taste bitter, as Plant Food at Home explains. Again, this is just because of what's in the vegetable itself. A particular compound, Anthocyanin, can cause that bitter taste, which gets worse the older eggplants are. One step to address this is and make eggplant less bitter is to cook with the freshest one you can find. You can also try salting the eggplant, soaking it in milk (this tip does double duty), or removing the skin or seeds to try to combat some of the bitterness.