Raw aubergine (eggplant) is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and has negligible fat. It provides low amounts of essential nutrients, with only manganese having a moderate percentage (11%) of the Daily Value. Minor changes in nutrient composition occur with season, environment of cultivation (open field or greenhouse), and genotype.
Raw aubergine can have a bitter taste, with an astringent quality, but it becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Rinsing, draining, and salting the sliced fruit before cooking may remove the bitterness. The fruit is capable of absorbing cooking fats and sauces, which may enhance the flavor of eggplant dishes.
Eggplant is used in the cuisines of many countries. Due to its texture and bulk, it is sometimes used as a meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisines. Eggplant flesh is smooth. Its numerous seeds are small, soft and edible, along with the rest of the fruit, and do not have to be removed. Its thin skin is also edible, and so it does not have to be peeled. However, the green part at the top, the calyx, does have to be removed when preparing an eggplant for cooking.
Eggplant can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are sauces made by mashing the cooked fruit. It can also be stuffed.