While eggplants are available for purchase year-round, they’ll taste better in the coming weeks than they will at any other time. Look for ones that are smooth and naturally shiny, and feel heavy for their size. Only extremely large eggplant need to be salted before cooking (to reduce bitterness); average-sized ones are ready to be roasted, fried, sautéed, or pureed right away. Sliced eggplant can make a great substitute for meat or pasta. Try them in: Eggplant and Chicken Caponata Pizza Nutritional bonus: Eggplant is a great, low-calorie source of fiber.

Believe it or not, the eggplant is actually a berry! Popular in Mediterranean and Indian cuisines, it’s a delicious, versatile player worth getting to know better.

Learn how to cook eggplant.