| Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, it's related to the potato and tomato. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit, specifically a berry.
Also see Recipes: Eggplant -- Baba Ganoush
There are many varieties of this delicious food, ranging in color from rich purple to white, in length from 2 to 12 inches and in shape from oblong to round. In the United States, the most common eggplant is the large, cylindrical- or pear-shape variety with a smooth, glossy, dark purple skin. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots. Eggplants become bitter with age and are very perishable. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a day or two of purchase. If longer storage is necessary, place the eggplant in the refrigerator vegetable drawer. Eggplant can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling and frying. It does, however, have spongelike capacity to soak up oil so it should be well coated with a batter or crumb mixture to inhibit fat absorption.