There are many varieties of eggplant to choose from, in various colours, shapes and sizes. They can range from small and young to large and mature.
The most common variety is the large Globe eggplant. These purple, pear-shaped eggplants have smooth and glossy skin, and are often used in hearty dishes like eggplant parmesan.
Italia eggplants look like smaller versions of the common pear-shaped variety. However, the skin and flesh is more delicate than its larger counterpart.
Japanese eggplants are long, thin, and very dark in colour. They take on a soft and creamy texture when cooked, and have a mildly sweet flavour. These are best used in sautéed dishes or stir-fries.
Chinese eggplants are a bit lighter in colour and are slightly less sweet than the Japanese variety. They have a meaty flesh that is ideal for sautéed dishes or stir-fries.
Indian eggplants are small and round, with dark purple skin. These tender eggplants cook quickly, and have a mild sweet flavour.
White eggplants are available in a variety similar to the large common type, as well as smaller Italian eggplants called Bianco. You can also find white Japanese eggplants. White eggplant tends to have a tougher skin and a more astringent flavour than purple ones.