Welcome to our eggplant baby food recipes section, where we look at how to prepare eggplants (or aubergines) when cooking for your little one!
Eggplants – also known as aubergines or brinjals – don’t usually spring to mind when you think about making food for your baby.
You’ll never see them prepared commercially as a single ingredient baby food puree, for example – and they rarely crop up on a list of baby food ingredients.
Despite their apparent lack of popularity as a baby food, eggplant may be included in your recipes for your little one, although many parents prefer to wait until around 8 months before introducing them.
Very occasionally, eggplants may be on the bitter side – and bitter eggplant can irritate the lining of the stomach, resulting in an upset tummy.
We always give cooked eggplant a quick taste before serving it up to our little ones!
That being said, modern varieties of eggplant generally taste much milder than they used to… and their reputation as a bitter vegetable is no longer well deserved!
Their texture once cooked is creamy – and eggplants have a very rich and unique flavour that works well when combined with other veggies (although it’s perfectly acceptable to give your baby plain eggplant puree if you choose).
The eggplant is rich in phytonutrients, which are antioxidants that help protect the body against serious diseases like cancer.
In later life, the consumption of eggplant is believed to lower cholesterol levels – so it’s something worth including in YOUR diet on a regular basis, too!
Eggplants are usually a lovely, glossy, purple colour – sometimes so dark they look almost black. However, they also come in white, green, yellow, lavender and orange!
Regardless of colour, the eggplant should have a smooth and shiny skin and should be firm and heavy for its size. The colour itself should be vibrant and the cap and stem should be a vivid green.
The eggplant should be as blemish-free as possible – they’re very delicate veggies and one little bruise or dent can quickly turn a larger area bad.
Eggplants come in a variety of sizes, although the best ones to choose for your baby are the smaller ones – the skin and seeds will be far more tender (very large eggplants tend to have hard seeds and tough, bitter skin).
Push against the skin with your thumb.
Eggplant will keep in the fridge for a few days (preferably in the vegetable crisper) – but treat it gently, as it is very vulnerable to damage.
DON’T cut your eggplant before you store it – the flesh will turn brown once exposed to the air.
And DON’T try to keep your eggplant for too long – the longer you store it, the more bitter it will become.
Do I need to peel it?
The skin on a small eggplant may be tender enough to leave on – however, most parents like to peel eggplants for their little ones as the skin tends to be the most bitter part.
An easy alternative to peeling eggplant is to cook it whole in its skin, then scoop out the soft flesh once cooked.
Are the seeds edible?
Yes, but – as we mentioned earlier – an eggplant that you plan to use as baby food should be small, because the seeds will be softer. You should cut out the seeds if they are hard.
Can eggplant be eaten raw?
We certainly wouldn’t recommend it for baby – the taste of raw eggplant is too bitter.
What about salting eggplant for baby food?
You may have heard that it’s a good idea to salt eggplant before cooking it. This involves slicing it, sprinkling the slices with salt, leaving them for around an hour, then rinsing them.
The purpose is twofold…
However, this practice is somewhat dated because eggplant nowadays is not particularly bitter!
Also, you probably wouldn’t be cooking eggplant in lots of oil for your baby – so salting is unnecessary and, despite rinsing, may still add extra salt to your baby’s dish (here’s why adding salt to baby food may be harmful).
The eggplant’s ability to ‘soak up’ whatever it’s cooked with makes it a great addition to stews, casseroles and other ‘saucy’ dishes – just cut off the cap and stem, peel it, dice it and pop it in the pot!
To make an easy eggplant puree…
Peel the eggplant and cut it into small chunks. Steam until tender, then mash or puree in a food processor.
Wash the whole eggplant and prick it with a fork.
Bake it for 30-40 mins at 400 deg F (200 deg C) until tender, then cool to a safe handling temperature and cut open lengthwise.
Scoop out the cooked flesh and mash or puree as desired (this is the easiest way to cook an eggplant and ideal if the skin is too tough).
We hope your little one enjoys these homemade eggplant baby food recipes – and if YOU’VE found a good way to include eggplant (aubergine) in your baby’s diet that you’d like to share, then please do contact us and let us know!