Unblemished, aubergines should last well in the salad drawer for up to four days. Use them while they’re still smooth-skinned and firm and feel heavy for their size; once they’ve turned wrinkled and flabby, they may taste bitter.
Wash aubergines just before preparing them then cut off their stem and leafy cap.
to peel or not to peel?
The skin is edible but, although it looks nice, can be unpleasantly tough even once cooked. If you’re deep-frying, it’s best to remove it all. If you’re shallow-frying or grilling it, there is no need to peel. Keep the skin on for stuffed or charred aubergines. A useful halfway house is to ‘pyjama’ the aubergine: use a vegetable peeler to remove lengthways strips of skin, leaving your aubergine striped. This works well for roasted and fried aubergine chunks.