Don't let differences in shape and color mislead you - all eggplants have a thin, smooth, waxy skin, rounded base, and leathery 5-pointed leaf-cap enclosing the stem end. It may be egg-shaped or elongated, as small as 2 inches long or as large as 8-10 inches, and its color may be purple, green/pale green, yellow or white.

Select young, firm, unblemished fruits. Avoid older ones in which seeds will have developed, and shrivelling ones in which flavor and texture will be inferior.