The fruit is fleshy, has a meaty texture. The fruit is botanically classified as a berry and contains numerous small, soft seeds which are edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids; this is unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.
The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor.
Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit (known as "degorging"), to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness of the earlier cultivars.
Some modern varieties - including large, purple varieties commonly imported into western Europe - do not need this treatment.
The fruit is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed.
The fruit flesh is smooth; as in the related tomato, the numerous seeds are soft and edible along with the rest of the fruit. The thin skin is also edible.
Style: fresh fruit
Style: frozen slices