Italian Eggplant can be an elongated pear-shape or almost cylindrical, with a glossy deep purple skin.
Eggplant is never eaten raw, but it can be baked, grilled, or sautéed. If it is young, the skin is edible; however, as it ages the skin becomes bitter and may need peeling. Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, so are less bitter than female eggplants. To tell the difference, look at the indentation at the bottom. If it’s deep and shaped like a dash, it's a female. If it's shallow and round, it's a male. Smaller eggplants also tend to be the best tasting.