Eggplant (US, Australia), Aubergine (UK), or Brinjal (South Asia and South Africa) is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit. Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in various cuisines. Although often considered a vegetable, it is a berry by botanical definition.
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How did the Eggplant travel to America?
Originating from the Indian subcontinent, the brinjal/eggplant/aubergine made its way around Asia traveling to Europe and North Africa via the Mediterranean Sea.It was believed to cause insanity and death there. It finally made its way to America. Here in America, it was used as a table ornament until the 1900’s, until someone found the perfectly crafted eggplant parmesan. The rest is history.
Why is it important to introduce this amazing vegetable?
Stewed, roasted, braised, steamed, deep-fried, stir-fried, battered, grilled or stuffed, the meaty eggplant has a light, earthy taste when cooked. This quality of the eggplant makes it perfect vegetable to carry a variety of flavors and any number of cooking methods and techniques.
While the eggplants are now a staple in the American grocery aisle, they’re still not getting all the attention they so rightly deserve on the American dinner table. They are a versatile vegetable, a great substitute for meat.They can absorb large amounts of sauces, fats, and flavors.What’s more they are super low calorie food!
What are the different varieties of Eggplants?
- Classic: have a smooth, deep purple skin and a large, oval shape.
- Sicilian (Zebra, Graffiti): slightly smaller with purple and white streaks
- White: have a tough, white skin
- Indian (Baby): small, round, and purple
- Japanese/Chinese: longer, thinner, and a purple stem and skin
How to pick the right eggplant?
- Eggplants are generally available year-round, with peak season in the northern hemisphere being late-summer.
- Available in purple, green, yellow and white varieties, look out for eggplants with taut, shiny, unblemished skin, and vibrant green stems when buying.
- The small and medium-sized ones will have a better, sweeter flavor, less seeds, and a more delicate skin.
How to store the eggplants?
- Do not wash before using.
- Store them in the refrigerator when you bring them home from the fresh market.
- Best used within 4-5 days of buying, with time they acquire a bitter taste.
What is the nutritional value of an eggplant?
One raw eggplant with peel(548 g) has…..
- Calories: 132
- Carbohydrates: 32
- Fiber: 19g, 75%
- Protein: 6g
- Fat: 0g
- 69% DV of Manganese: Manganese is a trace element that is important for healthy brain and nervous system function.
- 36% DV of Potassium: A key mineral and electrolyte involved in healthy nervous system functioning and contraction of the heart and muscles.
- 30% DV of Folate (Vitamin B9): A water-soluble vitamin that helps make DNA & RNA and metabolize amino acids.
- 24% DV of Vitamin K: A fat-soluble vitamin that allows for activation of enzymes in the clotting cascade, which is responsible for blood clotting. Also builds bone by modifying osteocalcin so that it may bind calcium, thus building the bone matrix.
- 23% DV of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): A water-soluble vitamin that works behind the scenes as a coenzyme in many important reactions within our body, including protein metabolism and red blood cell formation.
- 20% DV of Vitamin A: Provides the provitamin version of this fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it comes from a plant source and your body converts the plant pigment into active Vitamin A. It is essential in many components of healthy vision, as well as immunity and cell growth/differentiation.
- 20% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
- 18% DV of Niacin (Vitamin B3): A water-soluble vitamin that is a precursor to NAD, a coenzyme important for breakdown of macronutrients into fuel. Niacin may also reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
- 14% DV of Thiamin (Vitamin B1): A water-soluble vitamin that turns our food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose). People at risk for deficiency include those with Crohn’s Disease, alcoholics, and those undergoing kidney dialysis.
*DV stands for Daily Value
Source of nutrition info : https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2443/2
Why are eggplants called eggplants?
The name of eggplant was given by Europeans in the middle of the eighteenth century because the variety they knew had fruits that were the shape and size of goose eggs. That variety also had fruits that were whitish or yellowish color rather than the wine purple that is more familiar to us nowadays.
Do you soak eggplant before cooking?
Soak eggplant slices or cubes in milk for about 30 minutes before cooking. The milk not only tempers the bitterness, but it actually makes for eggplant that is extra creamy, since the vegetable acts like a sponge and soaks up a good amount of milk in its flesh.
Why do you soak eggplant in salt water?
Many recipes call for salting and rinsing eggplant before cooking it to draw out its bitterness. … This technique of soaking sliced or chopped eggplant in salt water is particularly useful when making grilled eggplant
Some of the links to my previously published recipes with eggplants are listed below for your interest.