Eggplants are related to tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. The fruit of eggplants is often large and decidedly egg-shaped, although there are varieties that are long, curved and slender. The eggplant skin color can range from creamy white to deep purple. Eggplant tends to be less nutritious than other vegetables, but does have some redeeming qualities, including offering high dietary fiber and low calories and fat.
While most people think of the purple American variety when they hear the word "eggplant," there are actually many versions of this vegetable, grown all over the world.
Eggplants are known by a variety of names, such as patlican, melongene, and garden apple, and they can be used in dishes in place of portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and okra. All varieties of eggplants are filling, yet low in calories, making them a great diet addition.
Rosa Bianca Thai Kermit
The average-sized American eggplant weighs about a pound and yields four to five cups of vegetable when peeled and cubed. These are the purple plants most common in supermarkets in the United States and are sometimes called classic or regular eggplants. Specific types of American eggplants include Black Magic, Black Beauty and Black Bell. All have a green calyx and a bulbous oval shape.
Asian eggplants are less bitter than American eggplants, as they have fewer seeds. Specific types include the Chinese eggplant, which is long and slender and the Japanese eggplant, which is smaller than the American version and has a dark calyx. Asian eggplants available in the United States are most commonly purple, through there are also pink, white, and green varieties.
White eggplants are firmer than American eggplants and, of course, are white in color. They have a smooth skin and are the reason eggplants were originally named as such - they look like eggs with a green calyx. These eggplants have a tough skin and creamier texture, so they may not be able to replace American eggplants in every recipe.
Italian eggplants are purple, but usually smaller than American eggplants. They also have a green calyx and are extremely similar in taste and texture to American eggplants, so they can easily fit into almost any eggplant recipe.
Thai eggplants are about the size of golf balls with a green, white, or yellow skin, so they look very different when compared to the classic eggplant. These eggplants are more bitter than most other varieties, so the seeds should be removed prior to cooking to take away some of that bitter taste.
Along with the popular varieties already listed, there are also a number of lesser-known varieties grown in specific regions around the world. These include the long and slender Pingtung eggplant, the purple and white streaked Sicilian eggplant, the tiny grape-like pea eggplant, the very long and skinny Hawaiian eggplant, and the round green apple eggplant.
Consumption of the eggplant was initially thought to cause insanity. Asian countries first embraced this fruit vegetable in the kitchen about 3 A.D. Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, brought eggplant as an exotic food plant into his garden in Monticello.
If you are bitten by a scorpion, apply raw eggplant.
Eggplant originated in India where they grow wild. By the fifth century, eggplant was cultivated in China, later spreading to Africa and Europe. Because of eggplants' tendency toward bitterness in early varieties, it was assumed that it could change one's personality to a bitter attitude, and so, was often ignored as a food. Later, varieties that were not bitter were developed increasing the popularity of eggplant. Eggplant eventually came to the United States and is grown widely in many regions both commercially and in home gardens.
Eggplant should be firm and feel relatively heavy, with smooth, shiny skin. While it does come in many colors, eggplant should be strongly colored and not have bruises or discoloration. Eggplants spoil easily and should be stored intact and cut only when ready to be prepared for eating.
Eggplants have several beneficial nutrients and a mild flavor, making them a good addition to a healthy and well-balanced diet. Including eggplant in soup is easy and quick, allowing you to prepare new versions of your favorite recipes. Choose eggplants that have a firm, shiny skin without blemishes. An eggplant will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
The phytonutrients in eggplant act as antioxidants that help to reduce the number of free radicals in the body which damage cells and may contribute to certain diseases, including some cancers and heart diseases. Eggplants are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help improve cardiovascular and digestive health.
One serving of a single cup of cubed eggplant, approximately 99 g, contains 35 calories. Eggplant contains 1 g of protein, no fat and no cholesterol. There are 9 g of carbohydrates in a serving of eggplant, including 2 g of fiber. Eggplant is naturally low in sodium, containing only 1 g per serving, but it is often salted as a flavoring and to remove the bitter flavor that some eggplant has.
Eggplant contains 5 percent of the daily recommendation of thiamin. Other vitamins in eggplant include niacin, folate, choline, pantothenic acid and vitamins A, C, E, K and B6. There is 6 percent of the daily value of manganese in eggplant. Eggplant also contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, copper and iron.
Eggplants are a good source of phytochemicals, many of which function as antioxidants in the body. The phenolic compounds, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, scavenge free radicals that can cause damage in the body if left unchecked, helping protect cells from cancer. Phenolic compounds also might have antimicrobial and antiviral properties and have shown promise for lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, explains World's Healthiest Foods. Eggplant also contains antioxidant flavonoids including the anthocyanin nasunin, which protects cell membranes in the brain and helps prevent the toxic buildup of iron in the body.
Eggplant consumption might help protect cardiovascular health by relaxing blood vessels and reducing cholesterol levels in the blood, although there have been few human studies on these effects, so the evidence is scant. The soluble fiber in eggplants can improve colon health and might lead to a reduction in colon cancer risk.
Eggplant can be part of an overall healthy diet when included as one of the 2 1/2 cups, or five servings, of vegetables that should be consumed daily, as recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to the University of Arizona, a whole eggplant can be kept after purchase for two days at room temperature. Do not, however, cut an eggplant and try to keep it at room temperature, as it perishes very quickly once the skin is cut; store cut eggplant in a refrigerator.
Whole eggplants can last from four days to a week in the refrigerator without having been cut. The Washington Post indicates that the Asian variety of eggplant, which is long and much thinner than the more common variety in the U.S., should be kept in a refrigerator, too, and can last up to five days. Try to store the produce in a slightly warmer section of the fridge, like a crisping drawer, to avoid negative effects of bitter cold near the freezer unit. Look for shriveling as a sign of aging, and use the eggplant immediately.
For longer-term storage, eggplants can be frozen. First wash them in warm water, cut off the ends and skin it, then slice it into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Boil one gallon of water with one cup of lemon juice. Boil the eggplant slices for four minutes and then spoon out with a straining utensil and add immediately to a bowl of ice water and let it sit for five minutes. PickYourOwn.org states that it's important to keep adding ice when needed to keep the water completely chilled. Place the blanched eggplant slices in freezer bags or vacuum bags and seal. The eggplant should be good for up to five months in a freezer bag, or 14 months in a vacuum sealed bag. If you like eggplant Parmesan, you can batter dip them, coat them in bread crumbs and then freeze them on wax paper before putting them in freezer bags. Then there's no hassle when you take them out to fry them up.
You can't throw a whole eggplant into a pot of soup -- they require a little bit of preparation before cooking. The skin of an eggplant is often bitter. Some experts recommend peeling the eggplant, but the skin contains nutrients and softens with cooking. Peeling the eggplant is a matter of personal preference. To do so, wash the eggplant with soap and water and use a peeler or paring knife to remove the skin. Skin-on or peeled, the eggplant cooks better in soup chopped or diced. Use a sharp knife and cut the eggplant into slices, starting from the large end and working toward the narrow top. Cut each slice into cubes.
Eggplants are high in moisture, which means they absorb the flavors around them. Season the eggplant before cooking, which allows the herbs or spices you use to soak into the vegetable. Salt, pepper, garlic, curry, thyme and Italian seasoning are choices that pair well with the flavor of eggplant. Large eggplants might have larger than average seeds. Use a small spoon to scoop them out before cooking.
Peeling an eggplant
Many common eggplant recipes -- eggplant parmesan, grilled eggplant slices -- do not require removing the skins. However, it's best to peel off the skin if it is thick or tough to improve the taste and texture of your recipe. When left intact, thick skin can increase the cooking time, resulting in overcooked eggplant flesh, the University of Illinois Extension advises. If you don't want to waste time peeling, look for thinned-skin eggplants at the market.
Wash the eggplant in the kitchen sink and pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Lay the eggplant flat on a cutting board.
Cut off the cap and stem with a sharp knife and set them aside or dispose of them.
Pick up the eggplant in one hand and a vegetable peeler in the other.
Peel off long strips of the skin with the peeler. Do this over a kitchen sink if you have a disposal or over a large bowl to help make the clean-up easier.
Rotate the eggplant in your hand and peel off the skin at both ends.
As an Ingredient
Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that works well in Greek, Italian, Indian and Chinese recipes. Breading and frying eggplant gives it a crisp, tasty exterior but this technique adds unnecessary calories and fat to your recipes. Eggplant does absorb plenty of oil no matter how you prepare it, but using a method other than frying enables you to avoid using more oil than necessary. Oil does tend to hold flavor, so when you cook eggplant with less oil it is a good idea to add flavor in other ways, like using extra seasoning or high-quality ingredients such as good vinegars.
Sauteeing eggplant involves cooking it in oil, although you use considerably less oil than when you fry it. Sauteeing also uses lower heat than frying. You can sauté eggplant in a low-heat oil such as olive oil, unlike frying, which requires a high-heat oil such as peanut oil. When sauteeing eggplant, stir it often so it does not stick to the pan.
To roast eggplant, heat your oven to 375 F and cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices or 1-inch cubes. If you've cut the eggplant into slices, coat each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush or by dipping each slice in a shallow bowl of olive oil. If you've cut your eggplant into cubes, toss them with enough olive oil to coat them. Arrange the oiled eggplant pieces on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and then roast them for 20 minutes to half an hour, until they're soft all the way through.
Eggplant cooks beautifully on the grill. Marinate eggplant slices in olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Arrange the slices on your grill, cook them for about five minutes, and them flip them over and cook them for another five minutes on the other side. Alternatively, you can marinate the eggplant slices in barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce or any other tasty marinade before grilling them.
Steaming eggplant is an nontraditional way of cooking it, but it does accomplish the desired objective of heating it through and softening it. You can steam eggplant in a perforated double-layer pot, or in a standard pot with a removable steamer basket. Run about an inch of water into the bottom layer of the double pot or the pot holding the steamer basket. Slice the eggplant thinly if you are preparing eggplant Parmesan or in 1-inch cubes for most other purposes. Arrange the pieces in the steamer, bring the water to a boil, cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for five to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of eggplant you are cooking.
As a Thickener
Eggplant is a nutritious way to make creamy and pureed soups thicker and easier to eat. The mild taste of eggplant isn't likely to alter the taste of the soup dramatically and may even enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. Roast or boil the eggplant until soft. Cool the eggplant and place in a blender or food processor and puree before adding to the soup. An alternative preparation is to puree the eggplant with the other soup ingredients just before serving. This method works well for tomato soup.
Eggplant works well in vegetable, tomato and bean soups. Its flavor also pairs well with fish or chicken soups. Use eggplant in both broth-based and creamy soups. Raw eggplant is soft and won't require as much cooking time as other vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots. Add eggplant cubes to soups in the last 10 minutes of cooking. An alternative is to roast the eggplant in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until soft and then add them to the soup just before serving.
Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Transform sandwich night with this hearty veggie-laden stacker. You can peel the eggplant, but the sandwiches are prettier with the deep-purple skin intact.
8 (1/2-inch-thick) eggplant slices
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 large red bell pepper
4 (1-ounce) slices ciabatta bread
2 tablespoons refrigerated pesto
1 cup baby arugula
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) soft goat cheese
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides of eggplant with 1 teaspoon oil. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Arrange bell pepper halves, skin sides up, on baking sheet with eggplant; flatten with hand. Broil 4 minutes; turn eggplant over (do not turn bell pepper over). Broil an additional 4 minutes; remove eggplant from pan. Broil bell pepper an additional 7 minutes or until blackened. Place bell pepper in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand for 15 minutes; peel and discard skin.
3. Broil bread slices for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto on each of 2 bread slices. Layer each bread slice, pesto side up, with 2 eggplant slices, 1 bell pepper half, and 2 eggplant slices. Toss arugula with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and black pepper; divide arugula mixture evenly between sandwiches. Spread 2 tablespoons goat cheese over each of 2 remaining bread slices; place, cheese side down, on sandwiches.
Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light
Planned Produce for Box
- Basil~Lemon, Sweet and Thai, Blue Spice or Purple
- Summer Squash Variety
- Beans~Chinese Noodle Beans
- Sweet Potato Leaves
- Fresh Herbs ~ Thyme, Rosemary, Mint or Sage
- Country Apples
- Fruit Shares~Asian Pears
- As always you will receive 9 of the vegetables listed above and one fruit in your box
As always Thanks for your continued support with our CSA program here at TaylOrganic Farm.
As a reminder, please send any skips,orders or special request to
by Saturday evening before the requested date. We will send a response on Monday afternoon to let you know we received your request!!
We still have two kittens~one solid white and the other white with a stripe tail and gold ears and one puppy if you would like to adopt a new pet.