Ok, so many of you may already have eaten eggplant and think, "This is a new food for you?" But although I've had it before...I've never sought it out at the store to use in recipes. This is my fourth time cooking with it and I can finally say I'm enjoying it. The first time I tried it roasted, which wasn't bad. I even tried it breaded to dip with a marinara sauce...but it didn't work out for some reason. But this week I've been baking it in the oven (wash, cut in half length-wise, place cut side down and bake on 450 for 20-30 minutes). I've scooped out the cooked flesh and used it in a curry or soup, or flipped it over and used it whole as a boat (Zucchini Sausage boats recipe --in place of the zucchini and switched a few things by using mozzerella, tomato sauce and italian flavorings). It's a very versatile recipe.
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.
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.
SelectionEggplant 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.
ContentsA 100g serving of eggplant provides around 35 calories, with only 2 calories coming from fat. Eggplant provides 9g carbohydrates, 1g of protein, and less than 1g of fat per serving. The same serving is also an good source of vitamin K, B6 and thiamin. Eggplant also provides manganese and is a good source of dietary fiber and phytonutrients.
BenefitsEggplants are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help improve cardiovascular and digestive health, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper
ConcernsEggplant contains oxalates, chemicals that can crystallize in the body when levels are high enough. This can cause kidney or gallbladder stones. Oxalates can also inhibit calcium absorption. Those with a history of gall bladder or kidney disease or osteoporosis may want to limit their intake of eggplant.
*info from livestrong.com