Do not let the name fool you. Even if this vegetable has the funny name of eggplant. It doesn’t look like an egg or a plant.
It is big and purple and doesn’t really even look like something you should eat. But, people seem to love the big purple vegetable.
Even if you have never thought about eating one, they are beautiful to look at. When picking out an eggplant, the outer skin is shiny. Any eggplant with a dull sheen should be passed over. Search for any nicks in the skin, wrinkles, or blemishes. Buying fresh from the farmer’s market, ask how long it has been off the vine so you can judge how old it is.
Eggplants can be small like eggs with a green cap but most are quite large. Eggplants we are used to seeing are purple but there are white varieties. In some places, eggplants have green skins.Be sure that the eggplant you choose is not soft but firm to the touch.
The eggplant was once thought to be a love potion. Some early Europeans believed it caused insanity. With love, sometimes those two are one in the same. In Oriental nations, the skins were used to make cosmetic dyes. It originated in India and many varieties are produced there. Today it is neither a love veggie nor a mind bender.
Preparation and cooking
Eggplants are not harmful if eaten raw but the taste is bitter. The bitterness is removed by slicing and salting the slices. Most eggplant is cooked before eaten. People consume eggplants in dishes like eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and stir fry vegetable dishes. The eggplant has a different taste in these dishes. It is a good substitution for meat with vegetarians.
Eggplant holds up to frying, steaming, sautéing, and baking. The flesh of the eggplant absorbs sauces so the taste is mild and flavorful. The skin is edible so don’t worry about skinning the eggplant before cooking it.
Use all parts of your eggplant so none is wasted. Even a hollowed out eggplant can be stuffed with meat and rice like a pepper or tomato and baked. What will you do with your eggplant?
If you have more that you need, store your eggplant for later use. In the refrigerator, the eggplant can be kept for up to four days with no problems. After that, it will have to be used or stored elsewhere. The remaining eggplant can be sliced up and steamed. After steaming and blanching, the pieces are soaked in a solution of lemon juice before storing in freezer bags or containers.
The eggplant was originally used as an ornamental plant. The fruit was discarded.
Eggplant - aubergine, brinjal, Jew's apple.
solanum melongena (Solanaceae)
The incredible aubergine.