Eggplant – The King of Vegetables


Although, technically, the eggplant is a fruit, close relative of the tomato, it is used as vegetable in cooking. It is known also as aubergine in the British English. Native to Southeast Asia, today the eggplant is cultivated all around the world. The most widely cultivated varieties in Europe and North America are elongated ovoid with dark purple skin. A much wider range of shapes, sizes and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia – from the small and round Thai varieties to the Turkish orange colored eggplants.

Taste:

The raw fruit has somewhat bitter taste and spongy structure which becomes soft and tender when cooked. The eggplant absorbs large amount of fats and sauces when cooked which allows for rich dishes with complex flavor. Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food is often described as the "King of Vegetables".

The eggplant is avalable on the market all year around but it is at it's best from May to October. To select the best, choose firm fruit with smooth and glossy skin. To preserve it fresh keep it whole in the refrigerator.

Cooking:

Although very rich in vitamins and minerals, the eggplant is low calorie food. On the Balkans, the eggplant is cooked in many different ways; baked in the Greek moussaka, stuffed with vegetables in the Turkish Imam Bayildi, roasted and pureed as part of many salads and dips. Thinly sliced and fried to make eggplant crisps. Salting the sliced fruit before cooking can soften and remove much of the bitterness, though it is often unnecessary. It also reduces the amount of fats absorbed.

Nutritional value:

No fats
Low calories
Easily digestible food

Contains vitamin C, carotin and small ampunts of vitamin B1 and B2. It is as nutritional as tomatoes and peppers. However, most of its vitamins and minerals are lost during the cooking process.

Eggplant stimulates the digestive system and reduces the amount of fats and cholesterol in the blood. The levels of potassium stimulate the heart and reduces the fluids in the body.

Source: Wikipedia