General Information

Eggplants come in many shapes and sizes from the small green bitterball eggplants to long, curved purple Japanese eggplants to the common bulbous Italian eggplant. Try broiling, grilling, frying, stewing or baking them with your choice of seasonings.  Eggplants originated in Southeast Asia.  Botanists credit India as the motherland of the eggplant, but Asian countries first embraced this fruit vegetable in the kitchen about 3 A.D. By 11 A.D., it reached Europe, where consumption of the eggplant was initially thought to cause insanity. No doubt this wary notion was due to its membership in the deadly nightshade family along with the tomato (also thought to be poisonous).  Experimental botanist Thomas Jefferson brought the eggplant to the United States, where the eggplant was primarily used as a table ornament until the 20th century.

Health Benefits

Eggplant is low in fat and carbohydrates. It is therefore a filling alternative in many recipes designed for weight loss. The skin of an eggplant is also an excellent source of nasunin, an antioxident that has been shown to protect brain cell membranes and to help fight cancer cells. The dominant antioxident in eggplants, cholorgenic acid, fights free radicals, prevents against cancerous cells, and may have antiviral properties. Eggplants are also rich in minerals such as phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.These minerals can help prevent arthritis, osteoporosis, and heart disease.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: Eggplant need not be peeled unless the skin is very thick. It's usually worth salting larger eggplants to draw out the bitterness and excess moisture. Trim off the ends and cut into slices from one-half to one inch thick. Or cut it into chunks. Sprinkle both sides liberally with coarse salt, then let drain in a colander for at least half an hour, or up to two hours. Rinse and squeeze dry between paper or cloth towels.

Storing: Eggplant is best eaten fresh or stored unrefrigerated at cool room temp.  It can be put in hydrator drawer of fridge for longer storage for up to 1 week.

Freezing: Wash, peel and then slice the eggplant into ⅓ inch slices.  Drop the slices into boiling water; allow to cook for four minutes.  Remove from the hot water, drop into ice water until cool.  Drain and put into freezer bags; label and place in freezer.

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