When you knew me back on my childhood days, then you will really be shocked on this post. Who wouldn’t? I really hate eggplant when I was a child. You cannot blame me though. I think most kids don’t like vegetables. Although its has attractive violet color, I really hate its texture specially when my mom grilled them. Anyway, eggplant has grown on me and I became a fan of this very healthy and nutritious vegetable.
Originated in southern India and Sri Lanka, this beauty is a part of nighshade (Solanacene) family which includes tomatoes, potatoes and chilies. Although it is commonly known as a vegetable, eggplant is in fact a fruit. So are you an eggplant lover or not? Let us get to know more about this plant as we go along in my article.
- Scientific Name: Solanum melongena (Solanaceae)
- Common name: Aubergine, eggplant, brinjal, brinjal eggplant, melongene, or guinea squash
- Common Varieties:
- miniature varieties (most commonly called vengan)
- Regular/Classic Varieties: Black Magic, Black Beauty and Black Bell varieties
- “Zebra” or “Graffiti” eggplant or Sicilian – slightly smaller with a wider base and purple skin streaked with white
- Italian eggplant deep shade of mauve-purple with some light streaking on the skin
- White Varieties includes albino and white beauty
- Japanese eggplant – small and longer in shape with smooth, light purple skin and a dark, purple calyx.
- Chinese eggplant – Longer and more cylindrical in shape, with smooth purple calyx and skin.
- Thai eggplant – tiny little eggplants and are more bitter than the regular varieties
- Plant Types: Perennial
- Light: Sun
- Special Features: Edible, Flower
- Propagation: Seed
- Select a warm and very sunny location for your eggplant. You can actually plant them in container and place the in a south faced wall of your workshop.
- A well-drained fertile soil with pH of 6.3 to 6.8 is the best soil to grow your eggplant.
- Eggplants love warm soil to grow well so plant them in dark container and mulch regularly to keep moisture and keep down weeds.
- When planting in beds be sure to plant then about 24 to 36 inches apart.
- Water your plant regularly to keep the healthy but be sure not to water too much that will make the soil soggy.
- Drought stress will result in the development of bitter flavor.
- Maintain the plants in a vigorous state of growth with adequate fertilizer and moisture.
- Ripe eggplants are shiny and firm to the touch. Dull skin and brown seeds mean that the fruit is overripe. Use a sharp knife to cut ripe fruits from the plant leaving the cap and short piece of stem attached to the fruit.
Health Benefits of Eggplant
- Eggplant is very low in calories and fats but rich in soluble fiber content that is good for weight control.
- Scientific studies have shown that these anti-oxidants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
- It contains good amounts of many essential B-complex that are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism.
- This vegetable is an also good source of minerals like manganese, copper, iron and potassium.
- Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
Interesting Facts about Eggplant
- Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Like tobacco, eggplant and other nightshade plants contain nicotine, though to a lesser extent than tobacco.
- Case reports of itchy skin or mouth, mild headache, and stomach upset after handling or eating eggplant
- According to a 5th century Chinese scroll, fashionable Chinese women used to make a dye out of the skin of purple eggplants and polish their teeth with it until they were a shiny gray.
- Eggplant and other members of the nightshade family may worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
- An eggplant is almost 95% water.
- The act of salting and rinsing eggplant to reduce bitterness is called “degorging.” An old practice, it is not as necessary these days because modern eggplants are less bitter.
- It is called “eggplant” in the United States, Canada, and Australia because the first eggplants in those countries were purely ornamental and featured egg-shaped white and yellow fruit. Today this variety of eggplant is called ”White Egg.”
- In Britain, it is called “aubergine,” the same as in French. In South African English and in Indian, it is called “brinjal.” The Italians call it “melanzane,” which means “crazy apple.”
- The name eggplant evolved from English explorers who discovered the fruit in Asia; the specific fruit they ”discovered” was a white, egg-shaped variety.
- Because of the plant’s relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine.
- Common eggplant cuisine around the world: French ratatouille, deep-fried as in the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish karnıyarık or Turkish and Greek musakka/moussaka, and Middle-Eastern and South Asian dishes.
- Wikipedia – Eggplant
- Nutrition and You - Eggplant (Brinjal) nutrition facts
- Health Diaries – 16 Facts About Eggplant (Aubergine)