The eggplant is considered to originate from India where it grew wild, and was first cultivated in China. It was introduced into Europe during the middle Ages by the Moors where it soon became popular.
Thomas Jefferson, who happened to be an experimental botanist, introduced eggplant to the United States in 1806. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family of vegetables like tomato, bell pepper and potato. Among the main growers of eggplant are Italy, Egypt, China, Japan and Turkey. Eggplant has glossy skin, while its flesh is spongy and cream-colored. They can be found in your store year round but the actual growing season is between July and September.
The name eggplant came from its yellow and white color, which resembles a goose’s or a hen’s egg, as well as its characteristic shape.
Eggplant is high in potassium, fiber and vitamin B, according to its nutritional information. The skin contains many health benefits because it is rich in phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are known to protect the lipids in the cell membranes of the brain. Eggplants are also high in antioxidants. The antioxidant Nasunin guards cells from free radical damage, while the antioxidant Phenolic protects the body from oxidative stress and bacterial infections. Studies have shown that foods high in antioxidants, such as eggplant, may prevent certain types of cancer. For a complete list of vitamins and minerals click on the following link – NUTRITIONAL DATA.
The fiber in eggplant is an important health benefit because it can help prevent constipation as well as colitis and hemorrhoids. High fiber diets also reduce the risk of heart disease. It has been suggested that incorporating eggplant into a diet could reduce swelling and bleeding, and some people use it to cure dysentery.
There have been studies on the how eggplant affects cholesterol levels. Some studies show that people who were given eggplant juice to drink reduced the level of cholesterol in their artery walls and aortas. The cholesterol reduction in these studies was significant. People who drank eggplant juice also had better blood flow as their vessel walls relaxed. Even though these studies are promising, more research must be done on eggplant’s nutritional benefits and exactly how effective eggplant is at reducing cholesterol.
GOOD FOR WEIGHT CONTROL
Eggplant is low in calories, with just 35 per cup. It contains no fat and its high fiber content can help you feel full. Using eggplant in lieu of higher-calorie pastas or rice in casseroles or side dishes can help you eat fewer calories while still enjoying satisfying portions.
TYPES OF EGGPLANT
The most common type in North America is the Western or oval eggplant that has large, deep purple, pear-shaped fruits. These types are most commonly used for stuffing, baking, sautéing and grilling.
There are many varieties of eggplants they come from large to miniature and vary in color from white to dark purple nearly black in color; here are just a few of them:
- Black Beauty is the classic eggplant with deep purple skin and white flesh. The large 8-10 inch fruits can weigh up to a pound.
- Dusky hybrid is purple-black produces smaller, 5-7 inch, fruits.
- Japanese varieties are typically small fruited with a variety of shapes; they come in deep purple or light violet colors sometimes blended with white or green. The skin is tender so fruits don’t need to be peeled.
- Albino and White Beauty are denser, creamier and less bitter, even though they can have more seeds. The skin of a white eggplant is tougher than purple eggplant and must be peeled.
HOW TO BUY
Fresh eggplants should be plump and glossy without any noticeable scars or bruises. It is also important to inspect them for mold around their caps. Eggplants rot quickly and should be eaten right away once they are purchased. Make sure to scrub them thoroughly before cooking. Peeling is optional, and the skin does contain health benefits. Eggplant is a versatile fruit that can be baked, steamed, or boiled.