Get To Know Your Vegetables: Eggplant


[picture of eggplant types]

What is aubergine? What is brinjal?
Eggplant is also known as aubergine or brinjal. Technically, it is not a vegetable but a fruit as it has seeds.

What are the different types of eggplant?
Chinese Eggplant (long, thin and dark purple), Indian Eggplant (round and reddish-purple), Japanese Eggplant (long, thin, and either purple, pink, white, lavender or green), Pingtung Long Eggplant (very slender and bright purple, often curved), Thai Eggplant (green w/ yellow or white stripes, golf-ball sized), White Eggplant (resembles Chinese Eggplant but is white in color), Sicilian Eggplant (egg-shaped, Streaked white and purple), Italian Eggplant (resembles a smaller version of classic eggplant, only a few inches long, dark purple in color). Information from: http://www.iloveeggplant.com/varieties and http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/exotic-vegetable-glossary6.asp

What does eggplant taste like?
Without cooking eggplant is slightly bitter, but by salting and cooking much of the bitterness is removed. Eggplant has a light pulpy flavor and texture much like squash. The seeds are soft and not noticeable during consumption. Cooking gives the eggplant a rich, complex flavor although eggplant easily absorbs the taste of whatever it is cooked with (olive oil, herbs, tomato, etc.)

What recipes is eggplant used in?
Eggplant is used in many middle eastern and eastern dishes. Below are some great recipes using eggplant:
Eggplant Parmesan Recipe from Easy Greens
BBQ Eggplant Recipe from Easy Greens
Eggplant Curry Recipe
Roasted Eggplant Soup

How do I cook eggplant?
Eggplant can be peeled, cubed, and cooked, breaded and fried, baked, pan fried, and grilled.
To cook eggplant, you will generally want to remove the moisture from the fruit by salting it. This can be done by slicing the eggplant into rings (width-wise) and sprinkling each piece with salt. Place the pieces in a colander over a bowl. The salt will “sweat” the moisture out of the eggplant in approx. an hour. Wash off the salt from the slices before cooking.

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