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All About Eggplant

Why isn't eggplant more popular?  Several reasons, perhaps.  Instinct warns against strange purple food, and most of us have eaten bitter eggplant at some time and maybe have been turned off.   Here's some hints.

According to Dr. Weil, eggplants have these benefits:

  1. Is a low-calorie food
  2. Provides fiber, potassium, manganese and vitamins B1, B6 and folate
  3. Is a good source of phytonutrients and flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and help neutralize free radicals, which in turn lessens oxidative damage to cell membranes

Eggplants are easy to grow, tolerant of heat and aren't bothered by too many illnesses and diseases.  If you have even a small garden, a few plants in a sunny spot can produce a lot.   Look for odd eggplants like long white Orientals, too.   

Buy only dark, almost black, eggplants.  They should be firm and shiny. A spongy eggplant is either old or has too many seeds.  Try to buy male eggplants.  They have a dimple in the end opposite the stem, while female eggplants have a flatter place.  Female eggplants have fully developed seeds which are usually bitter.

If you are trying to sneak eggplant into the family diet, peel it.    That purple-black rind is a dead giveaway.   Wrap the trimmings and bury under other garbage.

Slice or cube eggplant and salt it liberally.  Put it in a colander in the sink to drain.  You may even weight it with a saucer and something heavy.  In a couple of hours most of the bitter juice will have drained out.    Rinse briefly but thoroughly to get rid of excess salt,  then pat dry if eggplant is to be breaded or fried. Or, you can spin it dry in a salad spinner; you'll be surprised how much dark, bitter water will come out! (Note that if an eggplant is young with few seeds or very small soft white seeds, it will not be bitter and this process isn't needed.)

You may also microwave a whole eggplant in a covered dish, or halve, spray or brush with olive oil and roast in a medium oven until soft.  Cool, then lift out the bitter strands of seeds and discard.   Chop the rest and add to casseroles or stews as an extender, or marinate in the refrigerator to add to salads or sandwiches later.  Eggplant is an inexpensive, healthy extender for meat and vegetable recipes, taking on the flavor of the other ingredients.

If frying eggplant, use cooking spray instead of deep fat.   Eggplant acts like a sponge around oil, which adds on useless calories like mad. To better  cut the fat and make it an easier process, spray both sides and place on a baking sheet in a 350║ oven until tender and lightly browned.

Is it the Eggplant or the Idea

Recipes:

Eggplant Escabeche

 

 

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