Ever find an eggplant bitter? That’s because it’s not fresh. The eggplants I got last week at Fat Moon Farm had a delicate and subtle flavor and texture, with no bitterness. It’s amazing what freshly harvested eggplant can taste like – even my mom, who does not like eggplant, did not complain or even realize it was part of our stir fry!
Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, peppers and tomatoes. The leaves and the flowers cannot be consumed. An alkaloid called solanine is found in these plants and is poisonous when consumed in large amounts.
Eggplant is low in calories and high in fiber. For example, ½ cup steamed eggplant contains 2.5 grams of fiber. Overall, it is relatively low in vitamins and minerals. Which begs the question, why eat it?
The meaty texture and the ability for eggplant to take on the flavors of sauces makes it desirable in many culinary applications. It can be steamed, grilled, roasted, baked or stuffed. Depending on the way that eggplant is prepared, the texture and flavor will change, making it ideal to add to many dishes for extra fiber and a more complex mouthfeel.
Culinary Tip: cut eggplant just before using to prevent browning.
Best Used: within a couple days of harvest or freeze it.
Cooking Quickie: for those who don’t want to click on the recipes
- cube eggplant and add to stir-fry
- slice and bake/roast with small amount of olive oil, then top with chopped tomatoes, feta or mozzarella and fresh basil or mint
- blend steamed or roasted eggplant with lemon juice and seasonings and use as a dip or spread
Recipes: Eggplant is not just for baba ghanouj and eggplant parm.
Eggplant-Walnut Paté: a healthy and vegetarian paté
Eggplant, Lentil and Bulgur Salad: great main entree or side dish
Question of the Day: Why does eggplant parmigiana often seem to be served in a bath of oil? Answer: eggplant’s cells contain lots of air that escapes as the eggplant is cooked. These cells soak up the oil when cooked, but the cells collapse eventually and the oil leaks out.