Eggplant is from the squash family and so named because the shape resembles an egg. It is considered a “nightshade” plant and is a native of India. Eaten raw, the eggplant has a bitter taste, but when cooked, according to any of the many eggplant recipes, it becomes tender and takes on a complex, but rich, flavor. The eggplant is capable of absorbing fats and sauces, depending on the eggplant recipes used, during cooking. Salting the eggplant prior to cooking will decrease the amount of oil it will absorb. The eggplant also contains seeds that are edible, as well as, the thin skin covering the plant. It is not necessary to peel the eggplant in many eggplant recipes; however, a lot of people do, mostly out of culinary practice.
One serving of eggplant is one cup of one inch cubes that contains 33 calories, zero grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, 5 grams of total carbohydrates and 2 grams of sugar. Eggplant is a good source of Vitamins C, K and B6, as well as thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, magnesium, pantothenic acid and copper. There are eggplant recipes that will not add to the caloric content of a serving of eggplant.
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Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable and can be cooked in a wide variety of methods such as stewed, baked, broiled, battered and deep fried. There are many eggplant recipes available for each type of cooking method. It can be served plain or with a topping such as garlic and tomato sauce, or stuffed with sausage or ground beef mixed with rice or beans. It can also be served plain with melted butter.
Eggplant recipes also call for the vegetable to be roasted until the skin is charred. The skin can be removed and the eggplant can be cut into small pieces or mashed and mixed with other ingredients and served as a side dish or a stuffing.
There are eggplant recipes for desserts such as a Russian dessert called “Ukranian Eggplant Cenea.” Eggplant is mixed with onion, garlic, olive oil and apple cider vinegar and turned into a paste that is spread on plain bread or toast after a meal or it is sometimes served with soup. It can be served warm, cold or room temperature. The dessert is often served with dark bread and an after dinner cocktail.
Eggplant is a vegetable of variety and there are dozens of eggplant recipes for every type. It is grown in a variety of colors, depending on the climate. In North America, the eggplant is purple, but eggplants from Asia and India are tan in color. Eggplant is often used as a meat substitute and because it does not have much flavor on its own, it picks up other flavors from the sauce or marinade the eggplant is in.
Even though there are no eggplant recipes, eggplant is believed to have medicinal purposes. Eating eggplant has been found to be effective to reduce bleeding and reduce swelling, and help with dysentery and hemorrhoids. Eating eggplant was initially thought to bring about a bad case of insanity. Applying raw eggplant to a scorpion bite was believed it would draw out any poison the scorpion left behind.