Eggplant: Sweet, not Bitter
Do you like eggplant? Have you ever eaten eggplant? I know that many vegetables we think we do not like we’ve either never eaten or they have been poorly prepared. I encourage you to give eggplant another try, using one of the recipes below.
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, melongene, guinea squash or “garden eggs,” are from the same family as peppers, tomatoes and potatoes, known as the nightshade family. Like tomatoes, eggplants are actually a fruit because they grow from a flowering plant and contain seeds.
Eggplants grow in hot weather, so should be available in the Pacific Northwest starting in July. I wanted to introduce you to them this month, so you can begin anticipating their arrival and look for them to appear in the farmer’s markets.
You are likely familiar with the deep purple “globe” eggplants at the grocery store. At the Asian markets and at farmer’s markets, you can find all kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes. They can be round, very thin and long, plump at one end, etc. And their colors range from white to stripy purple or from deep purple to green.
The shinier eggplants are, the fresher they are. The fresher and younger they are, the sweeter they are. Be sure to choose ones that are heavy, which means they haven’t started to dry out inside.
What does an eggplant taste like?
How do you prepare eggplant?
Eggplant is bitter when eaten raw. It should be cooked to fully enjoy the mild flavor. It can be substituted for meat in vegetarian dishes because of its texture and flavor.
Eggplant can be baked, roasted, grilled, or mixed in a soup/stew.
If you are going to peel the eggplant, it’s easier to cut them first into rounds and then peel the rounds. The eggplant can then be cubed, sliced or left in rounds.
How nutritious is eggplant?
Eggplant is low in calories (about 30 calories to one cup cooked) and is also a good source of various vitamins and fiber (2). Studies show that it may contribute to brain and cardiovascular health, among other benefits. If you want to read more about the “super food” capabilities of eggplant, check out the following two articles:
Leave a comment below and let me know how you enjoy this versatile vegetable!
My family’s favorite eggplant dish, to use up all of those summer tomatoes, is this tomato eggplant chutney recipe. It freezes very well, so we can enjoy it during the cold winter months.
The recipe below is a simple, one-pot dish that serves a crowd. You can include eggplant or mushrooms for a hearty meal. Enjoy!
Eggplant and White Bean Stew
8-10 servings (about 10 cups)
The amounts in this dish are very flexible, as is what you add to the pot. Just add a few ingredients at a time and taste. Adjust amounts and seasonings, as needed. Serve with rice or bread.
Very loosely adapted from Healthy Recipes for Your Nutritional Type
~ Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
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A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!