WHAT IS AN EGGPLANT?
Even though most people call it a vegetable, eggplants are actually a berry fruit. These dark purple oblongs, like their nightshade cousin the tomato, grow on the vine. With a thick skin and pale, sponge-like flesh, eggplants look ominous but are actually quite healthy. The first plants, in their quest for global domination, grew wild in Asia before spreading to Africa and Europe. While over a dozen types are grown world-wide, the most popular is called “Black Magic”. According to one study this variety has over triple the amount of antioxidants as other types of eggplant. However these fruits haven’t always had a great reputation. In the Middle Ages eggplants were thought to be poisonous and cause tumors or insanity.
WHY ARE EGGPLANTS GOOD FOR YOU?
They are rich in fiber, copper and B1 vitamins as well as phytonutrients. The latter is thought to aid in brain health (a.k.a. “me speak good now”) thanks to a compound called nasunin that repairs cell membranes. Nasunin also helps chelate (bond with) excessive amounts of iron, enabling your body to flush it out.
WHEN ARE EGGPLANTS IN SEASON?
They are available year-round though in the northern hemisphere. Originally eggplants were an August through October crop.
HOW SHOULD EGGPLANTS BE STORED?
They’re pretty fragile as fruits go. Do not wash or cut prior to storing. Eggplants prefer a dark, cool environment of around 50 F (10 C). However if you don’t have one, then your refrigerator is the next best choice. Once you cut an eggplant it will start to oxidize and turn black. To prevent this you can either sprinkle lemon juice over the flesh, or soak the cut pieces in water with a spoonful of milk.
WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY TO CUT AN EGGPLANT?
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WILL THE WRONG KNIFE CAUSE WHITE EGGPLANT FLESH TO TURN BLACK?
If you’re using an non-coated carbon steel knife then yes! The phytonutrients present in this berry react with carbon steel like when oxidation occurs.