Unexpectedly Delicious: Eggplants

Eggplants come in a variety of colors and shapes. Ranging from purple, lavender, green, white and yellow, this plant may be small and circular or grow to be long and tall like a large zucchini. In fact, similar to the zucchini, the eggplant is technically a fruit as its flesh houses seeds and it grows from a flowering plant. The ancient eggplant ancestor varieties grew wild in India, and were first cultivated in China. Today the major cultivators of eggplant are European countries like Italy, Greece, Turkey and France. If you plan to travel to these places, be sure to order a freshly made meal that includes eggplant!

Why should you eat it?                                                                                                                

 

Eggplant is a source of the following nutrients:

  • Copper- essential trace mineral important in maintaining strong blood vessels, bones and cartilage.
  • Manganese- essential nutrient that activates enzymes important in bone formation, while playing a role in the body’s antioxidant defense system.
  • Vitamin B1- Important for energy production and nervous system support.

 

Different phytochemical present in the skin of the eggplant have been studied for their health effects. Some studies indicate that these plant chemicals may help reduce blood cholesterol and improve blood flow. A potent antioxidant present in eggplant, chlorogenic acid, has been linked to anti-microbial, anti-cancer, as well as anti-viral action. The skin of the eggplant is not only rich in color, it rich in health benefits too!

 

The wonders of how to enjoy it:

 

When shopping for a quality eggplant be sure its skin is firm, vivid in color and the plant is heavy for its size. The stem should be bright green in color. Store your eggplant unwashed and uncut in a refrigerator for a few days if you do not plan to use it right away. Although the eggplant looks robust, it will decay quickly if its skin has been punctured or the flesh has been exposed to air. If you purchase your eggplant wrapped tightly in plastic, remove the plastic immediately so that its skin can breathe. This will help to prolong shelf life.

Recipe Ideas:

  • Eggplant Ratatouille
  • Moussaka (Greek Eggplant Dish)
  • Roasted Eggplant Dip
  • Eggs and Eggplant Hash
  • Eggplant Parmesan
  • Baked Stuffed Eggplant
  • Simply Grilled Eggplant
  • Roasted Eggplant Soup
  • Eggplant and Feta Flatbread
  • Eggplant, Chickpea and Tomato Pasta
  • Eggplant Portabella Panini
  • Grilled Eggplant Salad
  • Eggplant Salsa Sandwich
  • Pork and Shrimp Stuffed Eggplant
  • Indian Spiced Eggplant

Did you know that…

Early varieties of the eggplant were quite bitter in flavor. Due to the unpleasant bitter flavor that very early varieties had, many held the belief that this plant could be responsible for leprosy, cancer and even insanity! Ironically, the only insane thing about eggplants is how they can be so beneficial to your health if you do eat them. Give one of the recipes from above a try and see if the eggplant turns into your new unexpectedly delicious ingredient!

April 8, 2015
Revive Wellness