Truth: I don’t cook with eggplant that often.
Evidence: Only two eggplant recipes on Kitchen Concoctions (mind you, two recipes we eat very often, plus a third, veggie lasagna, which I can’t believe I haven’t posted yet!).
Fact: I would like to cook with eggplant more often (you know since it is so versatile and is like good for you and all) but I never think to buy it when I am cruising the produce department looking for veggies.
FYI: This article (written for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table) is all about eggplant (it’s eggplant season!!). It’s informative, it’s gunna make you crave eggplant, and it includes several eggplant recipes (at the bottom) to get you inspired to get cookin’ with eggplant.
Eggplant, valued for its taste and sponge like texture, is a late summer vegetable with a deep rooted history. Originating as a wild plant in India, the Chinese were the first to cultivate eggplant for consumption. The plant later spread to Europe and was originally grown purely for decorative purposes, due to its bitter, sour taste. Later, in the 18th century, new varieties of eggplant were developed, causing this vegetable to gain culinary appeal. Today, eggplant is a popular vegetable grown worldwide. Although available year round, eggplant peaks from July thru October, for flavor and affordability.
A member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes; eggplant grows on vines. While eggplant in the classic oval shape and dark purple color is the most popular variety; eggplant can be found in a variety of shapes and colors. Other varieties include white, black or green eggplant, found in spherical to long and narrow shapes.
Eggplant is a low fat, low calorie food. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a powerful source of flavonoids like chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. Research has shown that these nutrients, along with a healthy well balanced diet, may help fight cancer and protect brain cells.
When choosing eggplant, look for those that are smooth, shiny, firm and heavy for their size. The stem should be deep green in color and the skin should spring back when lightly squeezed. Avoid eggplant that contains soft spots, wrinkled skin, or discoloration.
To store, fresh eggplant can be kept in a cool dry place for up to two days. For longer storage, place whole unwashed eggplant in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for five to seven days. To freeze, blanch or steam sliced eggplant. Dry thoroughly and place in freezer safe packaging, then store in the freezer for six to nine months.
Eggplant is a meaty vegetable that sometimes tends to have a bitter flavor. Its sponge like texture absorbs marinades well and can be grilled, roasted, sautéed and even pickled. To prepare, wash and slice eggplant right before cooking, as the exposed flesh will begin to brown when exposed to the air. While the skin is edible, eggplant skin can sometimes be tough and may need peeling.
How do you like your eggplant? Need a few new ideas? Check out these recipes below:
Tastier Eggplant Burgers (Peas and Thank You)
Baked Eggplant Parmesan (Kitchen Concoctions)
Layered Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole (Oh She Glows)
Pasta Ratatouille (Kitchen Concoctions)
Eggplant Involtini (Bev Cooks)
Coconut Eggplant Bharta (Daily Garnish)