“Eggplant purple” is a nickname for the dark purple color that characterizes eggplant peel. A unique color that we have a hard time finding in other vegetables and fruits. It is interesting to know that his color was not always like this, and there is a hint from the translation of the name into English “eggplant”.

The early European versions of the eggplants were smaller, the size of goose eggs and yellow or white in color similar to these eggs. Even today there are eggplants white and yellow like yolk, although these are less common. In Israel, eggplant is popular and stars in popular and sophisticated dishes. Steamed, fried, roasted or boiled, served chilled or hot.

Outside and inside

Eggplant peel: The unique and rich color of the eggplant peel is responsible for anthocyanins, similar to purple cabbage and purple onions. Anthocyanins are antioxidants that protect cells and slow down their aging. Of the active herbal compounds, they are considered to be particularly potent in protecting cell integrity. Studies suggest that nasonin, which belongs to the group of anthocyanins, has the ability to protect brain cells and help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Nasonin is found in eggplant peel, which is why it is recommended to eat the peel.

In addition to antioxidants, eggplant contains vitamins from groups B: 1B (thiamine) and 6B. The first participates in the processes of energy production in the body, blood cells and the muscular and nervous systems, and the second is important for metabolism and essential for the function of red blood cells, the nervous system and the skin. In addition, eggplant has a high content of dietary fiber that helps the proper functioning of the digestive system.

Family of soloists: The eggplants are from the solanaceae vegetable family and as such are relatives of the potatoes and tomatoes. Common to these vegetables is that they contain alkaloids, which in high doses can be toxic. Alkaloids play an important role during plant development and are likely to protect it from animals. This is why one should be careful about eating the leaves or tubers of these plants, which have a high concentration of alkaloids. These can cause mild symptoms such as burning in the throat, nausea and vomiting and in severe cases heart arrhythmias. In potatoes, for example, beware of the green bumps that grow when the vegetable is no longer fresh.

Eggplant allergy: Yes, there is such a phenomenon. Since eggplant belongs to the solanaceae family, often this allergy also includes allergy to other solanacies such as potatoes and tomatoes. Eggplant allergy is not common, and usually passes in adolescence, but it does exist and should be aware of at first exposure of infants and toddlers to eggplant.

Fat eggplant or not?
Let us make it clear that there is no “fattening” food and no food that “burns calories” or “burns fat”. The energy (measured in calories) that each food provides us depends on the composition of the food (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and the amount consumed.

There are few who incorporate eggplant in the menu, as it is perceived as containing a lot of calories. Most likely the source of these concerns is his culinary treatment of the eggplant winner in the kitchen. Due to its air-spongy structure, the eggplant absorbs large amounts of oil during preparation, especially if it is fried.

The absorption of the oil can be reduced by short cooking in a microwave that will reduce the air spaces into which the oil penetrates. Another way is to lightly salt the eggplant slices before frying. After about 30 minutes, rinse them with water and dry them well with absorbent paper.

Like tomato, the definition of eggplant, botanically, is “fruit.” Culinarily we attribute it to the vegetable group. Like vegetables its pre-cooking caloric contribution is small, and due to its nutritional benefits it is a shame to give it up. Recommended cooking methods are roasting and baking provided that the eggplants are not burned, and it is also possible to slice and put them in the microwave with a little olive oil. It is recommended to minimize frying on weekdays and leave the preparation of the fried and delicious salads of oil-rich eggplants, for special and festive gatherings.

Do it yourself

From personal experience, growing eggplant in a garden or deep home planter is relatively easy. You can bury seeds in the soil and wait patiently or shorten the process and plant the eggplant plant. The eggplant decorates the garden with its beauty, and the enjoyment of eating eggplant that we have grown is greater.

When it comes to children, the gain is especially great. The participation of the children in the cultivation of the garden, from the first stage of planting through irrigation, weeding, pruning to the collection and picking of the produce, contributes greatly to experimenting with vegetables and fruits, even those that are less familiar to them. Children who are involved in food preparation (and growing raw materials) are more willing to experiment with food. Lemons squeezed for salad, tangerines, mint for tea seasoning, basil for pasta seasoning, cherry tomatoes and more – tastier when they are fresh from the garden and not bought from the stalls in the supermarket.

Purchase and storage: At the time of purchase, it is recommended to choose medium-sized, shiny eggplants with a relatively light weight. These eggplants will be less bitter. Green leaves close to the eggplant are another sign of freshness. To maintain the quality of the eggplant, it is recommended to store it in a refrigerator wrapped in absorbent paper in a perforated plastic bag for up to three days. Storing eggplant in the refrigerator for more than four days can cause cold damage – the peel turns black and dents form in it.

Eggplant products on supermarket shelves: Following what we wrote here last week, many of us are busy, and preparing meals can be an exhausting task. Even in the case of eggplant, you can win shortcuts. Purchase peeled and ready-to-eat eggplants, thus increasing the chances of incorporating them into meals.

It is important to read the list of ingredients on the package and make sure that it contains one or two more ingredients in addition to the eggplant. Most often these will be sodium (salt) and citric acid only, similar to home-made eggplant seasoned with salt, albeit in a smaller amount. The disadvantage of these eggplant products is that the eggplants are peeled.

By Editor

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