Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Eggplant from
the Barren County Farmers' Market




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

The eggplant we enjoy today originated as a spiny plant with bitter fruit in India. It gets its name from the early fruit which was small, white, round and resembled eggs. Because eggplants belong to the nightshade family, in early years it was believed to cause madness in people who ate the fruit.

Types of eggplant include the familiar dark purple American eggplant that ranges from 1-5 pounds. Italian eggplant is a smaller version of its American cousin and has a thinner skin and firmer flesh. Asian or Japanese eggplant is long and slender. Thai eggplant is small and round with green and white stripes and very bitter seeds.

 

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Selecting a quality product

Look for fruits that are smooth skinned and firm. Eggplants should feel heavy for their size. Avoid fruits with soft brown spots. Eggplants with wrinkled skin are old and will be bitter, as will fruit that was picked too large.

Tips on Storage

Eat eggplant as soon after purchase as possible as they become bitter with age. Eggplant should be stored whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tips on cooking

Wash the eggplant just before using and cut off the cap and stem. Whether you peel an eggplant before cooking or not is a matter of personal preference. However, large eggplants will have tough skin and you may choose to remove it and the Italian or Asian types have thinner skins and you may not want to peel them. Once cut, the cut surfaces will become brown but this will not affect the flavor of the eggplant. Eggplant was typically soaked in salt water to remove any bitterness but many of the new types and varieties do not need this if picked properly. Avoid using too much cooking oil because eggplant acts as a sponge and will soak up extra oil. It takes on the flavors of what it is used with.

Ways to use:

Dip in flour, eggs, or bread crumbs and sauté
Eggplant parmesan
Use grilled slices in place of bread in vegetarian sandwiches
Grilled with other vegetables or as shish-kabobs

Recipes




Baba Ghannuj - Eggplant Appetizer

1 large eggplant
1 clove garlic; crushed
1 tsp salt
1/4 c tahini; sesame seed paste
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup lemon juice
Lemon wedges
Parsley
Olive oil

Set oven to 375F. Wash eggplant and remove stem. Pierce with a fork 4-6 times. Place in baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and run under cold water. Peel and mash; set aside. In serving bowl combine garlic, salt, and Tahini. Gradually add water and lemon juice, beating well. Fold in mashed eggplant. Garnish with lemon wedges, finely chopped parsley and a sprinkle of olive oil. Scoop up eggplant with pieces of Pita Bread to eat or serve as a side dish with any meal.




Smoky Eggplant Soup

2 eggplants
3 tbsp olive oil
2 med onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
8 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 dash Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut the eggplants in half and score the flesh. Brush the cut sides with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, place on a hot grill or under the broiler, and cook until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Scoop out the flesh and coarsely chop it. Set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions and garlic, and saute over medium heat until golden, 7 or 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook just until they begin to wilt and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant flesh and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add the basil and oregano and cook 2 minutes more. Strain the solids from the liquid, reserving the hot liquid in the pot. Puree the solids in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Return the puree to the pot and reheat to just below simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4-6 servings.




Eggplant Macaroni Bake

6 oz macaroni - cooked, drained, reserve 1/4 cup liquid
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced scallions
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup sliced eggplant, 1/2" thick
2 med sliced tomatoes, 1/2" thick
1/2 tsp basil
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp paprika

Place cooking liquid in a large bowl, stir in Parmesan cheese, scallions, oil, and pepper. Add macaroni, toss well to mix. Set aside.Spray large nonstick skillet with spray. Add eggplant; cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until tender. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray an 8" square pan with nonstick spray. Layer half the tomatoes and eggplant in pan; sprinkle with basil. Spread macaroni on top; layer remaining tomato and eggplant over macaroni. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and paprika. Bake 20-25 min., until bubbly.

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