Growing in as little as 60 days, the eggplant is an abundant summertime produce item known for its bulbous shape and deep-purple hue. But this nightshade—sometimes referred to as an aubergine—has a lot more unique qualities than its looks. For example, despite its vegetable-like characteristics, it is actually a berry. Next time you visit a local farmers market, like Muzzarelli’s, here are a few other interesting facts to know about eggplants.
5 Reasons to Have Eggplants in the Kitchen
By adding eggplant to grilled chicken, pasta, pizza, and other dishes, you can introduce a great deal of flavor to your meal—without the guilt. About 90% of the nightshade consists of water, making it an extremely low-calorie ingredient. Additionally, this produce item contains no fat and no cholesterol.
2. Health Benefits
Apart from being low-calorie, aubergines are packed full of nutrients that offer a wide range of health benefits. For example, they are rich in anthocyanins—a type of antioxidant that helps protect against cancer, heart disease, and other health problems caused by free radicals. Potassium and vitamins B6, C, E, and K found in eggplant can benefit heart and circulatory health as well. This produce item also contains a great deal of fiber, which can help support digestive wellness.
When people think of the eggplant, they often envision the large, purple varieties—such as the American or Sicilian Eggplants. However, it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes—all of which offer unique flavor profiles. Chinese and Japanese varieties, for instance, are thinner than their American counterparts and provide a sweeter, less bitter taste. Rarer is the Thai Eggplant—a small, round, green plant that is slightly more bitter than the rest, but an excellent addition to curry dishes.
Eggplants can be prepared in virtually every fashion. Most commonly, foodies will bake, roast, or grill them to create tender, tasty sides or enhance an existing dish. If you’re feeling a little more inventive, this produce item can also be seasoned and stuffed like a bell pepper or pureed into a healthy dip.
5. Save Space
Eggplants fare best when they are left uncovered, at room temperature, and away from direct sunlight. While the nightshade should be consumed as soon as possible after you’ve bought it, this storage method can help save space in your refrigerator—and enhance the overall flavor.
Inspired to start cooking with eggplant? Stop by Muzzarelli Farms for a wide selection of non-GMO produce—including eggplants, tomatoes, blueberries, and corn. Planted and harvested at a historic Vineland, NJ, farm, this local produce is packed with all the nutrients and flavor you need to make a healthy, memorable meal. Visit us online to see when specific items are in season or call (856) 691-2497.