Care of Amy Symington

Eggplant, or aubergine to our Queen loving commonwealth mates, is the king of the nightshade plant family for good reason.

Although anywhere from white to green varieties are available, generally eggplants have a deep, glossy, purple skin.  They are spongy in texture and are mild, yet bitter in flavour.  They grow from vines just like their cousins the tomato and the pepper, and are native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The antioxidant content of eggplant is tremendous, helping to fend off unwanted free radical invaders.  Specifically, a great deal of research has been found on the phytonutrient called nasunin, a member of the anthocyanins, which has been shown to protect the lipids found in our brain cell membranes. This strong antioxidant presence may also help to reduce inflammation in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.  A link between the consumption of eggplant and reducing blood cholesterol levels and cholesterol build up in artery walls has also been made in current research.

Aside from its obvious regal prosperity, eggplant is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre, folate, potassium and manganese.

Some great traditional and tasty recipe ideas include Babaganoush, Eggplant Moussaka, Ratatouille, Eggplant Bharta and the age old Eggplant “Parmesan.”  Some more innovative uses include eggplant fritters, eggplant gratin, roasted eggplant caviar and eggplant “bacon” wrapped dates.

Long live the king!