Eggplant ~ Solanum melongena
It is believed that eggplant originates from India, and was grown and traded in in Middle East by the 10th century. However, when it reached the West in the 1400s, it was believed to be poisonous, and was grown ornamentally.
Edible Parts: fruit, including the skin
Nutrition: Eggplant contains fewer nutrients than most vegetables, but contains high amounts of fiber and is very low in calories.
Processing & Storage: Eggplant can be left out in a cool room or refrigerated. Use eggplant as soon as possible. It can keep up to a week in a cool place, but it has better flavor and texture when it’s fresh.
Cooking: Always cook eggplant! It contains a mildly toxic substance called solanine that is removed in the cooking process. In preparation for cooking, eggplant can be peeled, but this is not necessary.
A method to keep eggplant from soaking up excessive amounts of oil is to slice the eggplant, lightly salt, and leave in a colander for up to 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes is up, gently squeeze out excess liquid.
For sautéing, eggplant can be breaded and lay in hot oil until it turns golden-brown. Eggplant is also good stuffed and baked, as well as steamed. Another popular way of preparing eggplant is to include it in shish kabobs.