What is eggplant?
The Eggplant is a tear-shaped, generally dark purple or black vegetable. It has a creamy white fleshy texture that is a great substitute for meat for those who are vegetarian. It is also known by the name aubergine. The vegetable is prized for both its beauty and its natural firm and malleable texture. They belong to the plant family of Solanaceae or nightshades, and are related to the potato, bell pepper and tomato. Eggplants grow in a similar fashion to tomatoes, by hanging from a tall plant that can reach several feet in height.
How does it taste
Eggplants come in both male and female varieties. The male type features a pricker at the stem and has a more bitter taste. The female eggplant has a more neutral and slightly sweet taste. Both types are slightly spongy and neutral, with the seed part of the fruit having the most flavour. The rind (skin) varies between bitter and tasteless. Similar to tofu or chicken, eggplant is often used as more of a filler food and takes on the taste of the other ingredients and seasonings with which it is mixed.
Salt removes some of the natural bitterness from the eggplant – smaller eggplants are also less likely to be bitter and have less seeds. Avoid eggplants that have soft spots or skin that isn’t firm and taut. Eat raw or cooked, as preferred.
The root of the wild aubergine is often boiled with porridge and sour milk as a simple and natural cure for syphilis. The fruit has a cooling ability and is often used as a poultice, when mixed with vinegar, for a range of grazes, bruises and abscesses.