The Eggplant, a fruit thats part of the nightshade family of Solanaceae species. This family includes bell peppers, white potatoes, and tomatoes. This is a seasonal vegetable planted in the second half of spring, growing in loam or sandy loam soil. Technically a fruit but treated and cooked as a vegetable, providing a deliciously good amount of vitamins and nutrients. Taste-wise it adds a mildly sweet, earthy and tender addition into any dish. Find out more below!
A short Introduction
Is an Eggplant a fruit? It is! The Eggplant or the Aubergine, is actually a berry that is part of the Solanum Nightshade family, with the scientific name ‘Solanum melongena’. This vibrant purple fruit is related to the white potato, tomato, chili peppers, and bell peppers. Like all of them, the seeds and skin are edible, most, after it has been cooked. Originally domesticated with other species of bitter apple, domesticated in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, India, and China. It Has an extensive history as well as different names like Aubergine in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and Brinjal in Malaysia and Singapore. Originating from India, though some may say otherwise, being that it came from Africa. The earliest found records date back to 544, in a Chinese agricultural archive.
A delicate tropical plant thats annually grown in temperate climate, having spiny almost furry looking vines, blooming white going to purple five petaled flowers with yellow stamens. After the petals fall, it grows an egg-shaped glossy, smooth white turning purple developing fruit that can grow 40-150 cm in height. The name egg-plant actually came from how it was described as it grows, looking from a plant that grows eggs to the purple fruit we’re more familiar with. The inside of the eggplant has tender but still firm white flesh, that slowly oxidizes to brown if not kept in water, has very small eggplant seeds around the middle, the texture is described to be similar to a zucchini when uncooked, and when cooked, it turns into a very soft and tender texture. It has a taste that is said to be close to a summer squash but slightly sweeter, and a bit of the bitter vegetable taste. In the world of culinary arts, the eggplant is loved for its creamy fleshy texture that quickly absorbs flavors of sauces, marinades, or any flavorings quickly.
The Eggplant, a fruit, is low in the essential dietary needs, these are still high in fiber and are a deliciously great way to add vitamins and minerals into your diet. Despite its low micronutrient (a nutrient needed in small amounts, like vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (nutrient needed by the body in large amounts, like protein, fats and carbohydrates) content. A good amount of serving can already give you 5% of the daily fiber, manganese, thiamine, copper, VitaminC and B-6 requirements. These all help the body with the following:
- Great for heart health, being a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6, and antioxidants that have anti inflammatory properties.
- Antioxidants are also what helps the cells from damage. It may help prevent cancer cells and tumors from growing.
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels, it has a primary antioxidant called ‘chlorogenic acid’ that also reduces the risk of fatty liver disease.
- For Brain health, a study shows that eggplant skin can help the brain cells from damage, removing any waste, and helps with the transport of nutrients into the cells. Boosting brain function, slowing signs of aging like memory loss, Alzheimers, and other brain conditions.
- Eaten for weight loss, being low in calories but still filling due to the amount of fiber, it keeps the stomach feeling like it is still full. Though do note that fried eggplants can absorb a lot of oil, and it might not be a good method of cooking if eaten for weight loss.
- Helps the eyes, having antioxidants, zeaxanthin, and lutein that plays a role in aging. These can help to slow down problems like vision loss, and other macular degenerations.
Is Eggplant keto?
Eggplant is a fruit-vegetable that is low calorie, but high in fiber, which is a great ingredient for any one who is trying the keto-diet. The Keto diet needs fresh vegetables, and eggplant is a delicious choice for this diet, just make sure to keep track of the amount of servings. Popular choices of keto diet recipes with eggplants are the; keto eggplant parmesan, eggplant lasagna, miso eggplant, eggplant sandwich, eggplant pizza, and many more.
Eggplant fruit side effects
Eggplant while popular in many cuisines, there is a RARE eggplant allergy that can also cause problems like the following:
- Diarrhea, stomach pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tingling lip. throat or tongue
- Swelling of the face, throat, or tongue.
- Difficulty breathing
* If any problems arise, do consult a doctor immediately.
How long to roast the Eggplant fruit
- Roast the eggplant over a gas stove, slightly 2 or 3 inches away. Do note; to use tongs to avoid any burns. Turning it around till each side trunks a dark purple or even charred.
- You can also use an oven, slicing the eggplant in half, or chopping into smaller bits. Bake in a preheated oven at 425°F or 218°C for 15 – 20 minutes, or till the skin darkens a bit, and the flesh is tender.
- Note: for the charred eggplants, you will need to peel the skin as much as possible. This is because the body should not consume too much carcinogens (charred food) that are bad for the body and might cause cancer.
One of the most popular ‘vegetables’, the Talong
In the Philippines these are called ‘talong’, with a short folklore describing the plant to be the ‘root of insanity’ since it is part of the nightshade family. it ‘s said that consuming too much of these will be toxic to the body. Although this fruit has many sources of how it came to be, it is still a delightfully delicious staple vegetable to many Filipinos, and is even the number one produced ‘vegetable’ in terms of hectares or production area.
While many of the eggplant dishes might prominently come from Mediterranean cuisine, like the Eggplant caviar, or eggplant dip, the Greek eggplant dish ‘Moussaka’, even popular with pasta-like dishes like the classic Italian ‘Eggplant parmigiana’ or ‘Eggplant parm’, and many more. In the Philippines, there is just much love for the talong as there are with the number of recipes, here are some ways to cook eggplant dishes that we are sure will make you say “YUM”!
- Eggplant rolls, an easy snack you can quickly mix up even in the middle of the day. The Eggplant circles recipe even makes for a great party snack, a simple but gourmet looking dish that will impress your guests.
- Crispy eggplant, for those who aren’t sure how they feel with this fruit vegetable, or kids who have a hard time accepting vegetables. This quick crispy on the outside, and deliciously soft and yummy inside, might be the recipe for you. You can also check out our Eggplant Fries.
- Ginataang talong, a healthy and spicy way to add talong ito your diet, it just needs a few ingredients such as coconut milk, aromatics, chillies, or without the pork to make it vegan. You’re in for a shock on how everything works together.
- Kare-kare, one of the best traditional Filipino dishes, made even better with roasted eggplant slices, and many more vegetables, topped with a delightfully tasty and fragrant peanut sauce.
- Eggplant Stir-fry with Ground pork (Pork-Stir-fry with eggplant), savory sauce, talong, other vegetables, a few mix-ins, in just 5 minutes, and you’re ready to go. Try this quick but still delicious recipe especially when you need of a quick fix for dinner.
- Eggplant Tuna Patties (or for vegetarians Eggplant Patties), a healthier way to explore eggplant dishes, for those who want an affordable way to enjoy eggplants with a twist.
- Tortang talong, a Filipino version of the omelet that is quite filling, colorful, and just a delicious way to start your mornings. It’s quite popular hat you can even find many Filipinos also eating this for lunch and dinner.