info: Eggplant are part of the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. They produce long pear shaped fruit with purple skin & spongy white flesh.
storage: Wrap unwashed & uncut in a paper towel and store in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator – it will keep for 2-3 days. Best if eaten soon.
preparation: Wash well in cold water.
You can bake, roast or steam eggplant. For baking, prick with a fork a few times to allow steam to escape & bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes.
The Spaniards of the 16th century called eggplants berengenas, or “apples of love,” while some of the botanists of northern Europe of the same period called the species Mala insana, or “mad apple,” because they thought that eating it would make a person insane. Equally unfounded was the idea in medieval Europe that it had remarkable properties as a love potion.
Eggplant is believed to have originated in the Indian center of plant origins, which includes Assam and Burma. There are many entirely different names for it in ancient Sanskrit, Bengali, and Hindustani, indicating its antiquity in India.
In a secondary center, in China, small-fruited kinds developed that were distinctly different from those of Indian origin.
Although cultivated in India, China, and adjacent areas from remote prehistory, eggplant appears to have been known to the Western World no more than about 1,500 years. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, and the lack of ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate that it was carried into the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the so-called Dark Ages, or early Middle Ages. Melongena, now part of the scientific name, was a 16th-century Arabic name for one kind of eggplant.. …read more