Also known as 'aubergine' or 'brinjal', eggplants are mostly long, oval shaped vegetables with deep purple, glossy skin. They are native to Southern India and Sri Lanka, with China being the top eggplant consumer in the world. With their meaty texture and unique taste, eggplants are among the most satisfying vegetables to eat. They also make a great addition to many meals and salads. Eggplants come in different shapes and colours; such as long thin varieties and larger tear drop shaped ones. The colours range from deep purple, purple and white striped and also white skinned varieties.
Eggplants have a number of nutritional benefits such as a good source of fibre and also a source of potassium and vitamin C.
To prepare the vegetable, wash, cut off the stem at the top and pat dry
Cook eggplant under the grill, in the stove or by pan- frying
Slice lengthways, brush with olive oil and cook under the grill
Sauté eggplant in the pan with other vegetables or with herbs and garlic
Choose eggplant which is firm, dark and shiny and also heavy for its size. Eggplants should have flesh which bounces back when pressed lightly and should not have any brown or soft spots on the surface of the skin. Eggplants should typically be eaten as soon as possible to ensure optimum freshness. To store the Eggplant, place uncut and unwashed into the crisper section of the refrigerator, and it will keep for a few days.
Eggplant can be made into a dip by roasting the vegetable and pureeing in a food processor with garlic and lemon juice.
Stuff the eggplant with meat and rice or vegetables and roasted in the oven
You can also grill your eggplant or cook on the BBQ, season with salt and pepper and add to a salad