Eggplant is an annual plant. It belongs to the potato family, and is native to India, where it has been grown for thousands of years. Eggplant has large white to dark purple fleshy fruit that can be as large as six or eight inches in diameter. The Chinese and Arabs grew eggplant as early as the ninth century, and it is said to have been introduced into Europe by the early invaders. British traders brought this vegetable to the London market from West Africa in the seventeenth century, calling it “Guinea squash.”
According to available records, the early types of eggplant had small fruits of ovoid shape. This, perhaps, accounts for its name. Eggplant is available all year. Florida, California, Texas, Louisiana, and New Jersey produce most of the eggplant in this country.
When selecting eggplants, choose those that are heavy and firm. They should have a uniform dark color and be free from blemish. Eggplant is best steamed or baked. Cheese and tomatoes can be added for flavoring.
Eggplant is low in calories and is a nonstarchy fruit that is cooked as a vegetable. It contains a large amount of water. It is good for balancing diets that are heavy in protein and starches.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND
Vitamin A: 100 I.U.
Ascorbic Acid: 19mg