Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spotlight On Produce: Eggplant

This weeks spotlight on produce is eggplant.

I have to admit that I am not an eggplant lover. I've tried it many times, and unlike zucchini, it has not grown on me. My husband, however, is of Italian descent and he and his family love it. It's a versatile vegetable, so I have picked up quite a few recipes with eggplant as an ingredient.

A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, eggplant is an annual warm-season vegetable with smooth, glossy skin. A cousin of the tomato and the pepper, eggplant can range from 5-12 inches in length and a single eggplant can weigh up to two pounds.

Eggplant is low in calories and an excellent source of fiber and protein. It blends well in Greek and Italian dishes featuring cheese, tomatoes, onions and garlic, and is a common substitute for pasta in lasagna and other casserole dishes.

Select an eggplant that's heavy for its size and has a firm, smooth skin. Avoid those with brown or soft spots. Eggplants are very perishable and become bitter with age. Store them in a cool, dry place and use within a day or two of purchase.

What are some of your favorite ways to prepare eggplant?


Tristi Pinkston said...

My very favorite way to prepare an eggplant is to leave it at the store. :)

Erin said...

I like your spotlight on produce. The newest addition to our diet is Quinoa. Its a grain that can be used in place of rice. We eat it when we make Rachel Ray's Curry in a Hurry. Its high in fiber and rediculously good for you.