Vegetables Facts & Tips 10: Egg Plants/Aubergines (amended & expanded)

aubergines-1

The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena) is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.

That for the Wikipedia definition. The word Aubergine is mainly used in Europe. It comes in many shapes, sizes and even colours, but they share the same facts.

FACTS:
-Season: June to September in the Northern Hemisphere, but are available all year round thanks to greenhouse cultivation.
-Main beneficial elements: Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin C and B1, B2
-90% is water, but the skin contains a lot of polyphenols so useful against ageing and arteries cleaning!
It is also of a great help to fight diabetes.

VARIETIES:

As mentioned above, aubergines come in many varieties, but I am introducing here only the varieties and hybrids grown in Japan.

The first one I would to make known is particular to this country:

aubergines-mizu

“Mizu Nasu”, litterally “Water Aubergine”
It has the particularity that it can be eaten raw cut and served like sashimi! With miso, pickled plum flesh, wasabi or soy sauce, it opens all kinds of possibilities fro vegans, vegetarians and raw food lovers!

“Bei Nasu”
An American hybrid popular for its large round size.

“Ao nasu”, or green aubergine
Also called “Midori Nasu”. The skin is hard but will soften quickly upon cooking. Appreciated grilled.

“Shiro Nasu”, or white aubergines.
The white colour is due to the absence of Nathnin.
Will get very soft upon cooking.

“Naga Nasu”, or litterally “Long Aubergine”.
Can grow up 30 cm long. Soft flesh, it is most popular grilled.

“Kamo Nasu”
A typical variety originally grown in Kyoto. Small and round with a finely-grained texture. Very popular in higher class gastronomy.

“Zebra Nasu”
Also called Italian Aubergine. Valued for its colourand designs.
Appropriate for slow cooking as hard.

“Tozen Nasu”
Small variety.

The small size of Tozen Nasu Aubergines makes it popular for pickles inparticular.

“Batten Nasu”
From Kumamamoto Prefecture. Sweet and containing a lot of water. Can be eaten raw.

“Okita Nasu”
Another small variety.

Okita Nasu are minuscule, making them very popular for pickles!

“Aka Nasu”, or red aubergine.
Large and beautiful, with little acidity, it is one of the most popular varieties in this country, especially grilled.

“Ko Nasu”, or litterally small aubergine.
Sweet, soft skin, almost containing no seeds, it is popular for pickles. Also exist round.

“Stick Taste”
A new variety, about 10 cm long and svelte. Popular stir-fried. Will keep its colour and design even cooked.

“Thai Nasu”
Small, roundish. Hard variety with a lot of seeds. Slow cooked in curries.

TIPS:

-Choose specimens with a deep colour, bright appearance and comparatively light weight.
-To preserve them, wrap them individually in cellophane paper before storing them in the refrigerator.
-Before cooking them, cut them and leave them in clear water util usage to prevent oxydizing.
If you want to fry them, cut them first and rub them with a lttle salt to take excess water out of them.

HEALTH FACTS:

-Combined with konnyaku/Devil’s Tongue Tuber/Elephant Foot Tuber, or okra, or enoki mushrooms, or burdock root, helps combat artery hardening, cancer and high blood pressure.

-Combined wiyh carrot, or kabocha, or spinach, or pink grapefruit, helps combat cancer and colds, helps skin rejuvenation.

-Combined with wax gourd, or tomato, or cockles, or small clams, helps combat diabetes, cancer and obesity.

-Combined with miso or enoki mushrooms, helps combat cancer, helps lower blood cholesterol and stimulates blood flow.

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES
Not-Just-Recipes, Bengal cuisine, Cooking Vegetarian, Frank Fariello, Gluten-free Vegan Family, Meatless Mama, Warren Bobrow, Wheeling Gourmet, Le Petit Cuisinier, Vegan Epicurean, Miss V’s Vegan Cookbook, Comestiblog, To Cheese or not To Cheese, The Lacquer Spoon, Russell 3, Octopuspie, Bread + Butter, Pegasus Legend, Think Twice, The French Market Maven, Fuji Mama, Great Teacher Sato, Peas Love Carrots

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