The Fruit Named Eggplant.
If you’ve studied botany, you already know that a fruit is classified as the part of a plant that develops from a flower and houses seeds that are capable of replicating the the mother plant. For example okra, peas, squash, tomato and, you guessed it, eggplant. Yup. In contrast a vegetable is any other part of the plant that you eat such as the leaves, stem and root. Examples of these include but are not limited to celery, beetroot, radish, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. That being said, by definition there are many plants that function dually as a fruit and vegetable crop. Some of these are the okra plant where both the pod (fruit) as well as the leaves (vegetable) are edible, and squash plants where, for example, the zucchini (fruit) as well as the young leaves (vegetable) are edible.
Its Edible Skin.
They asked “why aren’t you removing the skin before cooking?” and I smiled, perfect teaching moment. Popular belief indicates that the skin of the eggplant is inedible and should be removed prior to cooking and eating. But why? Some say it’s bitter (this may be true for the rare varieties which are scarcely commercially grown but not so for the common varieties) while others claim it to be poisonous . If that’s the case then I’m a dead girl blogging. But I’m not a dead girl blogging. I, my family and (at least) most of the people of the Caribbean have been eating eggplant along with its skin for centuries! We fry it, we stew it, we bake it and we eat it. And it’s totally delish. And worth it.
If you grow your own organically or obtain it from a trusted source that focuses on organic practices, go ahead, eat on to good health. But to those of you who source your eggplants otherwise, it is the only time I do recommend to peel them up before using.
You see within that skin, especially the darkest of them all, dwells a powerhouse of anthocyanin which just happens to be one of if not the key antioxidant responsible for the prevention of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Usually the darker they are, the more power~packed they are. They work by flexing their muscles and scavenging free radicals that are up to no good in our bodies. This promotes a more balanced environment that promotes homeostasis, which leads to optimal health. Along with dark colored eggplants, other foods containing anthocyanin include blueberries, blackberries, purple cabbage and these carrots. Essentially, whenever you see those beautiful blue/black/purple hues, think health in a crop. 🙂
So the next time someone mentions to you anything otherwise, while placing a gentle hand on their shoulder, smilingly equip them with the tools they need to be as smart as you. You’re welcome!