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Eggplant History

Early eggplants were white like eggs

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eggplant, history, recipes, receipts, vegetable, fruit

Eggplant (Aubergine)

© 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone
Eggplant has been vastly under-used by the American public. Today, thanks to Asian and Southern European influences, it is finding its way into more and more dishes. It is a good meat substitute which also makes it attractive to vegetarians. Eggplant actually has a quite bland flavor, but it soaks up flavors of accompanying foods, herbs, and spices like a sponge, much like tofu.

Learn about the history eggplant, how to store it, whether to salt or not to salt, and get some cooking tips before delving into the many eggplant recipes.

Eggplant history

The eggplant, Solanum melongena, is considered a vegetable but is botanically a fruit. Early varieties of eggplant were smaller and white, resembling eggs, hence the name.

Botanists credit India as the motherland of the eggplant, but Asian countries first embraced this fruit vegetable in the kitchen about 3 A.D. By 11 A.D., it reached Europe, where consumption of the eggplant was initially thought to cause insanity. No doubt this wary notion was due to its membership in the deadly nightshade family along with the tomato (also thought to be poisonous).

Experimental botanist Thomas Jefferson brought the eggplant to the United States, where the eggplant was primarily used as a table ornament until the 20th century.

More About Eggplant and Eggplant Recipes:

Eggplant Selection and Storage
Eggplant Cooking Tips and Measures
Eggplant History
Eggplant Recipes
Eggplant Photo © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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