The very first person who looked at an eggplant must have scratched his head and said, “What is this?” It is rather odd-looking but offers amazing health benefits. There are many peculiar facts about it, and I find its peculiarities fascinating.
Are you wondering how the eggplant got its name? In eighteenth-century Europe, the shape and size resembled a goose egg. The hanging fruit was white or yellowish rather than the purple that we know today. Someone important named it eggplant, and that was it.
The origin of the eggplant can be traced to remote India and China 1500 years ago. In those days, the ancients considered it “The King of Vegetables” It looked nothing like it does today. Back then, it was bitter, orange, spiny, tiny, and pea-shaped.
The ancients oftentimes used it for medicinal purposes. However, the ancients suggested that this fruit caused pimples and epilepsy. We have a much-evolved eggplant these days.
I’ll bet you thought eggplant was a vegetable. I did. Amazingly, it comes from the berry family along with tomatoes, and potatoes. They are members of the nightshade family. So, eggplant is a fruit.
There are 770 varieties found mostly in tropical areas around the world. The plant has a spiny stem and is mostly cultivated for food. However, some species are grown to be decorative plants.
The white and purple flowers are star-shaped. Because the flowers contain both reproductive organs, they are self-pollinating.
3. Helps with Weight Loss
The beauty of this fruit is its high fiber content. Fiber helps you digest food slowly letting you feel full longer. This combined with its low-calorie property should place it on top of your “favorite healthy foods” list.
Each cup of eggplant contains 3 grams of fiber and 20 calories. Both of these qualities can help promote weight loss. For tips on how to choose an eggplant, read this.
A quick tip: One of my favorite lunches is grilled eggplant within a pocket of Syrian bread. It has very few calories and it tastes great.
4. High in Antioxidants
Free radicals are harmful substances in our bodies associated with human diseases like cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and several others. Antioxidants protect our bodies from any damage that free radicals try to cause in our systems. According to several recent studies, antioxidants can ward off diseases like cancer and heart disease. Eggplant offers antioxidants.
Studies proved that eggplant can reduce elevated triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Reducing these helps prevent heart disease.
One case study was based on rabbits with high cholesterol. These rabbits were fed .3 ounces of eggplant juice each day for two weeks.
After two weeks, these lucky rabbits had lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Current research involves only animals, but to me this is encouraging. Let’s face it; if you like eggplant, you should eat it. It is really good for you and apparently rabbits too.
5. Contains Nicotine
Eggplant has the highest nicotine content of any other vegetable. It’s true! A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that it contains a tiny bit of nicotine. If you ever decide to eat 20 to 40 pounds of eggplant you would reach the nicotine level of one cigarette. I think you are safe.
6. Has Poisonous Qualities
The poison deadly nightshade shares the same family as eggplant. Also known as belladonna, this poison was the one that made Juliet appear dead in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
However, you must not fret for, in ancient times, this berry was also used as a medicine, but never taken internally. Externally, it could relieve motion sickness in a skin patch and other such remedies.
7. Eggplant in Moderation
Do not overdo feasting on eggplant. Believe it or not, it can be harmful to people with certain conditions.
- If you have eaten food rich in fiber and potassium, do not indulge in eggplant. Too much can cause nausea and disturb the digestion process.
- They can cause problems for kidney stone patients.
- They can interact poorly with antidepressants.
Note: The negative effects of eggplant present themselves if you eat TOO MUCH of it. Remember, everything is fine in moderation.
This recipe was created by Kimmy and me. Tell us how you like it. You will need:
- wooden spoon
- large bowl
- measuring cups and measuring spoons
- 2 cookie sheets
- large bowl
- measuring cups and spoons
- 2 cookie sheets
- 1 eggplant medium
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup spinach shredded
- ¼ cup Romano or Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp. fresh basil
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Peel eggplant Note: I like the eggplant peeled. It is a personal preference.
- Cut eggplant vertically about ¼ inch thick. It ends up being about 6 or 7 slices.
- Spray 2 cookie sheets with olive oil spray, and place the eggplant slices on the pans.
- Put the eggplant slices in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Mix the spinach, mozzarella, and Romano in a large bowl.
- Take the eggplant slices out of the oven, and let them cool for about 7 minutes so you can handle them. (They have to be soft enough to roll.)
- Place the mixture on each slice.
- Roll each eggplant and place them in a baking pan. Sprinkle a little bit of Romano on top of each and put them under the broiler for 3 minutes. (Until slightly browned.)
Here is a video enlightening us about eggplants 2000 years ago.
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is one of my favorite dishes. Almost every meal I cook for guests has eggplant in it. Today’s recipe will do well as a side dish. I would serve it with the meatball recipe.
Buon appetito!. Enjoy the recipe. Leave a comment to let me know how you liked the dish.