Saturday, September 09, 2006

How to Prepare Eggplants

A lot of people find that they cannot eat eggplant. It's either too bitter, or gives them heartburn, or, if you're like me, your throat starts to itch and you start coughing. This could be because some people are ultra-sensitive to something called solanine, which is present in eggplant in higher quantities than other nightshade plants (doctors recommend that people with joint problems or arthritis stay away from the nightshade family of plants because solanine can make matters worse; Dr. Peter D'Adamo has an interesting theory on why, based on blood type, but I won't go into that here). I'm planning to delve a little more deeply into the facts pretty soon, but in the meantime, here are some tips for preparing eggplant, which have thus far eliminated all of my problems with eating this versatile veggie.

First of all, organic is the only way to go. Eggplant absorbs a lot of water while it's growing, and whatever is in the water does make its way into your eggplant. The stuff they're spraying on the eggplants out here is not good, it's ruining our ground water, killing birds and the blow off has been causing lung problems out here. So, support your organic growers because they take care of the earth God gave us. Also, there are many studies popping up over how much more nutritious organic vegetables are for youcheck this out. Even if they were the same in nutritional content, however, organic growers are growing their vegetables the way God meant them to be grown, and it IS less expensive to farm organically, there is a much higher quality of nutrients left in organically farmed soils. . I could go on and on. Eat organic.

Second, you have to eat your eggplant ripe. Under-ripe eggplant is under-developed and contains more solanine than a ripe one. So if you can't tolerate eggplant very well, then you really can't tolerate an un-ripe one. Ripe eggplant are a bit soft to the touch, deep dark purple, and shiny. If your eggplant is dull, it's most likely over-ripe, which is okay, but not as good.

Third, always peel the eggplant unless the recipe you are using says not to (it should also give you explicit directions on how to prepare it. . .otherwise, peel it anyway).

Fourth, cut the eggplant in half and give the entire pieces a very liberal rubbing with salt. I and my eggplant eating friends don't use regular tablesalt, we've always used sea salt, but I think regular salt will work just as well. Let the salted pieces sit in a colander or somewhere that air can circulate around them for about 5 minutes or so, while you go about the rest of your meal preparation. Then, just before you need the eggplant, rinse off the salt, pat it dry, and use.

Fifth and final tip, make sure your eggplant is well done. Eggplant is not a veggie you want to eat on the raw side, you want it to be mush.

With all this hassle, why eat eggplant? Well, I eat eggplant because it's cheap, for one thing, (he he he) and it can be a good replacement for meat in dishes because of its rather neutral flavor, and ability to soak up the flavors of other food it's cooked with. Rather filling, it goes with many, many dishes, yet does not have many calories. For the nutritional content of eggplants lookee here.

I'll be posting more recipes containing eggplant later. There are some really good ones. :-D


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, I found it helpful!

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't decide whether to peel the eggplant or not. Thanks for the tip.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent! Thanks so much! I was debating on whether or not to peel it for the ratatouille I made tonight and I'm glad I read this first! Knowing now what you say about joint problems, I may not buy more for my parents' sake.

5:39 PM  
Blogger JohnnyPolo24 said...

Very helpful tips. Thanks a lot!

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great info, I made eggplant parmesian reacently and myself and one of my dinner guests had unbelievable heartburn afterwords. I am going to try this in my next eggplant venture

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for taking the time to post easy to understand, helpful information!

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your clear and "organic" info on the eggplant...I have bookmarked you!!!!!

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yow. I just tried eggplant for the first time (fried slices). It DOES make my throat itch, like mad. Quite bitter.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous jocelyn said...

perfect. I'm doing a quinoa, chinese eggplant and oyster mushroom dish for dinner. I'll use your tips!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one Catholic mom to another... thank you!

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mags said...

Aloha and Mahalo Nui Loa (thank you very much). I am starting to eat more veggies and wish I could find a primer on how to prepare veggies...not neccessarily how to cook them but how to prep them. Your article was just perfect.

Honolulu, Oahu, HI

7:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Very nice website!
Thanks for the information. I am preparing eggplant for the first time in my life; I'm fifty! Hope my guys like it. I appreciate you mentioning the nightshade sensitivity and the blood-type research.
God Bless,
Another Catholic woman, old, many sons, still married, but praying for harmony.

2:56 PM  
Blogger T said...

thanks for the information, sis! i came across your blog after googling while my throat was itching... i appreciate the detailed information about solanine. very useful! i'll cook my eggplant more, and try the slat thing. thanks!

3:04 PM  
Blogger John Ludington said...

Very helpful. Eggplant is one of those things I always want to use in place of meat but forget how to prep! Thank you!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Rachelle said...

Thanks so much! I am preparing eggplant soup and an eggplant "caviar" for dinner tonight. Its my first time preparing eggplant, so this was very useful! =)

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i appreciate the information, but critical parts were left out. after you rub the salt into the eggplant and let it sit.......what do you do? bake, broil, boil, WHAT? and for how long?????

8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Anonymous--this was info on how to PREP your eggplant before you prepare YOUR RECIPE.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, really! God, leave that out of you're organic BS. god is BS, and have a atheist day, asshole.

5:34 PM  

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