Jewish Recipes
Jewish Recipes

Home | Jewish Recipes Main Directory | Submit a Recipe | Kosher Dieting | What Blessing do I make over foods? | About Us
Kosher Grocery Store | Kitchenware | Judaica | Jewish Cookbooks | Food and Health | Search Recipes

Jewish Recipes

  Recipes
Cooking Terms
Foods
Spices
  Cookbooks
Dairy
Meat
  Parve
  Baba Ganoush
  Bagels
  Blintz
  Challah
  Charoset
  Cholent
  Etrog
  Farfel
Falafel
Fish
Gefilte Fish
  Hamantaschen
  Hummus
  Jewish Holidays
  Knish
  Kosher Recipes
  Kosher Wines
  Kugel
  Latkes
  Lox (salmon)
  Matzah
  Pita
  Sufganiya
  Tzimmes

Jewish Cooking

  Judaica
Kitchenware
Kosher Symbols
What is Kosher ?
What is a hechsher?

Page Options

Send

Jewish Recipes: Copyright - Disclaimer

Add us to your favorites

|

Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Eggplant?

Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, it's related to the potato and tomato. Though commonly thought of as a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit, specifically a berry.

Also see Recipes: Eggplant -- Baba Ganoush

There are many varieties of this delicious food, ranging in color from rich purple to white, in length from 2 to 12 inches and in shape from oblong to round. In the United States, the most common eggplant is the large, cylindrical- or pear-shape variety with a smooth, glossy, dark purple skin. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots. Eggplants become bitter with age and are very perishable. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a day or two of purchase. If longer storage is necessary, place the eggplant in the refrigerator vegetable drawer. Eggplant can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling and frying. It does, however, have sponge like capacity to soak up oil so it should be well coated with a batter or crumb mixture to inhibit fat absorption.

The eggplant, aubergine, melongene, brinjal or guinea squash (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 in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato. It is native to India.

It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (48 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (24 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is fleshy, has a meaty texture, and is less than 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.

The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but have a bitter taste because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids; this is unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.

The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory, but appears to have become known to the Western world no earlier than ca. 1500. The first known written record of the plant is found in Q mn yo sh, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The scientific name Solanum melongena is derived from a 16th century Arabic term for one variety.

The name aubergine is from the French, a diminutive of auberge, variant of alberge a kind of peach or from the Spanish alberchigo, alverchiga, an apricocke (Minsheu 1623). It may be also be derived from Catalan albergnia, from Arabic al-bainjān from Persian bdenjn, from Sanskrit vātiga-gama).

Aubergine is also the name of the purple color resembling that of the fruit and is a commonly known color scheme applied to articles as diverse as cloth or bathroom suites.

The name eggplant, rather than aubergine, is used in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and refers to the fruits of some 18th century European cultivars which were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen's eggs.

In Indian, South African, Malaysian and Singaporean English, the fruit brinjal, being derived directly from the Portuguese beringela. A less common British English word is melongene, which is also from French (derived) from Italian "melanzana" from Greek "μελιτζάνα". In the Caribbean Trinidad, it also goes by "meloongen" from melongene.

Because of the plant's relationship with the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous.

Different varieties of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape and color, though typically purple. There are even orange varieties.

The most widely cultivated varieties (cultivars) in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 1225 cm long (4 to 9 in) and 69 cm broad (2 to 4 in) in a dark purple skin.

A much wider range of shapes, sizes and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia. Larger varieties weighing up to a kilogram (2.2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, while smaller varieties are found elsewhere. Colors vary from white to yellow or green as well as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have a color gradient, from white at the stem to bright pink to deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars in white striping also exist. Chinese varieties are commonly shaped like a narrower, slightly pendulous cucumber, and were sometimes called Japanese eggplants in North America.

Oval or elongated oval-shaped and black-skinned cultivars include Harris Special Hibush, Burpee Hybrid, Black Magic, Classic, Dusky, and Black Beauty. Slim cultivars in purple-black skin include Little Fingers, Ichiban, Pingtung Long, and Tycoon; in green skin Louisiana Long Green and Thai (Long) Green; in white skin Dourga. Traditional, white-skinned, egg-shaped cultivars include Casper and Easter Egg. Bicolored cultivars with color gradient include Rosa Bianca, Violetta di Firenze, Bianca Smufata di Rosa (heirloom), and Prosperosa (heirloom). Bicolored cultivars with striping include Listada de Gandia and Udumalapet. In some parts of India, miniature varieties (most commonly called vengan) are popular. A particular variety of green brinjal known as Matti Gulla is grown in Matti, a village of the Udupi district in Karnataka state.

Cooking

The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Traditionally, recipes would advise the salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit (known as "degorging") to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness of the earlier cultivars. Some modern varieties - including those large, purple varieties commonly imported into western Europe - do not need this treatment. The fruit is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, allowing for very rich dishes, but the salting process will reduce the amount of oil absorbed. The fruit flesh is smooth; as in the related tomato, the numerous seeds are soft and edible along with the rest of the fruit. The thin skin is also edible, so peeling is not required.
Melanzane alla Parmigiana, or Eggplant Parmesan

The plant is used in cuisines from Japan to Spain. It is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille, the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish karnıyarık or musakka, and Middle-Eastern and South Asian dishes. Eggplants can also be battered before deep-frying and served with a sauce made of tahini and tamarind. In Iranian cuisine, it can be blended with whey as kashk e-bademjan, tomatoes as mirza ghasemi or made into stew as khoresh-e-bademjan. It can be sliced and deep-fried, then served with plain yogurt, (optionally) topped with a tomato and garlic sauce, such as in the Turkish dish patlıcan kızartması (meaning: fried aubergines) or without yogurt as in patlıcan şakşuka. However, arguably the most famous Turkish eggplant dish duo is İmam bayıldı (vegetarian) and Karnıyarık (with minced meat).

It may also be roasted in its skin until charred, so the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients, such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Middle Eastern dish baba ghanoush and the similar Greek dish melitzanosalata. Grilled, mashed and mixed with onions, tomatoes and spices make the Indian dish baingan ka Bhartha or gojju, similar to salată de vinete in Romania, while a mix of roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, chopped onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery and spices is called zacuscă in Romania or ajvar in Serbia and the Balkans. A simpler version of the dish, Begun-Pora (eggplant-charred or burnt), is popular in the east Indian state of Bengal and Bangladesh where the charred pulp is mixed with raw chopped onions, green chillies, salt and mustard oil. A Catalan dish called Escalivada calls for strips of roasted aubergine, sweet pepper, onion and tomato.

The fruit can also be stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings and then baked. In the Caucasus, for example, it is fried and stuffed with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani. It can also be found in Chinese cuisine, braised (紅燒茄子), stewed (魚香茄子), steamed (凉拌茄子), or stuffed (釀茄子).

As a native plant, it is widely used in Indian cuisine, for example in sambhar, dalma (a dal preparation with vegetables, native to Orissa), chutney, curry, and achaar. Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described (under the name brinjal) as the "King of Vegetables". In one dish, brinjal is stuffed with ground coconut, peanuts, and masala, and then cooked in oil.

Cultivation

Worldwide eggplant production
Eggplants being sorted just after harvest

In tropical and subtropical climates, eggplant can be sown directly into the garden. Eggplant grown in temperate climates fares better when transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost is passed. Seeds are typically started eight to ten weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date.

Many pests and diseases which afflict other solanaceous plants, such as tomato, pepper (capsicum), and potato, are also troublesome to eggplants. For this reason, it should not be planted in areas previously occupied by its close relatives. Four years should separate successive crops of eggplants. Common North American pests include the potato beetles, flea beetles, aphids, and spider mites. (Adults can be removed by hand, though flea beetles can be especially difficult to control.) Good sanitation and crop rotation practices are extremely important for controlling fungal disease, the most serious of which is Verticillium.

Spacing should be 45 cm (18 in.) to 60 cm (24 in.) between plants, depending on cultivar, and 60 cm to 90 cm (24 to 36 in.) between rows, depending on the type of cultivation equipment being used. Mulching will help conserve moisture and prevent weeds and fungal diseases. The flowers are relatively unattractive to bees and the first blossoms often do not set fruit. Hand pollination will improve the set of the first blossoms. Fruits are typically cut from the vine just above the calyx owing to the somewhat woody stems. Flowers are complete, containing both female and male structures, and may be self pollinated or cross pollinated.

Statistics

A purple eggplant which has been sliced in half, showing the inside, the flesh surrounding the seeds is already beginning to oxidize and will turn brown just minutes after slicing.

Production of eggplant is highly concentrated, with 85 percent of output coming from five countries. China is the top producer (56% of world output) and India is second (26%); Egypt, Turkey and Indonesia round out the top producing nations. More than 4 million acres (2,043,788 hectares) are devoted to the cultivation of eggplant in the world. In the United States, Georgia is the largest producing state.

Health properties

Studies of the Institute of Biology of So Paulo State University, Brazil, have shown eggplant is effective in the treatment of high blood cholesterol. Another study from Heart Institute of the University of So Paulo found no effects at all and does not recommend eggplant as a replacement to statins.

It helps to block the formation of free radicals and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.

Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01 mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking. On average, 20 lbs (9 kg) of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette.

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.