Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wholesome Wednesdays: Eggplant (Asian)

I finally harvested my first two little eggplants this weekend for our pizza. My poor little spontaneous purchase Thai Heirloom Eggplant has not been doing very well. All spring/early summer it has been attacked and ravaged by flea beetles, lacebugs, and any number of other nasties including aphids. With the warmer/longer days it has finally perked up some. It's putting on some fruit, and trying to cope with the barrage of evil bugs and lack of rain (would it kill me to WATER my plants???). Last year's favorite eggplant were the Green Goddesses: small, light green eggplants with very tender flesh, light and tasty flavor, and no skin bitterness. I can't stand Italian eggplants with their thick, bitter skin and spongy flesh - but i love Asian eggplants! They're usually slender and have much milder flavor. These Thai eggplants were even better than the GGs, now if only they'd put out some production!

Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family, along with peppers and tomatoes so don't plant them in the same place as those plants in consecutive seasons. They dislike crowding, and love the heat. Eggplants may aggravate arthritis - so if you suffer from that ailment it would be worth skinning the fruit to help remove the more bothersome parts. Eggplant greens are somewhat toxic, so don't nibble on the plant itself.
Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium,manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.
They are an excellent food to aid in weight loss, being low in calories and fat. Eggplant is a nutrient dense food, which will help you feel full, and there are almost no calories in eggplants.

eggplant calories: there are 20 calories in a cup of eggplant, essentially zero calories for purposes of your diet.
 Feeling in the mood for ethnic dippable food? Switch out hummus for some baba ganoush for some very filling, very flavorful snackage with minimal calories. It's a pretty easy recipe, and as variable as your preference. I simply roast or grill some asian eggplants whole or halved longways. Drizzle with some olive oil and seasonings if you wish. Once grilled, chop it all up and combine with some garlic, and any spices you feel like, including lemon juice, tahini, sesame or olive oil, mint or basil. Blend it all up and wamo - delicious hummus-like dip with a scant amount of the calories.

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