16 Facts About Eggplant (Aubergine)
Last updated on December 8, 2007
Eggplant is native to southern India and Sri Lanka.
It is part of the nightshade (Solanacene) family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and chili peppers.
Like all other edible members of the nightshade family, the eggplant is a fruit.
Tobacco is also a member of the nightshade family. Like tobacco, eggplant and other nightshade plants contain nicotine, though to a lesser extent than tobacco.
Many people are sensitive or allergic to properties in eggplant and other nightshades.
Eggplant and other members of the nightshade family may worsen the symptoms of arthritis.
According to a 5th century Chinese scroll, fashionable Chinese women used to make a dye out of the skin of purple eggplants and polish their teeth with it until they were a shiny gray.
An eggplant is almost 95% water.
It is called “eggplant” in the United States, Canada, and Australia because the first eggplants in those countries were purely ornamental and featured egg-shaped white and yellow fruit. Today this variety of eggplant is called “White Egg.”
In Britain, it is called “aubergine,” the same as in French.
In South African English and in Indian, it is called “brinjal.”
The Italians call it “melanzane,” which means “crazy apple.”
The act of salting and rinsing eggplant to reduce bitterness is called “degorging.” An old practice, it is not as necessary these days because modern eggplants are less bitter.
Salting eggplant will reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking.
China is the top eggplant producer in the world.
India, Egypt, Turkey, and Japan are also top world producers. The United States ranks 20th in eggplant production.