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Eggplants

Eggplants

 

BENEFITS

Low in calories (unless cooked in fat)

Meaty flavor and texture lends itself to vegetarian dishes

 

DRAWBACKS

Soak up fat during cooking

Provide minimal nutrients

 

Eggplants provide very little nutrition, but are among our most versatile vegetables and a component of many popular ethnic dishes, including Indian curries, Greek moussakas, Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, and French ratatouille. Eggplants are filling, yet low in calories a cup has 40 calories. Eggplants' spongy texture, however, soaks up fat. Deep-fried eggplants soak up four times as much fat as French fried potatoes.

 

The tastiest eggplants are firm, with thin skins and a mild flavor. Larger ones are more likely to be seedy, tough, and bitter. Their skins range in color from deep purple to light violet and white.

 

Eggplants are members of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. Some have a bitter flavor, which easily can be eliminated with salt before cooking. Slice or cube the eggplants, then sprinkle it with salt. Let it stand for half an hour, then drain it and blot it dry. The salt draws out the excess moisture and reduces bitterness. Eggplants can be stuffed and baked or broiled, roasted, or stewed. If sauteing, use a nonstick pan and minimal oil.

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