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Vitamins and Minerals Found Inside Eggplant

sliced eggplantEggplants are not very high in nutrients, however their saving grace is that they are very filling, yet very low in calories. A cup of raw eggplants contains less than 40 calories. The eggplant belongs to the family of nightshade plants that also include the potato, tomato, pepper, deadly nightshade (also known as belladonna), henbane, Jimson weed, petunia, and tobacco.

Eggplant can be delicious when eaten and even when added to other juices for juicing. Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about eggplants.

  • What vitamins and minerals (if any) are in Eggplants?
  • What is the best method for juicing Eggplant?
  • What are some great buying tips for Eggplant?

Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information about Eggplants that you might not find so easily elsewhere on the Internet.

Let's begin our exploration of Eggplants...

Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients Found in Eggplants

Eggplants are probably best known for being very low in calories and sodium, but they also have a very spongy texture which can also soak up fat like a sponge when cooked. In one experiment a deep-fried eggplant soaked up four times as much fat as French fried potatoes did.

To keep the calories low in eggplant preparations, cook it without oil. Instead, use broth, wine, lemon juice, or vegetable juice for flavoring.

Not a major source of protein or carbohydrates, eggplant only contains about 1 gram of protein and 7 grams of carbohydrates per one cup serving. Keep the skin on the eggplant to receive 2.5 grams of dietary fiber.

On the vitamin side, eggplants do contain trace amounts of Vitamin A, folacin, and Vitamin C, but the amounts are negligible. Don't give up on the eggplant, however, as it contains another antioxidant secret.

Eggplant contains high levels of an antioxidant compound that may protect the body's cells against oxidative damage, according to studies by two Agricultural Research Service scientists. They found that chlorogenic acid, one of the most powerful antioxidants produced in plant tissues, was the predominant phenolic compound in nearly all the samples analyzed.

A plus on the mineral side, eggplant delivers 21.4 mg of calcium, 13.0 mg of magnesium, 248 mg of potassium, and 22 mg of phosphorous per 100 grams (approx. 3-1/2 ounces). To boost the nutritional benefits, pair eggplant with other vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

The next time you think about Eggplant... think about how they might add a powerful boost to your weight loss and/or weight management routine if you prepare them correctly.

Juicing Eggplant

As they are part of the nightshade family, juicing Eggplants can be tricky.

Here are a few tips for juicing Eggplants.

Personally, I don't juice eggplants, but I do juice other vegetables to use as a stock for cooking eggplants in lieu of using oil.

Purchasing Tips for Buying Eggplant

The eggplant, itself, during its immature growth stage, contains toxins that can cause illness. It belongs to the nightshade family that encompasses members like the poisonous Jimson weed or Datura as well as Belladonna, also poisonous and sometimes called Deadly Nightshade.

garden eggplantIf you are unable to grow your own Eggplant, then here are a few tips for buying Eggplant that may help you get the freshest ingredients. We'll also include a few storing tips for Eggplant that you might find helpful.

In the U.S. today's commercial eggplant crops are grown in New Jersey, California, and Mexico. While New Jersey supplies the country with eggplants during the summer months, California and Mexico are able to ship them throughout the winter... which means we can generally find them on supermarket shelves year-round.

Look for eggplants that are shiny, plump, firm, and unwrinkled, definitive signs of freshness. The fruit should feel heavy for its size, indicating good moisture content. Eggplants that have scars or bruises on the surface indicate the flesh may be bruised and discolored inside.

To avoid an overly seedy eggplant, select small and medium-size fruits rather than the giant-size.

Eggplant does not have a long shelf life. Store it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and cook it within 3 or 4 days. Since eggplants bruise easily, they should be handled carefully.

General Information About Eggplant

This article wouldn't be complete if we didn't include a little general information about Eggplant, as well as a few helpful links if you want to explore Eggplant further.

Historians believe the eggplant may have its origins in India, but early written accounts from a 5th century Chinese record on agriculture called the Ts'i Min Yao Shu indicate its cultivation in China.

When Europeans first encountered the fruit, it had gained an intimidating reputation with its "mad apple" label. Even after the eggplant developed secure Mediterranean roots, it was still called mala insana, meaning "bad egg, mad apple, or apple of madness."

Other interesting names for the eggplant include apple-of-love, Asiatic aubergine, Guinea squash, gully bean, pea apple, pea aubergine, susumber, and terong. Still more names bestowed on the eggplant include the apple of Sodom and Jew's apple. Few foods can claim this many descriptive names.

Eggplant arrived on the European scene when the Moors invaded Spain during the 8th century. The Italians encountered the fruit through trading with the Arabs about the 13th century. What the Europeans saw with the first arrivals of eggplant were egg-shaped fruits that were either purple, white, or yellow. Before the fruit was accepted as an edible food, it was grown only for its appealing ornamental qualities.

Eggplant was developing a firm foothold in the U.S. by the early 1900's with recipes appearing in cookbooks. Modern Cooking, a 1904 cookbook by Marion Hartland and Christine Herrick, contains a recipe for Eggplant Stuffed with Nuts.

Europeans like to scoop out the flesh of the eggplant leaving the uncooked rind. They roast it and mash it with salt, pepper, and butter. Then they spoon the mixture back into the rind, and bake it.

Moussaka, a layered casserole featuring sliced eggplant, lamb, and béchamel sauce, is a favorite dish in Greece, Turkey, and Romania.

Eggplant is so integrated into the Middle Eastern cuisine, the fruit is even prominent in a Middle Eastern saying: "To dream of three aubergines is a sign of happiness."

Some plants of the nightshade family contain alkaloids, colorless, bitter organic substances such as caffeine, morphine, quinine, and strychnine that have alkaline properties and contain nitrogen. Some of the nightshade plants can be quite toxic; others contain mild toxins. Eggplant's toxins are contained in the fruit before maturity and in its leaves, and stems.

For scorpion bites, apply raw eggplant directly on the affected area.

For frostbite, prepare a tea of eggplant, bring it to room temperature, and apply a compress to affected areas.

One eggplant variety of African origin called Turkish Orange nearly resembles a tomato with its small, round shape and bright orange color.

Some eggplants develop a bitter flavor, which can be eliminated by salting the eggplant before cooking. Slice or cube the vegetable, sprinkle with salt, let stand for 30 minutes, then drain and blot dry. The salt draws out some of the moisture as it reduces bitterness.

Additional sources and resources for eggplant

Additional Sources/Resources for Eggplants

Be sure to check out both our "Juicing" and our "Smoothies" sections for delicious recipes and more using Eggplants!