Oh Eggplant. How I misunderstood thee.
Anyone ever slice a piece off of a big fat eggplant and take a bite just to see what raw eggplant tastes like? I certainly have. Disgusting would be the descriptive word for my experience with that.
So what makes a raw eggplant so un-palatable? Eggplants contain nicotinoid alkaloids which kinda makes sense as eggplant is a close relative of tobacco. Nicotine is a poisonous substance that if consumed in moderate quantities, (say equivalent of 30 -60 cigarettes) can be fatal. So while raw eggplant has a bitter taste, it also can act as a mild stimulant. Though you’d have to eat a lot of eggplant to feel anything. You’re more likely to get a buzz from second-hand smoke.
The eggplant as we know it is actually a fruit and part of the nightshade family, like tomatoes. Furthermore, eggplant fruit is botanically classified as a berry. Cool eh?!
Eggplant fruit is not very egg-like in appearance. However, there is a variety of eggplant that bears white or yellow fruit and resembles a goose egg. So that’s where the name came from.
Slicing, salting and rinsing of eggplant can reduce the bitterness of the raw fruit. Cooking it has the same effect. I’m a big fan of thickly sliced eggplant, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted to perfection.
I will have to do some experimenting to see if I can come up with some good applications for raw eggplant.
As eggplant is moderately high in histamines, the number of individuals who may be susceptible to allergic reations is slightly higher than that of most fruits. Cooking eggplant significantly reduces an individuals chances of having an allergic reaction.
Studies have shown the eggplant fruit to be helpful in the treatment of high blood cholesterol. Eggplants low calorie, no fat, high fiber properties can certainly be useful in helping with shedding a pound or two.
Like blueberries and grapes, the purple skin of eggplant is a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to have anti-aging and anti-cancer effects.
So while eggplant may not be the most “super” of foods, it no doubt deserves a place in Raw Food Vancouver’s A-Z of Superfoods.
Stay tuned for “F”.
I Haven’t decided what food will be worthy yet… Any suggestions?…Fries?…
Disclaimer: Statements made in this publication are the thoughts and opinions of the author and have not been evaluated by the U.S. or Canadian Food and Drug Administration.