The inconspicuous eggplant is quite an interesting crop. Did you know that he is the essence of the famous Ratatouille? Discover more!

Eggplant has its typical taste and consistency, which is why few people like it.

However, did you know that it is incredibly successful in treating skin cancer?

How to include it in the menu so that it not only tastes good, but is also beneficial to your health?

How to prepare, process, cook or bake it – all in one article!

What is eggplant: vegetable or fruit?

Eggplant ( Solanum melonga ) is also called aubergine or eggplant. It is an annual plant from the eggplant family, closely related to tomatoes and potatoes. Nevertheless, its fruit (eggplant itself) is not a vegetable, but is botanically classified as a fruit, specifically a berry.

Eggplant has been cultivated since prehistoric times for its edible soft to spongy fruits. It originally comes from Asia, where it even grows as a perennial in a warm environment. However, it is now widely used in kitchens around the world. Due to its unique structure and consistency, it is also popularly used as a tasty meat substitute in vegan or vegetarian diets.

Does eggplant have medicinal effects on human health?

Eggplants are the most nutritious and healthiest fruits from the entire order of eggplants. They contain a large amount of vitamins niacin and choline, minerals manganese and copper. Eggplant is the healthiest if it is unpeeled. Its purple skin is full of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins (dyes).

One unpeeled eggplant provides the body with 25% of the daily dose of niacin, as well as 13% of the recommended intake of manganese and 22% of copper. Meat, legumes and eggs are generally considered to be sources of copper. One eggplant contains more copper than 14 medium-sized eggs!

Comparison of nutrient content in unpeeled and peeled eggplant:

Eggplant raw unpeeled
1 pc (548g)
Eggplant raw peeled
1 pc (458g)
Calcium 49.3 mg 41.2 mg
Iron 1.26 mg 1.05 mg
Magnesium 76.7 mg 64.1 mg
Phosphorus 132 mg 110 mg
Copper 0.44 mg 0.37 mg
Manganese 1.27 mg 1.06 mg
Selenium 1.64 μg 1.37 μg
Niacin 3.56 mg 2.97 mg
Choline 37.8 mg 31.6 mg
Lutein + Zeaxanthin 197 μg 165 μg
Vitamin E 1.64 mg 1.37 mg
Vitamin K 19.2 μg 16 μg
Vitamin C 12.1 mg 10.1 mg

Eggplant and the treatment of senile dementia

One of the most important antioxidants of eggplant is nasunin, contained in the purple skin. Studies suggest that this anthocyanin protects brain cells. Not only from free radical damage, but also within age; prevents the loss of neurons during brain aging.

Nausin thus appears as a potentially inexpensive drug for senile dementia that could significantly improve memory. It also helps with blood flow in the brain itself, thus preventing neurological inflammation or seizures; it transports nutrients to neurons and vice versa – removes waste from them.

Eggplant is literally miraculous in the fight against cancer recurrence

Other interesting medicinal substances of eggplant are solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides. These SRG compounds show great results in the treatment of cancer, including its recurrence.

An animal study showed that all mice inoculated with SRG were cured of aggressive sarcoma (ip 180); in contrast, those unvaccinated succumbed to sarcoma within 20 days. The cured mice were re-infected with sarcoma after 20 days. However, ten of the twelve mice were resistant to this recurrence of cancer precisely because of the previous SRG treatment.

SRG compounds provide permanent immunity against cancer, so they could play a very important role in preventing recurrence in the future.

Effectiveness in the treatment of skin tumors

The SRG compounds mentioned above are particularly effective in the treatment of skin cancer. During recent studies, topical application of SRG cream to basal cell carcinoma was 66% successful, while commonly used medical ointment was only 25% successful. In addition, 78% of patients treated with SRG did not relapse. These aubergine compounds are thus not only a safe but also an effective therapy for skin tumors with a high probability of complete cure.

It is also worth mentioning the fact that SRGs also have incredible cosmetic results. The way they treat and work is unlike any other known drug at the moment. SRG compounds affect only cancerous cells, while they have no effect on healthy and normal ones. This fact thus enables a process in which unaffected healthy cells immediately replace the destroyed cancer cells without creating scars.

Who should not consume eggplant?

The eggplant antioxidant nausin also has side effects. In the human body, it binds to iron and thereby removes it from the cells. This process can harm people who suffer from iron deficiency; eating large amounts of eggplant can further reduce already low iron levels.

Eggplant also contains slightly more histamines than is usual for vegetables, for the reason that it is not actually a vegetable but a fruit. Allergy sufferers or people suffering from atopic eczema should therefore be cautious when consuming raw eggplant, due to the higher probability of an allergic reaction. Cooking (boiling) destroys histamines, so cooked eggplant poses a much smaller allergy threat.

Eggplant is poisonous: myth or truth?

Ripe raw eggplant contains an alkaloid called solanine, which, for example, also contains young unripe potatoes and tomatoes. If consumed in large amounts, solanine can be toxic and cause stomach and intestinal problems.

Per 1 kg of body weight, the toxic dose of solanine is 3.5 mg for light poisoning, 4.5 mg for severe to fatal poisoning. One raw eggplant contains an average of 8.5 mg of solanine, i.e. a 70 kg person would have to eat 29 pieces at once to cause indigestion. 37 eggplants consumed would then cause a life-threatening condition.

However, the leaves and stems of eggplant contain dangerously large amounts of this toxic alkaloid. That is why they are inedible, similar to tomato or potato plants.

How does eggplant taste?

Eggplant has a slightly bitter taste due to the seeds, which are covered with bitter alkaloids. It is spongy to rubbery, with a texture similar to meat. It can absorb oils and flavors into its pulp, which is why it is so popular in the culinary world. In fact, eggplant will always taste the way the cook wants it to because it absorbs the flavors of all the other ingredients.

Cooking with eggplant: simple preparation and other tips!

Eggplant has just the right amount of flesh, even after cooking, and it has a neutral taste, which is why it is a suitable alternative to meat for vegetarians and vegans. It is popular with celiacs as a gluten-free side dish instead of cereals. Eggplant is high in fiber and low in calories, making it a great food for weight loss. Fiber naturally supports the feeling of satiety and thus prevents overeating.

Nutritional values of raw and cooked eggplant:

Eggplant raw unpeeled
1 pc (548g)
Eggplant raw peeled
1 pc (458g)
Unpeeled boiled eggplant
1 pc (548g)
Water 506 g 423 g 491 g
Energy value 137 calories 114 calories 191 calories
Proteins 5.37 g 4.49 g 4.55 g
Fats 0.98 g 0.824 g 1.26 g
Carbohydrates 32.2 g 26.9 g 47.84 g
Fiber 16.4 g 13.7 g 13.7 g
Sugars 19.3 g 16.2 g 17.53 g

How to prepare eggplant so that it does not brown?

Once you cut the eggplant open and expose the flesh to air, it turns brown and unsightly (much like an apple). If you want to prevent this discoloration, prepare a bowl with water, a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice (or vinegar). Immediately after cutting, soak the individual pieces in this marinade (really lightly and for a second is enough). Eggplant does not start to oxidize and the flesh retains its white color.

Eggplant sweating

To “sweat” an eggplant is to remove as much water as possible. For the reason that he does not release this water during cooking. Because with it, the bitterness also leaves the food.

  • Cut the raw eggplant into 2 cm wide slices.
  • Salt all the slices on both sides and put them in an air colander.
  • Leave it like this for at least 30 minutes, the eggplant will start to sweat.
  • Remove from colander and dry all slices properly, preferably with paper towels.

Grilled eggplant

Grilling in foil is one of the best ways to preserve the flavor and all the juices from the eggplant. Spread the sliced eggplant with your favorite barbecue sauce (garlic, barbecue…). Season evenly on both sides, then wrap each aubergine slice individually in foil. Grill for 30 minutes. Before removing the finished eggplant from the foil, let it cool for at least 10 minutes so that the sauce really soaks into the slices.

Baked eggplant

How to achieve a perfectly roasted eggplant, without it turning into an unsightly mush?

  1. Cut the eggplant into larger pieces (at least 4 cm).
  2. Bake it at high temperatures.
  3. Don’t skimp on the oil.

Baked eggplant should have a slightly crispy, caramelized skin. Small pieces are usually cooked before the skin begins to caramelize. At low temperatures, the eggplant does not draw the juice into the pulp, but on the contrary, releases it completely (“swells”). If the aubergine is not coated with enough oil, the caramelized skin is baked on a baking sheet/baking paper and torn off the aubergine.

Bake the eggplant at 250°C for 15 minutes first, then turn/stir and continue for another 15-20 minutes. Until the pieces soften and caramelize around the edges.

Boiled eggplant

  • If you are preparing boiled eggplant as a main dish, i.e. you do not intend to use the eggplant water/stock for further use, put it in already boiling water. In this way, the eggplant retains its juice and taste.

  • On the contrary, if you want the eggplant juice to go into water, stock, soup, sauce, put the eggplant in cold water and only then bring it to a boil.

Boil the eggplant in salted water and cover it, this way you will retain more nutrients and vitamins. Keep track of the cooking time from the moment the water reaches the boiling point (starts boiling). Eggplant as a whole is cooked in approximately 25 minutes, cut into pieces in 15 minutes.

sliced eggplant
sliced eggplant
sliced eggplant
30 minutes + 10 min. 35 minutes 15 minutes

How to eat eggplant or what to cook with it

  • Eggplant is one of the most popular ingredients for baked dishes. It is usually baked instead of pasta, both with cheeses (most often with Parmesan), other vegetables (vegan dishes), and with all kinds of meat. Try the recipe for healthy lasagna or baked eggplant with minced meat , you will be delighted!

  • It is usually just cut in half, hollowed out and filled with stuffing. There are countless variations of stuffed eggplant. For example, be inspired by the recipe for baked eggplant stuffed with mushrooms , in which you can process the hollowed-out eggplant pulp straight away.

  • You can use the whole aubergine, but also only the hollowed-out remaining pulp, when preparing a spread or dip. Similarly, it will also serve as an excellent filling for cannelloni pasta !

  • It is also a suitable accompaniment to meat, whether baked or boiled. However, if you can’t stand plain and monotonous side dishes, you will definitely appreciate the recipe for adjika , a popular side dish dating back to the 15th century. Don’t forget to try the version with eggplant and garlic!

  • It is also one of the original and basic ingredients of French goulash. Don’t you believe? Take a look at the top Ratatouille recipes and you will find that eggplant is the basic element in all possible variations.

Types of eggplant: purple, green, white and bicolor

There are several species and subsequently countless other cultivars of eggplant plants. The fruits differ in size, shape, color, texture and taste. In Europe and North America, the most commonly available eggplants are elongated and typically purple, while in Asia, eggplants come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, including orange, pink, or bicolor.

purple peel
green peel
white peel
multicolored peel
Burpee Hybrid,
Bringal Bloom, Traviata ,

Oriental Charm ,
Black Magic, Dusky, Black Beauty, Rosita, Nubia, Pingtung Long , Globe
Little Green ,
Thai (Long) Green , Green Knight,
Apple Green
Cloud Nine ,
White Beauty,
Garden Egg , Dourga, Casper
Rosa Bianca,
Violetta di Firenze, Prosperosa,
Kermit Hybrid, Graffiti , Udumalape

American purple eggplant

The Globe variety is the one that you can usually find not only in Czech shops, but also in Czech gardens. The eggplants of this cultivar have a rather shorter shape and a dark purple to black color. Compared to other cultivars, this eggplant (also called American) is more “meaty” and in itself not very flavorful.

American purple eggplant ( Globe ) is combined with tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, root vegetables, stews, baked fish, lentils, chickpeas, basil, parsley, sheep and goat cheeses.

American purple eggplant

Purple Italian Eggplant

Italian eggplants include, for example, the Traviata variety, which is very similar to the American cultivar, but has a more elongated shape, different texture and taste. Italian eggplant is noticeably more tender, not so “hard” and also slightly sweet.

Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, turnips, onions, garlic, rocket, bugle, basil, oregano, capers, olives, walnuts and pine nuts, olive and rice oil, red wine vinegar, veal, lamb and beef – all in the combination with Italian eggplant tastes delicious.

Italian purple eggplant

Chinese eggplant

Chinese eggplants, such as Oriental Charm and Pingtung Long , are thin and long, usually up to 20 cm. Also, they tend to be not only straight, but also curved. They have almost no seeds in the pulp, so they are not typically bitter.

Chinese eggplant is commonly used to prepare healthy vegetable fries, as it holds its shape well. Goes well with soy products such as miso, natto and tempeh. It is also combined with mushrooms, beans, garlic, ginger, cumin, chili, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, chicken and pork.

Chinese eggplant purple long

Green eggplant

Green eggplants (for example, the Little Green variety) are usually medium-sized and pear-shaped. They are very similar to purple Italian eggplants, with a similar sweet taste and tender texture. Heat treatment gives them a creamy consistency, which is why they are popularly mixed into soups and sauces. They are also coated in breadcrumbs and fried, similar to mushroom cutlets.

Rice and olive oil, plum vinegar, tofu, cilantro, curry, turmeric, soy sauce, coconut milk, chickpeas, couscous, rice, broccoli and apples go well with green eggplant.

Green eggplant

Taiwanese Green Eggplant

The Thai (Long) Green variety is very popular in China, India and Japan, where it is mainly used as a meat substitute due to its firmness and “chewyness”. This eggplant does not lose its deep green color even during heat treatment.

Soy sauce, beans, black rice vinegar, fermented soybeans, oysters, ginger, yuzu, sesame, chili, pumpkin, fish, mussels, shrimp, lentils, and poultry—the ingredients most often combined with Taiwanese eggplant.

Long green eggplant

Round green eggplant

Round eggplants similar to apples (variety Apple Green ), are very sweet, soft and buttery after cooking. They are often used to prepare sweet dishes. They are usually also grilled whole.

Small green eggplants taste great in combination with garlic, onions, matured but also fresh cheeses, basil, oregano, coriander, parsley and grilled meat or other vegetables.

Round Green Eggplant Apple

White eggplant

Classic white eggplants, such as the Cloud Nine variety, are very similar in shape to purple eggplants. However, they have a much tougher skin that must be peeled before processing. White eggplants are very tasty, juicy and slightly sweet, with minimal bitterness. Compared to other colored varieties, they also contain much more potassium.

White aubergines go well with chillies, tomatoes, pumpkins, stewed meat and vegetables, fish, fresh cheeses and dairy products such as yoghurts and cottage cheese.

White eggplant

Yellow eggplant

Garden Egg eggplants belong to the white species, although they are more yellow. They are especially popular in Africa, where they thrive very well. Although these eggplants are quite bitter, they are commonly eaten raw, similar to tomatoes and peppers. In the Ghana region, these eggplants are a traditional symbol of friendship, respect and fertility.

Rice, bananas, couscous, sweet potatoes, fish, beef, nutmeg, anise, lemons, oranges, red pepper, cumin, curry, coconut milk, peanuts, honey and vanilla all taste great when combined with this African eggplant.

Yellow Eggplant White Garden Egg

Purple and white eggplant

Graffiti Eggplant, also known as Fairytale , is smaller in size. It has a thin striped skin that does not need to be peeled. It is known mainly for its sweet and fruity taste.

These eggplants go well with tomatoes, pumpkins, beets, pears, peaches, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, coconut, quinoa, feta and mozzarella cheese, lamb and sweet potatoes.

Graffiti striped eggplant

Growing eggplant and when does it ripen?

Eggplant is generally not planted until the end of May, as it is very heat-loving. A common problem when growing it is that it blooms but does not produce any fruit. Low temperature is almost always to blame, eggplant requires daytime temperatures above 30 °C and night temperatures above 18 °C. The harvest season is very variable, from July to October. However, it is recommended to harvest the eggplant when it is rather young, when it is juicier, sweeter and therefore tastier.

Eggplant and its attractions

The original eggplant varieties produced small, round, egg-like fruits – hence the English name eggplant.

On average, 110 fruits grow on one (well-nourished) eggplant plant.

The biggest exporters of eggplant are China and India, together they grow over 83% of the total world production.

Of all vegetables, eggplant has the highest level of nicotine. However, to reach the amount of nicotine contained in one smoked cigarette, you would have to eat about 9 kg of raw eggplant.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)