Maybe it’s the ugly name that deters many people from planting or cooking with this wonder-vegetable. Perhaps we should call it by its lovely French name, aubergine.
Full of vitamins and minerals, aubergines also is a prime source of chlorogenic acid, which lowers “bad” cholesterol and inhibits the development of cancer and viruses. It also has Nasunin in its peels, and this is a potent anti-cancer substance.
Today I went to Andrew’s Greenhouse and bought a flat of six aubergine seedlings and planted them at my community garden plot, four of them with red plastic mulch. I was replacing six plants that I grew from seeds and weren’t doing well, probably because of overwatering and underpotting. I’m starting to question the wisdom of starting one’s own seeds, and worrying giving them the right amount of light and water, when it’s so easy to buy seedlings nurtured by professionals.
Last August I was at the Amherst Survival Center as it was closing on a Friday, and I noticed lots of oriental-style aubergines that were about to get composted. I brought home 20 pounds of them and made lots of eggplant caviar, which I froze in little plastic containers and have used on hummus sandwiches and to make tomato sauce. This week I will use up the last of those containers.
Here’s the recipe I use:
2 large eggplants
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium green peppers, chopped
12 oz. tomato paste
2 Tbsp white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake eggplants at 425 degrees for an hour. Remove skin and chop meat fine. Heat oil and cook onions, garlic and peppers until soft but not brown. Add tomato paste and simmer 3-5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and chopped eggplant. Cook slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from burning. Cool and then freeze.