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The Choryoku eggplant is a hybrid Japanese variety that has a unique glossy and green outer skin, similar in color to the granny smith apple. Typically reaching up to twelve inches in length, the Choryoku eggplant has a long and slender shape with a uniform calyx. The inner flesh of the Choryoku eggplant is a creamy white color that contains very little seeds. The flesh is firm and offers a mild sweet flavor.
Choryoku eggplant is available in the early summer months.
Choryoku eggplant, botanically a member of Solanum melongena variety esculentum 'Choryoku' is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae along with tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Like many Japanese varieties of eggplant the Choryoku is sought after for its sweet flavor which offers less bitterness than traditional eggplants.
Eggplants such as the Choryoku contain over ninety percent water and are high in potassium and very low in both fats and protein. They offer small amounts of E and B vitamins as well as some carotenes.
Japanese eggplants such as the Choryoku have less seeds than traditional varieties of eggplant, a quality which makes them less bitter in flavor. Their long, thin shape makes them ideal for slicing into rounds which can be baked, fried, broiled or grilled. The green variety in particular is known for its ability to be prepared successfully even in the microwave as the color unlike with other varieties will not turn dull and maintains its vivid green hue even after being cooked. Eggplant slices will soak up whatever complimentary flavors they are cooked with and so care should be taken to not cook in overly oily preparations as this can make the slices excessively soggy and fatty. The firm texture of the Choryoku eggplant’s flesh makes it an ideal meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan preparations. Choryoku eggplants should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within two to three days of purchasing or harvesting. Refrigeration should be avoided if possible as the coolness and moisture can lead to premature wilting eggplant.
In Japan there is a famous proverb that speaks of the high esteem the culture holds for the eggplant, “the happiest omen for a New Year is first Mount Fuji, then the falcon, and lastly eggplant”.
The eggplant dates back to the Old Word and is native to Indo-Burma and China. Cultivation is believed to have first occurred in India where it also is believed to have grown wild in ancient times. Eggplants made their way to Japan during the 8th century during the time of the Tang dynasty. Japanese varieties such as the Choryoku have been historically associated primarily with Southeast-Asian culture and cuisine though they have been gaining in popularity in the United States as more farms have started experimenting with growing different varieties of eggplant.
Recipes that include Choryoku Eggplant. One is easiest, three is harder.
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