This grapefruit-sized fruit actually grows on a climbing cactus. Its spongy pulp is white or sometimes pinkish red, sweet and juicy with numerous tiny edible black seeds scattered throughout
Actually a tuber, the sunchoke looks like a small, bumpy potato or ginger root. The knobby, thin-skinned exterior is usually tannish-gold to cream colored but some varieties are reddish or purplish.
Inventory, 10 lbs : 0.80
This item was last sold on : 01/30/15
Italian eggplant is available year round.
Italian eggplant is the generic name given to hundreds of eggplant varieties that are classified within the most common known domesticated eggplant species, S. melongena. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, which contains over 3000 species and is one of the most economically important food plant families. Although grown and treated as a vegetable, eggplant is in fact a fruit, as it bears seeds within its flesh. Popular Itailian eggplant varieties include Traviata, Naida, Rosa Bianca and Nubia.
Typical Italian eggplants are characterised by their size, shape and coloring. At maturity the fruits are approximately 8-10" in length cylindric and oblong, wider at the base than stem. The skin is glossy, ink purple and smooth. The flesh is cotton white with barely visible seeds patterned throughout. Italian eggplants should be semi firm to the touch, a sign of ripeness but not over maturity. Italian eggplants are known for their superior creamy texture and depth of flavor when cooked. Although bitterness is often associated with eggplants, if eggplants are picked prior to full seed development they should not display any bitterness.
Eggplant skin contains 'nasunin,' a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that protects cell membranes from damage. Nasunin protects the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. The skin also contain rich levels of anthocyanins, a pigment not only responsible for the fruit's skin coloring, but it is also loaded with antioxidant properties.
Italian eggplant benefits from its porous texture, allowing it to absorb accompanying flavors with ease. Italian eggplant is synonymous with frying and baking, though it is amenable to other cooking methods including sauteing, pan-frying and grilling and even pickling. Common culinary companions include tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, onions, garlic, herbs such as basil, arugula and oregano, grilled steak, veal and lamb. Eggplant flesh begins to turn brown when cut due to oxidization. Lemon juice is a natural anti-browning deterrent. All eggplant has a short post-vine shelf life, thus it should be used within a week of harvest. As eggplants are also a tropical fruit they do suffer chill damage from too much refrigeration.
Though the name Italian eggplant eludes to these eggplants being native to Italy, their heritage lies further east in India and China, where the first domestication of S. melongena occurred. Trade routes brought eggplants to the southern warm climates of Italy and Sicily. Italian farmers embraced eggplants and soon the eggplant would become a symbolic vegetable of the Italian food culture. As Italian cuisine is dominated by the seasons, eggplants are one of the most popular vegetables of the summer and fall tables throughout much of Italy.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
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Recipes that include Italian Eggplant. One is easiest, three is harder.
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