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The ‘Brinjal or egg plant’ is commonly cultivated throughout the country. Sometimes found as an escape, where it becomes quite prickly and with smaller berries. The leaves have narcotic properties and the seed is used as a stimulant (Chopra, Gloss. Ind. Med. Pl. 229. 1956).
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Comments

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Edible fruits.
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Flora of China Vol. 17: 325 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Suffruticose annual up to 90 cm tall. Stem and branches stellately hairy and with few prickles. Leaves 5-20 x 4-15 cm, ovate to rhomboid-ovate, sinuate to lobed. Flowers solitary or up to 5 in number, purple to pale violet; pedicel recurved, up to 5 cm in fruit. Calyx campanulate, 15-18 mm long, sparsely prickled, enlarging in fruit. Corolla limb 3-5 cm broad; lobes triangular-ovate, stellate-tomentose to the outside. Anthers 5-6 mm long. Filaments 3-4 mm long. Berry variously shaped from ovoid to subglobose or elongated, 8-15 cm long, usually dark purple or various shades of it. Seeds subreniform, c. 3 mm long, minutely rugose.
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Description

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Herbs or subshrubs to 60 cm tall, sparingly armed, pubescent with stellate hairs. Stems and branches minutely tomentose, sometimes with stout recurved prickles. Petiole 2-4.5 cm; leaf blade ovate to oblong-ovate, 6-18 × 5-11 cm, stellate-tomentose or sometimes with a few fine prickles on both surfaces, denser abaxially, base oblique, margin sinuate-lobed, apex obtuse. Inflorescences mostly solitary flowers, rarely reduced racemes; peduncle obsolete. Flowers andromonoecious. Pedicel 1-1.8 cm. Calyx stellate tomentose, often with ca. 3 mm prickles abaxially; lobes lanceolate. Corolla purplish or violet, rotate, 3(-5) cm; lobes deltate, ca. 1 cm. Filaments ca. 2.5 mm; anthers ca. 7.5 mm. Style 4-7 mm. Berry black, purple, pink, brown, or yellow, yellowish when completely mature, greatly variable in form and size, mostly more than 6 cm in diam., with a thick, spongy, whitish mesocarp and septal region. Seeds lenticular, yellowish, 2.8-3.9 × 2.5-3.5 mm.
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Flora of China Vol. 17: 325 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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India, widely cultivated for its edible fruits (aubergines) elsewhere.
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Distribution

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Distribution: Native to India.
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Flora of Pakistan Vol. 0: 17 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Elevation Range

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1200-1500 m
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Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal Vol. 0 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Flower/Fruit

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Fl. Per.: July-September.
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Habitat & Distribution

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Widely cultivated in China and other countries
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Flora of China Vol. 17: 325 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Synonym

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Solanum esculentum Dunal; S. melongena var. esculentum (Dunal) Nees; S. melongena var. serpentinum Linnaeus; S. melongena var. depressum Linnaeus.
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Flora of China Vol. 17: 325 in eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden. Accessed Nov 12, 2008.
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Comprehensive Description

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Introduction

The eggplant is an important food crop that belongs to the same family (Solanaceae) and genus (Solanum) as the potato and tomato. It is a very popular vegetable in many parts of the world, particularly in the warm parts of southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The eggplant has a number of different names in English speaking countries – the two most common are eggplant and aubergine. The plants were originally called eggplant because the fruit on the first plants that arrived in Northern Europe and America, which were grown as ornamentals in the 1600s, looked just like small white eggs. These plants are still available today but their fruits are not as tasty as the well-known dark purple variety.

Today, eggplants come in many shapes, sizes, and colours and are enjoyed around the world. Several different species of Solanum are commonly known as eggplant: Solanum melongena is the common eggplant or aubergine, Solanum aethiopicum is the Gilo eggplant, and Solanum macrocarpon is the Goma eggplant.

Wild eggplants

As with many of today’s kitchen vegetables, the wild varieties of eggplant look very different from the varieties that are commonly available in our food markets. The fruits on wild eggplants are small (ranging from pea-size to baseball-size), yellow in colour, and taste very bitter. The stem of the plant can also be very spiny. Wild varieties grow in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia and most botanists have believed that eggplant originated in India. However, some botanists think that the domesticated eggplant originated in Southeast Asia because there are more varieties of eggplant found there than anywhere else.

Wild eggplant varieties are very bitter – almost inedible – and, interestingly, nearly all wild eggplants seem to be resistant to the pests and diseases that commonly affect domesticated varieties. This may be because bugs and insects choose to stay well clear of something that contains so many bitter compounds.

Domestication of the eggplant

It is not known exactly where the eggplant was first domesticated, but most botanists think that ancient civilisations in Southeast Asia were the first to grow, and gradually improve, eggplants for eating. Over many years, they selected seeds to grow for the next season only from plants with preferred qualities. The favoured plants most likely had tastier (less bitter) and bigger fruit, and smoother stems.

Eggplants were grown in China as early as 59 BC and Chinese people used some of the techniques that are still used today, including hybridisation or cross breeding, to create their own varieties of different shaped and coloured fruits. The long and slender eggplant varieties are today referred to as Chinese eggplants. It is said that in China, as part of her “bride price” a woman used to be required to produce at least 12 eggplant recipes prior to her wedding day.

Eggplants grow well in hot temperatures and don’t like frosts so they grow very well in warmer parts of the world such as Southeast Asia, South America, and southern Europe. They are traditionally a summer vegetable although it is now possible to buy eggplant almost year round because many farmers use greenhouses. As our climate warms, eggplant may be set to spread in both cultivation and popularity. Asia accounts for 78% of world eggplant production; Turkey, the largest producer in the European Union, accounts for 19%. European eggplant harvests are often consumed locally, as well as exported to colder countries in northern Europe.

Use of the eggplant

Eggplant is cooked and eaten in a variety of ways; it can be marinated, stuffed, roasted, grilled, fried, or stewed. Well-known recipes include melanzane parmigiana in Italy, a delicious dip called Baba Ghanoush in the Middle East, and Bangan ka Bhurta (Indian Eggplant). In Japan, it is among the top five most important vegetables and is eaten in many different ways.

Eggplants have a unique flavour and because of their sponge-like flesh they tend to absorb many flavours of the ingredients they are cooked with. Some cooks believe that "salting" the eggplant prior to cooking helps to reduce the amount of oil it absorbs and removes any bitterness. Salting involves cutting the eggplant into slices, sprinkling them with salt, and leaving them for 20-30 minutes until beads of water form on the surface. The water is then wiped off and the eggplant is ready to be cooked. Many other cooks believe that salting is not necessary anymore because bitterness has been bred out of the fruit.

How the eggplant has changed

There is a big difference between modern eggplants and the wild varieties from India, Southeast Asia, and Africa. A large variety of eggplants are now available — from the dark purple teardrop ones to pink and white stripy Italian eggplant and long, skinny Chinese eggplants. The main changes to the fruit, which have resulted from many years of plant breeding, include a much better tasting fruit, often much bigger fruit, lots of different colours and sizes, and also a much higher yield (more fruit per plant). However, the changes to the eggplant have not been all been for the best. Plant breeders now realise that wild eggplant (so bitter it is almost inedible for humans) is rarely attacked by pests, yet the domesticated varieties are susceptible to attack from a variety of pests. Wild eggplants also tend to be more drought resistant than the commonly cultivated varieties. Plant breeders are looking closely at the qualities of the wild relatives of eggplant to try to enhance resistance to pests and disease in the domesticated varieties but, at the same time, maintain the delicious taste.

To find out more about the work of EU-SOL, a multi-million Euro research project funded by the European Commission focussed on improving the quality of potatoes and tomatoes, click here.

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EU-SOL Website (supported by the European Commission through the 6th framework programme, Contract number FOOD-CT-2006-016214)
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Eggplant

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Eggplant (US,[1] Australia,[2] New Zealand, anglophone Canada), aubergine (UK,[3] Ireland, Quebec, and most of mainland Western Europe) or brinjal (South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa)[4][5] is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines. Typically used as a vegetable in cooking, it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato, chili pepper, and potato, although those are of the new world where the eggplant, like nightshade, is old world. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is usually eaten cooked. Eggplant is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.

It was originally domesticated from the wild nightshade species thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum,[6][7][8] probably with two independent domestications: one in South Asia, and one in East Asia.[9] In 2018, China and India combined accounted for 87% of the world production of eggplants.

Description

 src=
Closeup of flower
 src=
A developing fruit

The eggplant is a delicate, tropical perennial plant often cultivated as a tender or half-hardy annual in temperate climates. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple in color, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. Some common cultivars have fruit that is egg-shaped, glossy, and purple with white flesh and a spongy, "meaty" texture. Some other cultivars are white and longer in shape. The cut surface of the flesh rapidly turns brown when the fruit is cut open (oxidation).

Eggplant grows 40 to 150 cm (1 ft 4 in to 4 ft 11 in) tall, with large, coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft 5 in), with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. On wild plants, the fruit is less than 3 cm (1+14 in) in diameter; in cultivated forms: 30 cm (12 in) or more in length are possible for long, narrow types or the large fat purple ones common to the West.

Botanically classified as a berry, the fruit contains numerous small, soft, edible seeds that taste bitter because they contain or are covered in nicotinoid alkaloids, like the related tobacco.

History

 src=
Long purple eggplants
 src=
Varieties of Solanum melongena from the Japanese Seikei Zusetsu agricultural encyclopedia

There is no consensus about the place of origin of eggplant; the plant species has been described as native to India, where it continues to grow wild,[10] Africa,[11] or South Asia.[12] It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory. The first known written record of the plant is found in Qimin Yaoshu, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544 C.E.[13] The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate it was grown throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages, who introduced it to Spain in the 8th century.[14] A book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in 12th-century Arabic Spain described how to grow aubergines.[15] Records exist from later medieval Catalan and Spanish.[16]

The aubergine is unrecorded in England until the 16th century. An English botany book in 1597 described the madde or raging Apple:

This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere... bringing foorth fruite of the bignes of a great Cucumber.... We have had the same in our London gardens, where it hath borne flowers, but the winter approching before the time of ripening, it perished: notwithstanding it came to beare fruite of the bignes of a goose egge one extraordinarie temperate yeere... but never to the full ripenesse.[17]

Because of the plant's relationship with various other nightshades, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine.[18]

The eggplant has a special place in folklore. In 13th-century Italian traditional folklore, the eggplant can cause insanity.[19] In 19th-century Egypt, insanity was said to be "more common and more violent" when the eggplant is in season in the summer.[20]

Etymology and regional names

 src=
White eggplant compared to two chicken eggs

The plant and fruit have a profusion of English names.

Eggplant-type names

The name eggplant is usual in North American English and Australian English. First recorded in 1763, the word "eggplant" was originally applied to white cultivars, which look very much like hen's eggs (see image).[21][22][23] Similar names are widespread in other languages, such as the Icelandic term eggaldin or the Welsh planhigyn ŵy.

The white, egg-shaped varieties of the eggplant's fruits are also known as garden eggs,[24] a term first attested in 1811.[25] The Oxford English Dictionary records that between 1797 and 1888, the name vegetable egg was also used.[26]

Aubergine-type names

Whereas eggplant was coined in English, most of the diverse other European names for the plant derive from the Arabic word bāḏinjān (Arabic: باذنجان‎).[27] Bāḏinjān is itself a loan-word in Arabic, whose earliest traceable origins lie in the Dravidian languages. The Hobson-Jobson dictionary comments that 'probably there is no word of the kind which has undergone such extraordinary variety of modifications, whilst retaining the same meaning, as this'.[28]

In English usage, modern names deriving from Arabic bāḏinjān include:

From Dravidian to Arabic

 src=
Illustration of an eggplant (upper picture) in a 1717 manuscript of a work by the thirteenth-century Persian Zakariya al-Qazwini.

All the aubergine-type names have the same origin, in the Dravidian languages. Modern descendants of this ancient Dravidian word include Malayalam vaṟutina and Tamil vaṟutuṇai.

The Dravidian word was borrowed into the Indic languages, giving ancient forms such as Sanskrit and Pali vātiṅ-gaṇa (alongside Sanskrit vātigama) and Prakrit vāiṃaṇa. According to the entry brinjal in the Oxford English Dictionary, the Sanskrit word vātin-gāna denoted 'the class (that removes) the wind-disorder (windy humour)': that is, vātin-gāna came to be the name for eggplants because they were thought to cure flatulence. The modern Hindustani words descending directly from the Sanskrit name are baingan and began.

The Indic word vātiṅ-gaṇa was then borrowed into Persian as bādingān. Persian bādingān was borrowed in turn into Arabic as bāḏinjān (or, with the definite article, al-bāḏinjān). From Arabic, the word was borrowed into European languages.

From Arabic into Iberia and beyond

In al-Andalus, the Arabic word (al-)bāḏinjān was borrowed into the Romance languages in forms beginning with b- or, with the definite article included, alb-:

  • Portuguese bringella, bringiela, earlier beringela.
  • Spanish berenjena, alberenjena.

The Spanish word alberenjena was then borrowed into French, giving aubergine (along with French dialectal forms like albergine, albergaine, albergame, and belingèle). The French name was then borrowed into British English, appearing there first in the late eighteenth century.

Through the colonial expansion of Portugal, the Portuguese form bringella was borrowed into a variety of other languages:

  • Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and South African English brinjal, brinjaul (first attested in the seventeenth century).
  • West Indian English brinjalle and (through folk-etymology) brown-jolly.

Thus although Indian English brinjal ultimately originates in languages of the Indian Subcontinent, it actually came into Indian English via Portuguese.

From Arabic into Greek and beyond

 src=
Illustrations of an eggplant from a possibly fifteenth-century French manuscript of a work by Matthaeus Platearius. The word melonge, below the illustration, has a blue initial M-.

The Arabic word bāḏinjān was borrowed into Greek by the eleventh century CE. The Greek loans took a variety of forms, but crucially they began with m-, partly because Greek lacked the initial b- sound and partly through folk-etymological association with the Greek word μέλας (melas), 'black'. Attested Greek forms include ματιζάνιον (matizanion, eleventh-century), μελιντζάνα (melintzana, fourteenth-century), and μελιντζάνιον (melintzanion, seventeenth-century).

From Greek, the word was borrowed into Italian and medieval Latin, and onwards into French. Early forms include:

  • Melanzāna, recorded in Sicilian in the twelfth century.
  • Melongena, recorded in Latin in the thirteenth century.
  • Melongiana, recorded in Veronese in the fourteenth century.
  • Melanjan, recorded in Old French.

From these forms came the botanical Latin melongēna. This was used by Tournefort as a genus name in 1700, then by Linnaeus as a species name in 1753. It remains in scientific use.

These forms also gave rise to the Caribbean English melongene.

The Italian melanzana, through folk-etymology, was adapted to mela insana ('mad apple'): already by the thirteenth century, this name had given rise to a tradition that eggplants could cause insanity. Translated into English as 'mad-apple', 'rage-apple', or 'raging apple', this name for eggplants is attested from 1578 and the form 'mad-apple' may still be found in Southern American English.[30]

Other English names

The plant is also known as guinea squash in Southern American English. The term guinea in the name originally denoted the fact that the fruits were associated with West Africa.[30]

It has been known as 'Jew's apple', apparently in relation to a belief that the fruit was first imported to the West Indies by Jewish people.[31]

Cultivars

 src=
Three cultivars of eggplant, showing size, shape, and color differences

Different cultivars of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape, and color, though typically purple. The less common white varieties of eggplant are also known as Easter white eggplants, garden eggs, Casper or white eggplant. The most widely cultivated varieties—cultivars—in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 12–25 cm (4+12–10 in) long and 6–9 cm (2+123+12 in) broad with a dark purple skin.

A much wider range of shapes, sizes, and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia. Larger cultivars weighing up to a kilogram (2.2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, while smaller ones are found elsewhere. Colors vary from white to yellow or green, as well as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have a color gradient—white at the stem, to bright pink, deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars with white striping also exist. Chinese cultivars are commonly shaped like a narrower, slightly pendulous cucumber. Also, Asian cultivars of Japanese breeding are grown.

  • Oval or elongated oval-shaped and black-skinned cultivars include 'Harris Special Hibush', 'Burpee Hybrid', 'Bringal Bloom', 'Black Magic', 'Classic', 'Dusky', and 'Black Beauty'.
  • Slim cultivars in purple-black skin include 'Little Fingers', 'Ichiban', 'Pingtung Long', and 'Tycoon'
    • In green skin, 'Louisiana Long Green' and 'Thai (Long) Green'
    • In white skin, 'Dourga'.
  • Traditional, white-skinned, egg-shaped cultivars include 'Casper' and 'Easter Egg'.
  • Bicolored cultivars with color gradient include 'Rosa Bianca', 'Violetta di Firenze', 'Bianca Sfumata di Rosa' (heirloom), and 'Prosperosa' (heirloom).
  • Bicolored cultivars with striping include 'Listada de Gandia' and 'Udumalapet'.
  • In some parts of India, miniature cultivars, most commonly called vengan, are popular.

Varieties

  • S. m. var. esculentum – common aubergine, including white varieties, with many cultivars[32]
  • S. m. var. depressum – dwarf aubergine
  • S. m. var. serpentium – snake aubergine

Genetically engineered eggplant

Bt brinjal is a transgenic eggplant that contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.[33] This variety was designed to give the plant resistance to lepidopteran insects such as the brinjal fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and fruit borer (Helicoverpa armigera).[33][34]

On 9 February 2010, the Environment Ministry of India imposed a moratorium on the cultivation of Bt brinjal after protests against regulatory approval of cultivated Bt brinjal in 2009, stating the moratorium would last "for as long as it is needed to establish public trust and confidence".[33] This decision was deemed controversial, as it deviated from previous practices with other genetically modified crops in India.[35] Bt brinjal was approved for commercial cultivation in Bangladesh in 2013.[36]

Cooking and preparing

Raw eggplant can have a bitter taste, with an astringent quality, but it becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Rinsing, draining, and salting the sliced fruit before cooking may remove the bitterness.[37] The fruit is capable of absorbing cooking fats and sauces, which may enhance the flavor of eggplant dishes.

Eggplant is used in the cuisines of many countries. Due to its texture and bulk, it is sometimes used as a meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisines.[38] Eggplant flesh is smooth. Its numerous seeds are small, soft and edible, along with the rest of the fruit, and do not have to be removed. Its thin skin is also edible, and so it does not have to be peeled. However, the green part at the top, the calyx, does have to be removed when preparing an eggplant for cooking.

Eggplant can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are sauces made by mashing the cooked fruit. It can be stuffed. It is frequently, but not always, cooked with fat.

East Asia

Korean and Japanese eggplant varieties are typically thin-skinned.[39]

In Chinese cuisine, eggplants are known as qiézi (茄子). They are often deep fried and made into dishes such as yúxiāng-qiézi ("fish fragrance eggplant")[40] or di sān xiān ("three earthen treasures"). Elsewhere in China, such as in Yunnan cuisine (in particular the cuisine of the Dai people) they are barbecued or roasted, then split and either eaten directly with garlic, chilli, oil and coriander, or the flesh is removed and pounded to a mash (typically with a wooden pestle and mortar) before being eaten with rice or other dishes.

In Japanese cuisine, eggplants are known as nasu or nasubi and use the same characters as Chinese (茄子). An example of it use is in the dish hasamiyaki (挟み焼き) in which slices of eggplant are grilled and filled with a meat stuffing.[41] Eggplants also feature in several Japanese expression and proverbs, such as "Don't feed autumn eggplant to your wife" (秋茄子は嫁に食わすな, akinasu ha yomi ni kuwasuna) and "Always listen to your parents" (親の意見と茄子の花は千に一つも無駄はない, oya no iken to nasubi no hana ha sen ni hitotsu mo muda ha nai, literally: "not even one in a thousand of a parents' opinion or an eggplant flower are in vain").[42][43]

In Korean cuisine, eggplants are known as gaji (가지). They are steamed, stir-fried, or pan-fried and eaten as banchan (side dishes), such as namul, bokkeum, and jeon.[44][45]

Southeast Asia

In the Philippines, eggplants are of the long and slender purple variety. They are known as talong and is widely used in many stew and soup dishes, like pinakbet.[46] However the most popular eggplant dish is tortang talong, an omelette made from grilling an eggplant, dipping it into beaten eggs, and pan-frying the mixture. The dish is characteristically served with the stalk attached. The dish has several variants, including rellenong talong which is stuffed with meat and vegetables.[47][48] Eggplant can also be grilled, skinned and eaten as a salad called ensaladang talong.[49] Another popular dish is adobong talong, which is diced eggplant prepared with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic as an adobo.[50]

South Asia

Eggplant is widely used in its native India, for example in sambar (a tamarind lentil stew), dalma (a dal preparation with vegetables, native to Odisha), chutney, curry, and achaar (a pickled dish). Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described as the "king of vegetables". Roasted, skinned, mashed, mixed with onions, tomatoes, and spices, and then slow cooked gives the South Asian dish baingan bharta or gojju, similar to salată de vinete in Romania. Another version of the dish, begun-pora (eggplant charred or burnt), is very popular in Bangladesh and the east Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal where the pulp of the vegetable is mixed with raw chopped shallot, green chilies, salt, fresh coriander, and mustard oil. Sometimes fried tomatoes and deep-fried potatoes are also added, creating a dish called begun bhorta. In a dish from Maharashtra called bharli vangi, small brinjals are stuffed with ground coconut, peanuts, onions, tamarind, jaggery and masala spices, and then cooked in oil. Maharashtra and the adjacent state of Karnataka also have an eggplant-based vegetarian pilaf called 'vangi bhat' [51]..

Middle East and the Mediterranean

Eggplant is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille, or deep-fried as in the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish karnıyarık, or Turkish, Greek, and Levantine musakka/moussaka, and Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes. Eggplants can also be battered before deep-frying and served with a sauce made of tahini and tamarind. In Iranian cuisine, it is blended with whey as kashk e bademjan, tomatoes as mirza ghassemi, or made into stew as khoresht-e-bademjan. It can be sliced and deep-fried, then served with plain yogurt (optionally topped with a tomato and garlic sauce), such as in the Turkish dish patlıcan kızartması (meaning fried aubergines), or without yogurt, as in patlıcan şakşuka. Perhaps the best-known Turkish eggplant dishes are imam bayıldı (vegetarian) and karnıyarık (with minced meat). It may also be roasted in its skin until charred, so the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients, such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Arab baba ghanoush and the similar Greek melitzanosalata. A mix of roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, chopped onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and spices is called zacuscă in Romania, and ajvar or pinjur in the Balkans.

A Spanish dish called escalivada in Catalonia calls for strips of roasted aubergine, sweet pepper, onion, and tomato. In Andalusia, eggplant is mostly cooked thinly sliced, deep-fried in olive oil and served hot with honey (berenjenas a la Cordobesa). In the La Mancha region of central Spain, a small eggplant is pickled in vinegar, paprika, olive oil, and red peppers. The result is berenjena of Almagro, Ciudad Real. A Levantine specialty is makdous, another pickling of eggplants, stuffed with red peppers and walnuts in olive oil. Eggplant can be hollowed out and stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings, and then baked. In Georgia, for example, it is fried and stuffed with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani.

Cultivation and pests

In tropical and subtropical climates, eggplant can be sown in the garden. Eggplant grown in temperate climates fares better when transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Eggplant prefers hot weather, and when grown in cold climates or in areas with low humidity, the plants languish or fail to set and produce mature fruit.[52][53] Seeds are typically started eight to 10 weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date. S. melongena is included on a list of low flammability plants, indicating that it is suitable for growing within a building protection zone.[54]

Spacing should be 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 in) between plants, depending on cultivar, and 60 to 90 cm (24 to 35 in) between rows, depending on the type of cultivation equipment being used. Mulching helps conserve moisture and prevent weeds and fungal diseases and the plants benefit from some shade during the hottest part of the day. Hand pollination by shaking the flowers improves the set of the first blossoms. Growers typically cut fruits from the vine just above the calyx owing to the somewhat woody stems. Flowers are complete, containing both female and male structures, and may be self- or cross-pollinated.[55]

Many of the pests and diseases that afflict other solanaceous plants, such as tomato, capsicum, and potato, are also troublesome to eggplants. For this reason, it should generally not be planted in areas previously occupied by its close relatives. However, since eggplants can be particularly susceptible to pests such as whiteflies, they are sometimes grown with slightly less susceptible plants, such as chili pepper, as a sacrificial trap crop. Four years should separate successive crops of eggplants to reduce pest pressure.

Common North American pests include the potato beetles, flea beetles, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Good sanitation and crop rotation practices are extremely important for controlling fungal disease, the most serious of which is Verticillium.

Production

In 2018, world production of eggplants was 54 million tonnes, led by China with 63% of the total and India with 24% (table).

Nutrition

Raw eggplant is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and has negligible fat (table). It provides low amounts of essential nutrients, with only manganese having a moderate percentage (11%) of the Daily Value. Minor changes in nutrient composition occur with season, environment of cultivation (open field or greenhouse), and genotype.[57]

Host plant

The potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) is an oligophagous insect that prefers to feed on plants of the family Solanaceae such as eggplants. Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf.[58]

Chemistry

The color of purple skin cultivars is due to the anthocyanin nasunin.[59]

The browning of eggplant flesh results from the oxidation of polyphenols, such as the most abundant phenolic compound in the fruit, chlorogenic acid.[60]

Allergies

Case reports of itchy skin or mouth, mild headache, and stomach upset after handling or eating eggplant have been reported anecdotally and published in medical journals (see also oral allergy syndrome).

A 2008 study of a sample of 741 people in India, where eggplant is commonly consumed, found nearly 10% reported some allergic symptoms after consuming eggplant, with 1.4% showing symptoms within two hours.[61] Contact dermatitis from eggplant leaves[62] and allergy to eggplant flower pollen[63] have also been reported.

Individuals who are atopic (genetically predisposed to developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions) are more likely to have a reaction to eggplant, which may be because eggplant is high in histamines. A few proteins and at least one secondary metabolite have been identified as potential allergens.[64] Cooking eggplant thoroughly seems to preclude reactions in some individuals, but at least one of the allergenic proteins survives the cooking process.

Taxonomy

 src=
Segmented purple eggplant

The eggplant is quite often featured in the older scientific literature under the junior synonyms S. ovigerum and S. trongum. Several other names that are now invalid have been uniquely applied to it:[65]

  • Melongena ovata Mill.
  • Solanum album Noronha
  • Solanum insanum L.
  • Solanum longum Roxb.
  • Solanum melanocarpum Dunal
  • Solanum melongenum St.-Lag.
  • Solanum oviferum Salisb.
  • Prachi Salisb.

A number of subspecies and varieties have been named, mainly by Dikii, Dunal, and (invalidly) by Sweet. Names for various eggplant types, such as agreste, album, divaricatum, esculentum, giganteum, globosi, inerme, insanum, leucoum, luteum, multifidum, oblongo-cylindricum, ovigera, racemiflorum, racemosum, ruber, rumphii, sinuatorepandum, stenoleucum, subrepandum, tongdongense, variegatum, violaceum, viride, are not considered to refer to anything more than cultivar groups at best. However, Solanum incanum and cockroach berry (S. capsicoides), other eggplant-like nightshades described by Linnaeus and Allioni, respectively, were occasionally considered eggplant varieties, but this is not correct.[65]

The eggplant has a long history of taxonomic confusion with the scarlet and Ethiopian eggplants (Solanum aethiopicum), known as gilo and nakati, respectively, and described by Linnaeus as S. aethiopicum. The eggplant was sometimes considered a variety violaceum of that species. S. violaceum of de Candolle applies to Linnaeus' S. aethiopicum. An actual S. violaceum, an unrelated plant described by Ortega, included Dunal's S. amblymerum and was often confused with the same author's S. brownii.[65]

Like the potato and S. lichtensteinii, but unlike the tomato, which then was generally put in a different genus, the eggplant was also described as S. esculentum, in this case once more in the course of Dunal's work. He also recognized the varieties aculeatum, inerme, and subinerme at that time. Similarly, H.C.F. Schuhmacher and Peter Thonning named the eggplant as S. edule, which is also a junior synonym of sticky nightshade (S. sisymbriifolium). Scopoli's S. zeylanicum refers to the eggplant, and that of Blanco to S. lasiocarpum.[65]

See also

References

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  2. ^ [1] Archived 2019-06-28 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 27 June 2019
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  4. ^ "Oxford Dictionary, s.v. brinjal". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  5. ^ https://tompepinsky.com/2005/06/20/etymology-of-the-eggplant/#:~:text=In%20Malaysia%2C%20lots%20of%20the,but%20in%20Malaysian%20it's%20brinjal.
  6. ^ Tsao and Lo in "Vegetables: Types and Biology". Handbook of Food Science, Technology, and Engineering by Yiu H. Hui (2006). CRC Press. ISBN 1-57444-551-0.
  7. ^ Doijode, S. D. (2001). Seed storage of horticultural crops (pp 157). Haworth Press: ISBN 1-56022-901-2
  8. ^ Doganlar, Sami; Frary, Anne; Daunay, Marie-Christine; Lester, Richard N.; Tanksley, Steven D. (1 August 2002). "A Comparative Genetic Linkage Map of Eggplant (Solanum melongena) and Its Implications for Genome Evolution in the Solanaceae". Genetics. 161 (4): 1697–1711. doi:10.1093/genetics/161.4.1697. PMC 1462225. PMID 12196412. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2012 – via www.genetics.org.
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  11. ^ Matthee, Rudolph (11 February 2016). "Patterns of Food Consumption in Early Modern Iran". doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935369.013.13. ISBN 978-0-19-993536-9. Eggplant, which originated in Africa, first shows up in history in Southeast Asia, and it was possibly brought to Iran in the same period from India via the Turks of Central Asia. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Foundation, Encyclopaedia Iranica. "Welcome to Encyclopaedia Iranica". iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 22 April 2021. The plant is native to South Asia and was domesticated in India. It was brought to the Iranian lands at a very early but indeterminable date.
  13. ^ Dunlop, Fuchsia (2006), Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province, Ebury Press, p. 202
  14. ^ Sanderson, Helen; Renfrew, Jane M. (2005). Prance, Ghillean; Nesbitt, Mark (eds.). The Cultural History of Plants. Routledge. p. 118. ISBN 0415927463.
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  16. ^ The first record of Catalan albergínia = "aubergine" is in 1328 according to the Catalan dictionary Diccionari.cat Archived 2013-11-10 at the Wayback Machine. An earlier record in Catalan is known, from the 13th century, according to the French Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine. A number of old variant spellings for the aubergine word in Romance dialects in Iberia indicate the word was borrowed from Arabic; Dictionary of Arabic and Allied Loanwords: Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Galician and Kindred Dialects Archived 2015-10-03 at the Wayback Machine, by Federico Corriente, year 2008 page 60.
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  19. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2000, s.v. 'mad-apple'
  20. ^ Edward William Lane, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, v. 1, p. 378, footnote 1.
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  24. ^ 'Eggplant (Garden Egg) Archived 2018-09-23 at the Wayback Machine', in National Research Council of the National Academies, Lost Crops of Africa, Volume II: Vegetables Archived 2018-09-23 at the Wayback Machine (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, 2006), pp. 136-53. ISBN 978-0-309-66582-7, doi:10.17226/11763.
  25. ^ 'Garden egg', in "garden, n." OED, 3rd edn (2017).
  26. ^ 'Vegetable egg, n.', OED, 3rd edn (2012).
  27. ^ Unless otherwise stated, material in this section derives from Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2001, s.v. 'melongena, n.'; 2000, s.v. 'melongene, n."; and 2000, s.v. 'mad-apple, n.'. These partly supersede the etymology in Oxford English Dictionary, 1st edition, 1888, s.v. 'brinjal'. This in turn supersedes the 1885 OED etymology s.v. 'aubergine'.
  28. ^ Henry Yule, A.C. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary, 1886, reprint ISBN 185326363X, p. 115, s.v. 'brinjaul'
  29. ^ "Brinjal". Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Guinea squash". Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. 4 April 2011. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  31. ^ "brown-jolly", in "brown, adj.", "Jews' apple" in "Jew, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, July 2018. Accessed 23 September 2018.
  32. ^ Stephens, James M. "Eggplant, White — Solanum ovigerum Dun. and Solanum melongena var. esculentum (L.) Nees" (PDF). University of Florida IFAS Extension. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  33. ^ a b c Kumar S, Misra A, Verma AK, Roy R, Tripathi A, Ansari KM, Das M, Dwivedi PD (2011). "Bt brinjal in India: a long way to go". GM Crops. 2 (2): 92–8. doi:10.4161/gmcr.2.2.16335. PMID 21865863. S2CID 10912063.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  34. ^ Kumar S, Chandra A, Pandey KC (2008). "Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) transgenic crop: an environment friendly insect-pest management strategy". J Environ Biol. 29 (5): 641–53. PMID 19295059.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  35. ^ Choudhary B, Gheysen G, Buysse J, van der Meer P, Burssens S (2014). "Regulatory options for genetically modified crops in India". Plant Biotechnol J. 12 (2): 135–46. doi:10.1111/pbi.12155. PMID 24460889.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  36. ^ IANS (7 September 2016). "Bt Brinjal in Bangladesh: Too early to draw conclusions on contamination, says expert". Business Standard India. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  37. ^ "Aubergine". BBC GoodFood. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Vegetarian Meat Substitutes". Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  39. ^ JinPittsburgh, Liyun (13 August 2009). "Korean restaurant owner cooks from the heart Andy Starnes/Post-Gazette". Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  40. ^ Leary, Charles L.; Perret, Vaughn J. (6 July 2017). "All the hallmarks of world-class cuisine". The Chronicle Herald. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  41. ^ "Jisho.org: Japanese Dictionary". jisho.org.
  42. ^ "Jisho.org: Japanese Dictionary". jisho.org.
  43. ^ "親の意見と茄子の花は千に一つも無駄はない - Jisho.org". jisho.org.
  44. ^ Maclang, Jon Khristian (25 March 2016). "North, South, Go Pick! Tasting Korean Fare in Beijing". Yibada. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  45. ^ The Korea Herald (14 August 2017). "Fuss-free stir-fried eggplants, a perfect side dish". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  46. ^ Norma Olizon-Chikiamco (2003). Filipino Favorites. Periplus Mini Cookbooks. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 9781462911028. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  47. ^ Nicole Ponseca & Miguel Trinidad (2018). I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook. Artisan Books. ISBN 9781579658823. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  48. ^ "The Happy Home Cook: Rellenong Talong (Stuffed Eggplant)". Positively Filipino. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  49. ^ "Ensaladang talong". Eat Your World. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  50. ^ "Adobong Talong". Kawaling Pinoy. 19 January 2014. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  51. ^ Maharashtrian Vangi Bhat recipe. Veg recipes of India. https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/vangi-bhaat-recipe/ "Unknown". Retrieved 5 January 2020. Cite uses generic title (help) Accessed Jan 2 2019
  52. ^ "How to Grow Eggplant in Cooler Climates". Archived from the original on 11 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  53. ^ "Growing Eggplant Successfully in Cooler Climates – Garden Mentors". 16 August 2012. Archived from the original on 28 August 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  54. ^ Mark Chladil and Jennifer Sheridan. "Fire retardant garden plants for the urban fringe and rural areas" (PDF). www.fire.tas.gov.au. Tasmanian Fire Research Fund. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  55. ^ Westerfield, Robert (14 November 2008). "Pollination of Vegetable Crops" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  56. ^ "Eggplant production in 2018, Crops/Regions/World list/Production Quantity (pick lists)". UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT). 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  57. ^ San José R, Sánchez-Mata MC, Cámara M, Prohens J (2014). "Eggplant fruit composition as affected by the cultivation environment and genetic constitution" (PDF). J Sci Food Agric. 94 (13): 2774–84. doi:10.1002/jsfa.6623. hdl:10251/63156. PMID 25328929.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  58. ^ Varela, L. G.; Bernays, E. A. (1 July 1988). "Behavior of newly hatched potato tuber moth larvae, Phthorimaea operculella Zell. (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), in relation to their host plants". Journal of Insect Behavior. 1 (3): 261–275. doi:10.1007/BF01054525. ISSN 0892-7553. S2CID 19062069.
  59. ^ Noda, Yasuko; Kneyuki, Takao; Igarashi, Kiharu; Mori, Akitane; Packer, Lester (2000). "Antioxidant activity of nasunin, an anthocyanin in eggplant peels". Toxicology. 148 (2–3): 119–23. doi:10.1016/S0300-483X(00)00202-X. PMID 10962130.
  60. ^ Jaime Prohens, Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo, María Dolores Raigón and Fernando Nuez (2007). "Total Phenolic Concentration and Browning Susceptibility in a Collection of Different Varietal Types and Hybrids of Eggplant: Implications for Breeding for Higher Nutritional Quality and Reduced Browning". Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. 132 (5): 638–646. doi:10.21273/jashs.132.5.638.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  61. ^ Harish Babu, B. N.; Mahesh, P. A.; Venkatesh, Y. P. (2008). "A cross-sectional study on the prevalence of food allergy to eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) reveals female predominance". Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 38 (11): 1795–1802. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.03076.x. PMID 18681854. S2CID 2529638.
  62. ^ Kabashima, K.; Miyachi, Y. (2004). "Contact dermatitis due to eggplant". Contact Dermatitis. 50 (2): 101–102. doi:10.1111/j.0105-1873.2004.0295c.x. PMID 15128323. S2CID 44805864.
  63. ^ Gerth van Wijk, R.; Toorenenbergen, A. W.; Dieges, P. H. (1989). "Occupational pollinosis in commercial gardeners". Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd (in Dutch). 133 (42): 2081–3. PMID 2812095.
  64. ^ Pramod, S. N.; Venkatesh, Y. P. (2008). "Allergy to Eggplant (Solanum melongena) Caused by a Putative Secondary Metabolite". J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 18 (1): 59–62. PMID 18361104.
  65. ^ a b c d Solanum melongena L. on Solanaceae Source Archived 10 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine: Images, specimens and a full list of scientific synonyms previously used to refer to the eggplant.
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Eggplant: Brief Summary

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Eggplant (US, Australia, New Zealand, anglophone Canada), aubergine (UK, Ireland, Quebec, and most of mainland Western Europe) or brinjal (South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa) is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines. Typically used as a vegetable in cooking, it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato, chili pepper, and potato, although those are of the new world where the eggplant, like nightshade, is old world. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is usually eaten cooked. Eggplant is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.

It was originally domesticated from the wild nightshade species thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum, probably with two independent domestications: one in South Asia, and one in East Asia. In 2018, China and India combined accounted for 87% of the world production of eggplants.

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Solanum ovigerum

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Eggplant (US,[1] Australia,[2] New Zealand, anglophone Canada), aubergine (UK,[3] Ireland, Quebec, and most of mainland Western Europe) or brinjal (South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa)[4][5] is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines. Typically used as a vegetable in cooking, it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato, chili pepper, and potato, although those are of the new world where the eggplant, like nightshade, is old world. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is usually eaten cooked. Eggplant is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.

It was originally domesticated from the wild nightshade species thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum,[6][7][8] probably with two independent domestications: one in South Asia, and one in East Asia.[9] In 2018, China and India combined accounted for 87% of the world production of eggplants.

Description

 src=
Closeup of flower
 src=
A developing fruit

The eggplant is a delicate, tropical perennial plant often cultivated as a tender or half-hardy annual in temperate climates. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple in color, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. Some common cultivars have fruit that is egg-shaped, glossy, and purple with white flesh and a spongy, "meaty" texture. Some other cultivars are white and longer in shape. The cut surface of the flesh rapidly turns brown when the fruit is cut open (oxidation).

Eggplant grows 40 to 150 cm (1 ft 4 in to 4 ft 11 in) tall, with large, coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft 5 in), with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. On wild plants, the fruit is less than 3 cm (1+14 in) in diameter; in cultivated forms: 30 cm (12 in) or more in length are possible for long, narrow types or the large fat purple ones common to the West.

Botanically classified as a berry, the fruit contains numerous small, soft, edible seeds that taste bitter because they contain or are covered in nicotinoid alkaloids, like the related tobacco.

History

 src=
Long purple eggplants
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Varieties of Solanum melongena from the Japanese Seikei Zusetsu agricultural encyclopedia

There is no consensus about the place of origin of eggplant; the plant species has been described as native to India, where it continues to grow wild,[10] Africa,[11] or South Asia.[12] It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory. The first known written record of the plant is found in Qimin Yaoshu, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544 C.E.[13] The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate it was grown throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages, who introduced it to Spain in the 8th century.[14] A book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in 12th-century Arabic Spain described how to grow aubergines.[15] Records exist from later medieval Catalan and Spanish.[16]

The aubergine is unrecorded in England until the 16th century. An English botany book in 1597 described the madde or raging Apple:

This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere... bringing foorth fruite of the bignes of a great Cucumber.... We have had the same in our London gardens, where it hath borne flowers, but the winter approching before the time of ripening, it perished: notwithstanding it came to beare fruite of the bignes of a goose egge one extraordinarie temperate yeere... but never to the full ripenesse.[17]

Because of the plant's relationship with various other nightshades, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine.[18]

The eggplant has a special place in folklore. In 13th-century Italian traditional folklore, the eggplant can cause insanity.[19] In 19th-century Egypt, insanity was said to be "more common and more violent" when the eggplant is in season in the summer.[20]

Etymology and regional names

 src=
White eggplant compared to two chicken eggs

The plant and fruit have a profusion of English names.

Eggplant-type names

The name eggplant is usual in North American English and Australian English. First recorded in 1763, the word "eggplant" was originally applied to white cultivars, which look very much like hen's eggs (see image).[21][22][23] Similar names are widespread in other languages, such as the Icelandic term eggaldin or the Welsh planhigyn ŵy.

The white, egg-shaped varieties of the eggplant's fruits are also known as garden eggs,[24] a term first attested in 1811.[25] The Oxford English Dictionary records that between 1797 and 1888, the name vegetable egg was also used.[26]

Aubergine-type names

Whereas eggplant was coined in English, most of the diverse other European names for the plant derive from the Arabic word bāḏinjān (Arabic: باذنجان‎).[27] Bāḏinjān is itself a loan-word in Arabic, whose earliest traceable origins lie in the Dravidian languages. The Hobson-Jobson dictionary comments that 'probably there is no word of the kind which has undergone such extraordinary variety of modifications, whilst retaining the same meaning, as this'.[28]

In English usage, modern names deriving from Arabic bāḏinjān include:

From Dravidian to Arabic

 src=
Illustration of an eggplant (upper picture) in a 1717 manuscript of a work by the thirteenth-century Persian Zakariya al-Qazwini.

All the aubergine-type names have the same origin, in the Dravidian languages. Modern descendants of this ancient Dravidian word include Malayalam vaṟutina and Tamil vaṟutuṇai.

The Dravidian word was borrowed into the Indic languages, giving ancient forms such as Sanskrit and Pali vātiṅ-gaṇa (alongside Sanskrit vātigama) and Prakrit vāiṃaṇa. According to the entry brinjal in the Oxford English Dictionary, the Sanskrit word vātin-gāna denoted 'the class (that removes) the wind-disorder (windy humour)': that is, vātin-gāna came to be the name for eggplants because they were thought to cure flatulence. The modern Hindustani words descending directly from the Sanskrit name are baingan and began.

The Indic word vātiṅ-gaṇa was then borrowed into Persian as bādingān. Persian bādingān was borrowed in turn into Arabic as bāḏinjān (or, with the definite article, al-bāḏinjān). From Arabic, the word was borrowed into European languages.

From Arabic into Iberia and beyond

In al-Andalus, the Arabic word (al-)bāḏinjān was borrowed into the Romance languages in forms beginning with b- or, with the definite article included, alb-:

  • Portuguese bringella, bringiela, earlier beringela.
  • Spanish berenjena, alberenjena.

The Spanish word alberenjena was then borrowed into French, giving aubergine (along with French dialectal forms like albergine, albergaine, albergame, and belingèle). The French name was then borrowed into British English, appearing there first in the late eighteenth century.

Through the colonial expansion of Portugal, the Portuguese form bringella was borrowed into a variety of other languages:

  • Indian, Malaysian, Singaporean and South African English brinjal, brinjaul (first attested in the seventeenth century).
  • West Indian English brinjalle and (through folk-etymology) brown-jolly.

Thus although Indian English brinjal ultimately originates in languages of the Indian Subcontinent, it actually came into Indian English via Portuguese.

From Arabic into Greek and beyond

 src=
Illustrations of an eggplant from a possibly fifteenth-century French manuscript of a work by Matthaeus Platearius. The word melonge, below the illustration, has a blue initial M-.

The Arabic word bāḏinjān was borrowed into Greek by the eleventh century CE. The Greek loans took a variety of forms, but crucially they began with m-, partly because Greek lacked the initial b- sound and partly through folk-etymological association with the Greek word μέλας (melas), 'black'. Attested Greek forms include ματιζάνιον (matizanion, eleventh-century), μελιντζάνα (melintzana, fourteenth-century), and μελιντζάνιον (melintzanion, seventeenth-century).

From Greek, the word was borrowed into Italian and medieval Latin, and onwards into French. Early forms include:

  • Melanzāna, recorded in Sicilian in the twelfth century.
  • Melongena, recorded in Latin in the thirteenth century.
  • Melongiana, recorded in Veronese in the fourteenth century.
  • Melanjan, recorded in Old French.

From these forms came the botanical Latin melongēna. This was used by Tournefort as a genus name in 1700, then by Linnaeus as a species name in 1753. It remains in scientific use.

These forms also gave rise to the Caribbean English melongene.

The Italian melanzana, through folk-etymology, was adapted to mela insana ('mad apple'): already by the thirteenth century, this name had given rise to a tradition that eggplants could cause insanity. Translated into English as 'mad-apple', 'rage-apple', or 'raging apple', this name for eggplants is attested from 1578 and the form 'mad-apple' may still be found in Southern American English.[30]

Other English names

The plant is also known as guinea squash in Southern American English. The term guinea in the name originally denoted the fact that the fruits were associated with West Africa.[30]

It has been known as 'Jew's apple', apparently in relation to a belief that the fruit was first imported to the West Indies by Jewish people.[31]

Cultivars

 src=
Three cultivars of eggplant, showing size, shape, and color differences

Different cultivars of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape, and color, though typically purple. The less common white varieties of eggplant are also known as Easter white eggplants, garden eggs, Casper or white eggplant. The most widely cultivated varieties—cultivars—in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 12–25 cm (4+12–10 in) long and 6–9 cm (2+123+12 in) broad with a dark purple skin.

A much wider range of shapes, sizes, and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia. Larger cultivars weighing up to a kilogram (2.2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, while smaller ones are found elsewhere. Colors vary from white to yellow or green, as well as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have a color gradient—white at the stem, to bright pink, deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars with white striping also exist. Chinese cultivars are commonly shaped like a narrower, slightly pendulous cucumber. Also, Asian cultivars of Japanese breeding are grown.

  • Oval or elongated oval-shaped and black-skinned cultivars include 'Harris Special Hibush', 'Burpee Hybrid', 'Bringal Bloom', 'Black Magic', 'Classic', 'Dusky', and 'Black Beauty'.
  • Slim cultivars in purple-black skin include 'Little Fingers', 'Ichiban', 'Pingtung Long', and 'Tycoon'
    • In green skin, 'Louisiana Long Green' and 'Thai (Long) Green'
    • In white skin, 'Dourga'.
  • Traditional, white-skinned, egg-shaped cultivars include 'Casper' and 'Easter Egg'.
  • Bicolored cultivars with color gradient include 'Rosa Bianca', 'Violetta di Firenze', 'Bianca Sfumata di Rosa' (heirloom), and 'Prosperosa' (heirloom).
  • Bicolored cultivars with striping include 'Listada de Gandia' and 'Udumalapet'.
  • In some parts of India, miniature cultivars, most commonly called vengan, are popular.

Varieties

  • S. m. var. esculentum – common aubergine, including white varieties, with many cultivars[32]
  • S. m. var. depressum – dwarf aubergine
  • S. m. var. serpentium – snake aubergine

Genetically engineered eggplant

Bt brinjal is a transgenic eggplant that contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis.[33] This variety was designed to give the plant resistance to lepidopteran insects such as the brinjal fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and fruit borer (Helicoverpa armigera).[33][34]

On 9 February 2010, the Environment Ministry of India imposed a moratorium on the cultivation of Bt brinjal after protests against regulatory approval of cultivated Bt brinjal in 2009, stating the moratorium would last "for as long as it is needed to establish public trust and confidence".[33] This decision was deemed controversial, as it deviated from previous practices with other genetically modified crops in India.[35] Bt brinjal was approved for commercial cultivation in Bangladesh in 2013.[36]

Cooking and preparing

Raw eggplant can have a bitter taste, with an astringent quality, but it becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Rinsing, draining, and salting the sliced fruit before cooking may remove the bitterness.[37] The fruit is capable of absorbing cooking fats and sauces, which may enhance the flavor of eggplant dishes.

Eggplant is used in the cuisines of many countries. Due to its texture and bulk, it is sometimes used as a meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisines.[38] Eggplant flesh is smooth. Its numerous seeds are small, soft and edible, along with the rest of the fruit, and do not have to be removed. Its thin skin is also edible, and so it does not have to be peeled. However, the green part at the top, the calyx, does have to be removed when preparing an eggplant for cooking.

Eggplant can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are sauces made by mashing the cooked fruit. It can be stuffed. It is frequently, but not always, cooked with fat.

East Asia

Korean and Japanese eggplant varieties are typically thin-skinned.[39]

In Chinese cuisine, eggplants are known as qiézi (茄子). They are often deep fried and made into dishes such as yúxiāng-qiézi ("fish fragrance eggplant")[40] or di sān xiān ("three earthen treasures"). Elsewhere in China, such as in Yunnan cuisine (in particular the cuisine of the Dai people) they are barbecued or roasted, then split and either eaten directly with garlic, chilli, oil and coriander, or the flesh is removed and pounded to a mash (typically with a wooden pestle and mortar) before being eaten with rice or other dishes.

In Japanese cuisine, eggplants are known as nasu or nasubi and use the same characters as Chinese (茄子). An example of it use is in the dish hasamiyaki (挟み焼き) in which slices of eggplant are grilled and filled with a meat stuffing.[41] Eggplants also feature in several Japanese expression and proverbs, such as "Don't feed autumn eggplant to your wife" (秋茄子は嫁に食わすな, akinasu ha yomi ni kuwasuna) and "Always listen to your parents" (親の意見と茄子の花は千に一つも無駄はない, oya no iken to nasubi no hana ha sen ni hitotsu mo muda ha nai, literally: "not even one in a thousand of a parents' opinion or an eggplant flower are in vain").[42][43]

In Korean cuisine, eggplants are known as gaji (가지). They are steamed, stir-fried, or pan-fried and eaten as banchan (side dishes), such as namul, bokkeum, and jeon.[44][45]

Southeast Asia

In the Philippines, eggplants are of the long and slender purple variety. They are known as talong and is widely used in many stew and soup dishes, like pinakbet.[46] However the most popular eggplant dish is tortang talong, an omelette made from grilling an eggplant, dipping it into beaten eggs, and pan-frying the mixture. The dish is characteristically served with the stalk attached. The dish has several variants, including rellenong talong which is stuffed with meat and vegetables.[47][48] Eggplant can also be grilled, skinned and eaten as a salad called ensaladang talong.[49] Another popular dish is adobong talong, which is diced eggplant prepared with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic as an adobo.[50]

South Asia

Eggplant is widely used in its native India, for example in sambar (a tamarind lentil stew), dalma (a dal preparation with vegetables, native to Odisha), chutney, curry, and achaar (a pickled dish). Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described as the "king of vegetables". Roasted, skinned, mashed, mixed with onions, tomatoes, and spices, and then slow cooked gives the South Asian dish baingan bharta or gojju, similar to salată de vinete in Romania. Another version of the dish, begun-pora (eggplant charred or burnt), is very popular in Bangladesh and the east Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal where the pulp of the vegetable is mixed with raw chopped shallot, green chilies, salt, fresh coriander, and mustard oil. Sometimes fried tomatoes and deep-fried potatoes are also added, creating a dish called begun bhorta. In a dish from Maharashtra called bharli vangi, small brinjals are stuffed with ground coconut, peanuts, onions, tamarind, jaggery and masala spices, and then cooked in oil. Maharashtra and the adjacent state of Karnataka also have an eggplant-based vegetarian pilaf called 'vangi bhat' [51]..

Middle East and the Mediterranean

Eggplant is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille, or deep-fried as in the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish karnıyarık, or Turkish, Greek, and Levantine musakka/moussaka, and Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes. Eggplants can also be battered before deep-frying and served with a sauce made of tahini and tamarind. In Iranian cuisine, it is blended with whey as kashk e bademjan, tomatoes as mirza ghassemi, or made into stew as khoresht-e-bademjan. It can be sliced and deep-fried, then served with plain yogurt (optionally topped with a tomato and garlic sauce), such as in the Turkish dish patlıcan kızartması (meaning fried aubergines), or without yogurt, as in patlıcan şakşuka. Perhaps the best-known Turkish eggplant dishes are imam bayıldı (vegetarian) and karnıyarık (with minced meat). It may also be roasted in its skin until charred, so the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients, such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Arab baba ghanoush and the similar Greek melitzanosalata. A mix of roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, chopped onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and spices is called zacuscă in Romania, and ajvar or pinjur in the Balkans.

A Spanish dish called escalivada in Catalonia calls for strips of roasted aubergine, sweet pepper, onion, and tomato. In Andalusia, eggplant is mostly cooked thinly sliced, deep-fried in olive oil and served hot with honey (berenjenas a la Cordobesa). In the La Mancha region of central Spain, a small eggplant is pickled in vinegar, paprika, olive oil, and red peppers. The result is berenjena of Almagro, Ciudad Real. A Levantine specialty is makdous, another pickling of eggplants, stuffed with red peppers and walnuts in olive oil. Eggplant can be hollowed out and stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings, and then baked. In Georgia, for example, it is fried and stuffed with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani.

Cultivation and pests

In tropical and subtropical climates, eggplant can be sown in the garden. Eggplant grown in temperate climates fares better when transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Eggplant prefers hot weather, and when grown in cold climates or in areas with low humidity, the plants languish or fail to set and produce mature fruit.[52][53] Seeds are typically started eight to 10 weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date. S. melongena is included on a list of low flammability plants, indicating that it is suitable for growing within a building protection zone.[54]

Spacing should be 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 in) between plants, depending on cultivar, and 60 to 90 cm (24 to 35 in) between rows, depending on the type of cultivation equipment being used. Mulching helps conserve moisture and prevent weeds and fungal diseases and the plants benefit from some shade during the hottest part of the day. Hand pollination by shaking the flowers improves the set of the first blossoms. Growers typically cut fruits from the vine just above the calyx owing to the somewhat woody stems. Flowers are complete, containing both female and male structures, and may be self- or cross-pollinated.[55]

Many of the pests and diseases that afflict other solanaceous plants, such as tomato, capsicum, and potato, are also troublesome to eggplants. For this reason, it should generally not be planted in areas previously occupied by its close relatives. However, since eggplants can be particularly susceptible to pests such as whiteflies, they are sometimes grown with slightly less susceptible plants, such as chili pepper, as a sacrificial trap crop. Four years should separate successive crops of eggplants to reduce pest pressure.

Common North American pests include the potato beetles, flea beetles, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Good sanitation and crop rotation practices are extremely important for controlling fungal disease, the most serious of which is Verticillium.

Production

In 2018, world production of eggplants was 54 million tonnes, led by China with 63% of the total and India with 24% (table).

Nutrition

Raw eggplant is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and has negligible fat (table). It provides low amounts of essential nutrients, with only manganese having a moderate percentage (11%) of the Daily Value. Minor changes in nutrient composition occur with season, environment of cultivation (open field or greenhouse), and genotype.[57]

Host plant

The potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) is an oligophagous insect that prefers to feed on plants of the family Solanaceae such as eggplants. Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf.[58]

Chemistry

The color of purple skin cultivars is due to the anthocyanin nasunin.[59]

The browning of eggplant flesh results from the oxidation of polyphenols, such as the most abundant phenolic compound in the fruit, chlorogenic acid.[60]

Allergies

Case reports of itchy skin or mouth, mild headache, and stomach upset after handling or eating eggplant have been reported anecdotally and published in medical journals (see also oral allergy syndrome).

A 2008 study of a sample of 741 people in India, where eggplant is commonly consumed, found nearly 10% reported some allergic symptoms after consuming eggplant, with 1.4% showing symptoms within two hours.[61] Contact dermatitis from eggplant leaves[62] and allergy to eggplant flower pollen[63] have also been reported.

Individuals who are atopic (genetically predisposed to developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions) are more likely to have a reaction to eggplant, which may be because eggplant is high in histamines. A few proteins and at least one secondary metabolite have been identified as potential allergens.[64] Cooking eggplant thoroughly seems to preclude reactions in some individuals, but at least one of the allergenic proteins survives the cooking process.

Taxonomy

 src=
Segmented purple eggplant

The eggplant is quite often featured in the older scientific literature under the junior synonyms S. ovigerum and S. trongum. Several other names that are now invalid have been uniquely applied to it:[65]

  • Melongena ovata Mill.
  • Solanum album Noronha
  • Solanum insanum L.
  • Solanum longum Roxb.
  • Solanum melanocarpum Dunal
  • Solanum melongenum St.-Lag.
  • Solanum oviferum Salisb.
  • Prachi Salisb.

A number of subspecies and varieties have been named, mainly by Dikii, Dunal, and (invalidly) by Sweet. Names for various eggplant types, such as agreste, album, divaricatum, esculentum, giganteum, globosi, inerme, insanum, leucoum, luteum, multifidum, oblongo-cylindricum, ovigera, racemiflorum, racemosum, ruber, rumphii, sinuatorepandum, stenoleucum, subrepandum, tongdongense, variegatum, violaceum, viride, are not considered to refer to anything more than cultivar groups at best. However, Solanum incanum and cockroach berry (S. capsicoides), other eggplant-like nightshades described by Linnaeus and Allioni, respectively, were occasionally considered eggplant varieties, but this is not correct.[65]

The eggplant has a long history of taxonomic confusion with the scarlet and Ethiopian eggplants (Solanum aethiopicum), known as gilo and nakati, respectively, and described by Linnaeus as S. aethiopicum. The eggplant was sometimes considered a variety violaceum of that species. S. violaceum of de Candolle applies to Linnaeus' S. aethiopicum. An actual S. violaceum, an unrelated plant described by Ortega, included Dunal's S. amblymerum and was often confused with the same author's S. brownii.[65]

Like the potato and S. lichtensteinii, but unlike the tomato, which then was generally put in a different genus, the eggplant was also described as S. esculentum, in this case once more in the course of Dunal's work. He also recognized the varieties aculeatum, inerme, and subinerme at that time. Similarly, H.C.F. Schuhmacher and Peter Thonning named the eggplant as S. edule, which is also a junior synonym of sticky nightshade (S. sisymbriifolium). Scopoli's S. zeylanicum refers to the eggplant, and that of Blanco to S. lasiocarpum.[65]

See also

References

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Solanum ovigerum: Brief Summary

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Eggplant (US, Australia, New Zealand, anglophone Canada), aubergine (UK, Ireland, Quebec, and most of mainland Western Europe) or brinjal (South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa) is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae. Solanum melongena is grown worldwide for its edible fruit.

Most commonly purple, the spongy, absorbent fruit is used in several cuisines. Typically used as a vegetable in cooking, it is a berry by botanical definition. As a member of the genus Solanum, it is related to the tomato, chili pepper, and potato, although those are of the new world where the eggplant, like nightshade, is old world. Like the tomato, its skin and seeds can be eaten, but, like the potato, it is usually eaten cooked. Eggplant is nutritionally low in macronutrient and micronutrient content, but the capability of the fruit to absorb oils and flavors into its flesh through cooking expands its use in the culinary arts.

It was originally domesticated from the wild nightshade species thorn or bitter apple, S. incanum, probably with two independent domestications: one in South Asia, and one in East Asia. In 2018, China and India combined accounted for 87% of the world production of eggplants.

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