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There are two different species of white eggplant. One, Solanum ovigerum, is not used for cooking, but for show only. The other species, Solanum melongena, is edible and is used in many different recipes as a substitute for the more common purple eggplant. The white eggplant, a fruit that is native to Asia, can be fried, grilled, baked, roasted, or steamed and contains vital vitamins and minerals.
Generally, the white eggplant can grow to about 4 pounds (1.8 kg), though sometimes the fruit is picked before it reaches that size. As the name implies, it is shaped like an egg. In fact, although much smaller than the eggplants that are grown today, the original white eggplant got its name because it reminded people of a goose egg. Many people prefer them over the purple eggplants because they are sweeter and free from the bitterness often associated with the purple variety. In addition, they tend to have fewer seeds.
When selecting a white eggplant, it is best to find one with glossy, white skin. In addition, it is often recommended to select one that seems heavier than it should be for its size. This fruit is best if it is not refrigerated and if it is eaten within two days of purchase. As a general rule, the skin should be peeled because it is typically quite thick, but if it is picked while it is young, peeling may be avoided.
There are countless recipes that can use white eggplant, particularly since the white varieties may be used whenever a recipe calls for the purple variety. Some popular recipes call for grilling it; pureeing it into a sauce or a dip; or roasting it with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. It may also be sliced thinly to make eggplant lasagna, wherein the pasta noodles are exchanged for slices of eggplant. Eggplant parmesan is also a popular main dish that uses fried eggplant in combination with tomato sauce and cheese.
White eggplants are rather high in fiber and do not contain many calories. In fact, 1 cup (about 250 ml) of eggplant has only 30 calories. Some eggplant dishes are quite high in calories because of the added oils, cheeses, and butter, so care must be taken when selecting recipes for eggplant if caloric content is a consideration. Eggplant provides vitamins A, B, and C as well as potassium. These vitamins and minerals promote healthy eyes, skin, and brain function as well as boost the immune system.
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