Eggplant Facts

Eggplant Facts
Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a flowering plant that belongs to the nightshade family. It originates from China. Cultivation of eggplant started 600 years BC in southern and eastern parts of Asia. There are around 770 varieties of eggplant that can be found in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world. People cultivate eggplant as a source of food. Other than that, eggplant can be cultivated as ornamental plant.
Interesting Eggplant Facts:
Eggplant has spiny stem that can grow from 16 to 57 inches in height.
Eggplant develops large green, deeply lobed leaves.
Eggplant produces star-shaped, white or purple flowers. They contain both types of reproductive organs (pistil and stamens) and can perform self-pollination.
Fruit of eggplant belongs to the group of berries. The most popular types of eggplant are oval shaped and covered with smooth, glossy, purple colored skin. Flesh is whitish or creamy colored and has spongy texture.
Some varieties of eggplant produce white, lavender, green or red-striped fruit that can be elongated, rounded or pea-shaped.
Size of the eggplant (fruit) depends on the variety. It ranges from 1.2 to 12 inches in length.
Eggplant contains numerous miniature seed. They have bitter taste due to high content of nicotine (substance that belongs to the group of alkaloids). Eggplant contains the highest level of nicotine compared to other edible plants. Luckily, consumption of eggplant does not produce harmful effect on the human health (20 pounds of eggplant contains same amount of nicotine as one cigarette).
Eggplant has short vegetative season. Harvest usually takes place 60 days after planting. Eggplant requires high temperature (it grows during the summer) for proper growth and development.
Eggplant is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, K and vitamins of the B group, and minerals such as copper, phosphorus and magnesium.
Eggplant can be consumed grilled, baked, boiled, stuffed or combined with meat and other vegetables. Eggplant is often used as a substitute for meat in vegetarian diet due to specific texture and taste of its flesh.
Name "eggplant" originates from 18th century when cultivars with small, white fruit, shaped like hen's egg were popular. Eggplant is known as "crazy apple" in Italy due to widespread belief that diet rich in eggplants leads to madness.
Juice made of leaves and roots of eggplant can be used in treatment of throat and stomach disorders, cough, asthma, toothache, rheumatism and skin problems.
Delphinidin is a substance isolated from eggplant that exhibits anti-tumor properties (it prevents growth of certain types of cancer).
China is the greatest manufacturer of the eggplants in the world. It produces 28.800.000 tons of eggplants annually.
Eggplant grows as perennial plant (life span: over 2 years) in tropics and as annual plant (life span: one year) in temperate climates.

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