White Japanese Eggplant
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The White Japanese eggplant is distinguished by its size and by its smooth and glossy ivory skin and dense cottony flesh with underdeveloped seeds. It inherently contains less moisture than bigger purple eggplant varieties which actually extends its shelf-life. Fruits are elongated with a narrow teardrop shape and rough pointed leaves at the fruit's blossom end. They are harvested at lengths of three to four inches. The flavor of raw White Japanese eggplant is delicate and slightly fruity, while cooking brings out a creamy consistency and melting quality.
White Japanese eggplants are available mid to late summer.
The White Japanese eggplant, botanical name Solanum melongena var. esculentum, is a perennial fruit and as it bears seeds within its body it is specifically classified as a berry. Though, botanically a fruit, agriculturally, White Japanese eggplants are grown from seed as annual vegetables. All eggplants are members of the Solanaceae family, which includes a several important agricultural crops, including the potato and tomato. The family is also informally referred to as the nightshade family. Several varieties of White Japanese eggplant exist, including Snowy White, Casper, White Angel and the All-America Selection, Gretel.
Eggplants such as the White Japanese contain over ninety percent water and are high in potassium and very low in both fats and protein. They also offer B vitamins, magnesium and copper as well as phytonutrients and niacin.
White Japanese eggplants are perfectly suited for grilling, sautéing, stir-frying and pickling. Their sponge-like flesh readily absorbs accompanying flavors. Traditional preparations include stir-fries, curries, pizza and pasta toppings, stews and warm salads. Complimentary pairings include arugula, artichokes, chickpeas, cumin, summer squash, tomatoes, basil, fresh cheeses such as feta and chevre, citrus such as lemon and lime, peppers, oregano, seafood such as scallops and sea bass and roasted meats such lamb and pork. Eggplants have a short shelf life and are best if used two to three days after harvesting. Avoid refrigeration when storing as this can cause the fruit to deteriorate, rather, they should be kept in a cool dry place until ready to use.
The name eggplant evolved from English explorers who discovered the fruit in Asia; the specific variety they found resembled the shape of an egg. Many white eggplant varieties still resemble the shape of an egg today and others such as the White Japanese have since taken on a more lean and lengthy shape.
White skinned eggplants such as the White Japanese have long been popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. In modern times new varieties evolved to offer improved flesh quality and reduced seed size, as seeds often lead to the bitterness that is often associated with eggplants. White Japanese eggplants are grown extensively in temperate climates with warm and hot summers throughout the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
Recipes that include White Japanese Eggplant. One is easiest, three is harder.
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