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Green eggplant, or Ao Daimaru, is oval shaped and medium-sized. It averages 9 to 10 centimeters long and about 6 centimeters wide. The lime green eggplant is capped with a russet-colored calyx and almost no stem. The flesh is ivory and dense. Green eggplant has a rich flavor that has a slight bitterness. The edible seeds are small, and embedded in the flesh along the length of the eggplant.
Green eggplant is available in the late spring and summer months.
Green eggplant, which is known as Ao Daimaru in Japanese, is an heirloom variety. It is botanically classified as Solanum melongena, and related to the more common deep purple variety. In Japanese, eggplant is referred to as “nasu”. The name Ao Daimaru nasu literally translates into English as “Oh My God eggplant”.
Green eggplant, like the purple variety, is a high in soluble fiber, as well as B-complex vitamins. It is considered a low-glycemic vegetable and is ideal for those on a low sugar diet. Green eggplant is also a good source of manganese, copper, potassium, and iron.
Green eggplant can be used in any application that calls for eggplant. The flesh takes on a creamy consistency when cooked. Slice it and grill or fry and use for a side dish, grilled vegetable sandwiches or ratatouille. Cut into cubes and add to pastas or rice dishes. In Tokyo, Green eggplant is used for tempura or marinated with miso and baked or fried. It is also pickled and used in stir-fry. Green eggplant can be stored in a cool place for two days, and will keep in the refrigerator for a few more.
In the city of Yachiyo in Japan’s Chiba prefecture, adjacent to Saitama prefecture, a little Green eggplant is the mascot for an elementary school. Before the Meiji period, when Tokyo was known as Edo, the nearby prefecture of Chiba was considered ‘Edo’s pantry’ for its many farms and fertile soils. Saitama prefecture is known for its 300 year-old system of sustainable agriculture.
Green eggplant, or Ao Daimaru, is native to the Saitama prefecture in Japan, located just north of Tokyo. It is thought to have originally been an heirloom from Kyoto, one of the famed kyo-yasai. If so, it would have likely come to the Tokyo area with start of the Meiji period in 1868, when the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to the eastern city. Green eggplant is grown still in the areas surrounding Tokyo, and can be found at local farmers markets in the area. Outside of the Kanto region of Japan, Ao Daimaru can be found in areas where the summers are relatively cool, through small farms at local farmers markets.