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Green eggplants are globular and medium-sized, averaging 9-10 centimeters in length and 6 centimeters in diameter. The lime green eggplant is capped with a dark green calyx, a very small stem, and the outer skin is smooth and glossy. The inner flesh is ivory, dense, and spongy with very few edible seeds. When cooked, Green eggplant is tender and creamy with a rich flavor and slight bitterness.
Green eggplants are available in the late spring and summer months.
Green eggplants, botanically classified as Solanum melongena, are a part of the well-known kyo-yasai heirloom variety from Kyoto, Japan. Known as Ao Daimaru in Japanese, kyo-yasai heirlooms are regarded as having a rich, more flavorful taste and tender texture. In Kyoto, these heirlooms are typically cooked without spices to showcase the natural, vibrant flavors.
Green eggplants are an excellent source of fiber and B-complex vitamins and are also a good source of manganese, copper, potassium, and iron.
Green eggplants are best suited for cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, stir-frying, baking, and sautéing. The flesh takes on a creamy consistency when cooked and can be sliced and grilled for vegetable sandwiches or ratatouille. It can also be cut into cubes and added to pasta or rice dishes. In Tokyo, Green eggplants are used for tempura, marinated with miso and baked, pickled, and used in stir-fries. Green eggplants pair well with tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, miso, tempura, broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots. Green eggplants will keep up to three days when stored in a cool and dry place.
In the city of Yachiyo in the Chiba prefecture, adjacent to Saitama prefecture, the Green eggplant is the mascot for an elementary school because of its cultural and economic significance. 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. The Chiba prefecture has the second-highest produce output in Japan and produces many of the country's vegetables.
The Green eggplant is native to the Saitama prefecture in Japan, located just north of Tokyo and came to the Tokyo area at the start of the Meiji period in 1868. Green eggplant is still grown in the regions surrounding Tokyo and can be found at local farmers markets. Outside of this region, Ao Daimaru can be found at small farms, local farmers markets, and online seed catalogs in Asia and the United States.