Inventory, 10 lbs : 3.80
This item was last sold on : 03/23/18
Italian eggplants are oblong and small to medium in size, averaging 20-25 centimeters in length, and have a bulbous base that tapers slightly to the stem. The outer skin is glossy, smooth, and ranges in color from lavender to a deep purple. The inner flesh is firm, white or ivory with barely visible, edible seeds patterned throughout. When cooked, Italian eggplants are tender and creamy with a rich flavor.
Italian eggplants are available year-round.
Italian eggplants, botanically classified as Solanum melongena, are members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, which contains over 3000 species along with tomatoes and potatoes. Although grown and treated as a vegetable, eggplant is, in fact, a fruit, as it bears seeds within its flesh. Also known as melanzana in Italian, the Romans who were initially suspicious of the fruit, gave the eggplant its name which stems from mela insane, translating to the apple of insanity. Italian eggplants are characterized by their size, shape, and coloring. Popular Italian eggplant varieties include Traviata, Naida, Rosa Bianca, and Nubia.
Italian eggplants are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. They also contain high levels of anthocyanins, a pigment not only responsible for the fruit's skin coloring, but it is also loaded with antioxidant properties.
Italian eggplants are best suited for cooked applications such as frying, baking, sautéing, grilling, and pickling. Italian eggplants benefit from its porous texture, allowing it to absorb accompanying flavors with ease. It can be sliced and fried or grilled and used in eggplant parmigiana and pasta dishes. It can also be grilled and served with mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, and olive oil as a fresh appetizer. Italian eggplant pairs well with tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, onions, garlic, herbs such as basil, arugula and oregano, capers, green olives, pine nuts, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and grilled steak, veal, and lamb. Italian eggplants will keep up to three days when stored in a cool and dry place. Refrigeration should be avoided as Italian eggplants can suffer chill damage from frigid temperatures.
Eggplant has long been a classic ingredient in Italian cuisine. Originally introduced by Arabs traveling to Sicily, Italian farmers embraced eggplants making it a symbolic vegetable of the culture. As Italian cuisine is dominated by the seasons, eggplants are one of the most popular vegetables of the summer and are used in dishes such as eggplant parmesan, caponata, and pasta alla Norma. These dishes mix fresh vegetables, tomatoes, and olive oils to create savory, full-bodied meatless dishes. Another popular dish is melanzane sott'olio, which is pickled eggplant and is commonly served with cold cuts, tomatoes, and bread.
Though the name Italian eggplant eludes to these eggplants being native to Italy, their heritage lies further east in India and China, where the first domestication of Solanum melongena occurred. Arabs and the trade routes brought eggplants to the warm southern climates of Italy in the 9th century and then to the rest of Europe in the 17th century. Today Italian eggplants are available in farmers markets and specialty grocers in Asia, the United States, Europe, and South America.
Restaurants currently purchasing this product as an ingredient for their menu.
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Recipes that include Italian Eggplant. One is easiest, three is harder.
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