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White eggplant is most readily distinguished by its size, coloring and flavor. Its familiar shape typically has curves like a bell and its coloring notably egg white with a flesh the color of cream. White eggplants are characteristically much smaller than their purple eggplant counterparts, thus their range of harvest can be anywhere from three inches to six inches in length. Often they will be harvested extremely young, in which case they will be referred to as "Baby White eggplant". The flavor of raw White eggplant is fruity and mild and when cooked develops a warm, mellow flavor, its texture smooth with a melting quality. The peel of White eggplant tends to be thick and should be peeled prior to eating for best flavor and texture.
White eggplant is available during the summer months.
White eggplant, botanically known as part of Solanum melongena is scienticially considered a perennial fruit though agriculturally it is grown as an annual vegetable. All eggplants are part of the Solanaceae family along with potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. There are two categorically different White eggplants, Solanum ovigerum Dun., an ornamental species, and Solanum melongena var. esculentum (L.), the most common domesticated eggplant species. White eggplants of culinary importance include Albino and White Beauty.
White eggplants 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 eggplant's sponge-like textural qualities allow it to easily take on bold and complex flavorings such as miso, ginger, yuzu, garlic and all spice. White eggplants are amenable to a variety of cooking methods including sautéing, pan-frying, deep frying, and especially grilling and baking as they tend to hold their shape well when cooked. Complimentary pairings include chiles, tomatoes, squash, stewed meats, grilled and baked fish, chicken, chickpeas, lentils, herbs such as basil, mint, cilantro and parsley as well as cheeses such as fresh cow's milk and aged sheep's cheese. Always choose eggplants with a firm, smooth, unblemished skin devoid of any soft spots. Like most eggplants the White eggplant has a short post-harvest shelf life and should be used ideally within two to three days. For best flavor and texture keep stored in a cool dry place until ready to use.
In India, Ayurvedic medicine dictates that the White eggplant is believed to aid in the treatment of diabetes, its roots additionally are used to treat symptoms of asthma. In addition to being sought out for its medicinal properties White eggplants have long been a popular ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine.
The name eggplant evolved from English explorers who found the fruit in Asia; the specific variety they found resembled the shape and color of an egg, hence its name. White eggplant is specifically native to India and Bangledesh and has been cultivated since antiquity. A Chinese treatise dating back to 1330 known as the Yinshan Zhengyao by Hu Sihui depicting the principles of safe food cites text and images of White eggplant. White eggplants are grown extensively in both tropical and temperate climates with warm and hot summers throughout the Eastern and Western hemispheres.
Recipes that include White Eggplant. One is easiest, three is harder.
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