Shades of Violet: lady Eggplant or miss Aubergine – properties, informations, curiosities

Eggplants are commonly considered vegetables, but they actually are berries that belong to the Solanaceae family, genus Solanum, species S. melongena.

Native of India, the eggplant was introduced in Europe by the Arabs at the beginning of the Middle Ages and, therefore, it does not have a greek or latin name.

You can find each type of eggplant in italian recipes, depending on the dish you want to prepare. The best-known is the dark purple eggplant, elongated, similar to a large pear.

melanzana eggplant aubergine

It is eaten always cooked because heat produces some pre-digestive processes that break down many complex substances present in it and makes also its fibers chewable. The cooking also reduces by half the presence of the famous solanines, which are in plants such as eggplants, sprouted potatoes and tomatoes.
What are solanines? They are substances potentially toxic and responsible for the typical bitter taste, naturally produced by the plants to protect themselves from pests and adverse weather conditions.
The typical deep purple colour of the skin is due to the presence of anthocyanins, the pigments belonging to the wide family of polyphenols, water-soluble and with a strong antioxidant action.


Despite being low in calories, eggplants absorb a great deal of fats, then you need to pay attention to cooking methods if you want to have a light meal.

melanzana eggplant aubergine

Raw eggplants have only 18 kcal per 100 grams, as constituted approximately 90% by water. The rest is divided between carbohydrates and fiber, of which only 2% are proteins and fats.
Absorbing many minerals from the soil, the eggplants are an excellent source of potassium and B vitamins.

Beneficial effects

The eggplant has balancing properties of liver function, has a beneficial effect in lowering cholesterol, laxativedepurativeanti-inflammatory properties.
For its water and micronutrient, the eggplant is also moisturizing, remineralizing and diuretic, especially in preparations that keep the product well hydrated as stewing.

melanzana eggplant aubergine


The Red DOP Aubergine of Rotonda, with a shape similar to a tomato, orange-red coloured and with a slightly spicy flavour, belongs to another species.

Grown mainly in Africa and Asia, it is present in Italy thanks to some farmers of Basilicata and Cilento.

After the risk of extinction, the enhancement occurred through tour operators, farmers and some institutional bodies that have promoted the consumption and cultivation, has led to its recognition as a Slow Food Presidium and to the proposal for the recognition of the PDO, which occurred in in 2007.
Currently marketed and known in Italy as Red DOP Aubergine of Rotonda, it is named from the locals as “merlingiana a pummadora“.


melanzana eggplant auberginemelanzana eggplant aubergine

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melanzana eggplant aubergine

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