Eggplants!

Eggplant is often recommended for weight-loss diets because it contains low-calories, low-fat, protein and carbohydrates.

In our A curious way to bake eggplants without frying we did not talk about eggplant properties: we were too focused on explaining the recipe! Now we try to remedy starting with an alert: if you want to lose weight by eating eggplant, use little seasoning because eggplant's spongy flesh absorbs fats very well!

So, if you are looking for a light diet, don't eat the following exquisite Italian recipes with eggplant:

  • melanzane alla Parmigiana;
  • Caponata di Melanzane alla Siciliana;
  • melanzane ripiene;
  • melanzane fritte;
  • melanzane impanate;
  • polpette di Melanzane
  • pasta casereccia al forno con melanzane
  • melanzane saltate in padella con cipolla e pomodoro fresco
  • sugo di melanzane per spaghetti
  • bruschette con striscioline di melanzane sott'olio.

Any translation in English is forbidden: I don't want to lead you into temptation.

Eggplant

The good qualities of the eggplant

For a light diet you can grill the eggplant or steam it, but don't eat raw eggplant because it contains a toxic component called solanine. When eggplant is cooked solanine is no more dangerous. We can say that cooked eggplant has several good qualities:

  • reduces the cholesterol of blood;
  • is rich in water, potassium, vitamin A and C, phosphorus, calcium, tannin;
  • contains a little sugar;
  • rebalances hepatic activity;
  • has purifying and anti-inflammatory properties.

Eggplant in Italy

Eggplant comes from Asia; several centuries ago it was already well known by Arab populations which share the knowledge with Sicilian people. From Sicily eggplants spread throughout Italy and now often you can find la Violetta (Violet, an eggplant name) in our fridges; nowadays Italian Regions like Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Calabria, Sicily are great eggplants producers during the entire year.

In Italy we have a special type of eggplant with a red color (Solanum aethiopicum) cultivated in Basilicata region, near the city of Potenza. Rotonda is the name of the village where they cultivate this red eggplant that obtained in 2007 the DOP recognition (Protected Designation of Origin). If you go to Rotonda, you can see and eat not only red eggplants, but you can also make an excursion to Pollino National Park.

How to choose an eggplant

If you are buying an eggplant, pay attention to the following points:

  1. check that the stem is still attached;
  2. the stem has to be green with no dry parts;
  3. the skin should be smooth, shiny and taut;
  4. the flesh should be firm.

How to store eggplants

After the purchase, eggplants can stay in the fridge of the home kitchen few days, rarely more than a week. If you do not remove the stem, they will stay fresh even longer. You can freeze eggplant slices after boiling them in water.

How to remove the bitterness, before cooking eggplants:

  1. cut the eggplant into slices;
  2. cover the slices with salt;
  3. let them drain for an hour.

Sliced eggplants covered with salt

Italian eggplant festivals

In Italy, like artichoke, also eggplant is celebrated: we have several eggplant festivals along our peninsula. on August in Campegli, a community of Castiglione Chiavarese (Ge) in Ligurian region, there is the Sagra della melanzana (Eggplant festival). Every year, since XVII century, during that festival they cook stuffed eggplant. On August in Vecite, a community of Maiori (SA) in Campania region there is the festival of Mulegnane c'a' Ciucculata or "Eggplant with Choccolate", that is a speciality of pastry making that combines the fragrance of the eggplant to the sweetness of the chocolate.

On July in Castrì di Lecce (LE) in Puglia region they cook eggplant in several exquisite ways, including traditional parmigiana, sauteed eggplant with onion and fresh tomato, bruschetta with strips of eggplant in olive oil and so on, forget your diet! Many other festivals out there: on July in Santa Maria La Carità (NA) in Campania region; on September in Soverato (CZ) in Calabria Region; on August in Roccella Jonica (RC) in Calabria region and finally on August in Corigliano Calabro (CS) in Calabria region.

Sources

Wikipedia.it - Rotonda (Italia)

Wikipedia.it - Solanum Aethiopicum

Alimentipedia.it - Melanzana: regina della Caponata

http://www.ilgiornaledelcibo.it/servizi/chi-siamo.asp

My-personaltrainer.it - Melanzane

Fondation-louisbonduelle.org - Melanzana: i vantaggi nutrizionali delle verdure. Tutto ciò che serve sapere sulle verdure, la salute e la nutrizione

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