“Finished!” Lisa happily added the last period to the last sentence of her next book. After the huge sales of her recent bestseller, Surviving the Chase, she felt confident about this one. “I’m going to celebrate by making an amazing meal for the family.”
She went to the garden to pick veggies, including an eggplant she had been watching. It was huge, so it would be the basis for a delicious Roasted Eggplant Panzanella with Capers, Olives, and Pine Nuts recipe. As she got closer to the garden, her eyes got bigger and bigger. The eggplant, along with her peppers and tomatoes, was gone. Remnants were scattered everywhere. The raccoons had beat her to the harvest. Not one to stay angry, Lisa headed to the farmers market for replacements. She walked up to Demetrius, her favorite vendor. His fruit and veggies were consistently the best looking and tasting.
“Hi Sunshine, you’re just in time to make some deals. I’ve got lots left to sell.”
“Demetrius, I am glad to see you. The raccoons ate just about everything in my garden. I was planning to make an eggplant dish for dinner, but they got to mine, so here I am.”
Demetrius nodded sympathetically, “well, let’s see what we have that can put that famous smile back on your face. I’ve got several varieties of eggplants, all known by their country of origin. I think you’re looking for Globe, aka American or Black Beauty. They’re right here. The glossy skin means it’s ripe and ready to eat.”
“Thanks, D. I’ve got a hungry bunch to feed. My recipe says I can use Asian eggplant too. Do you have any?”
“Yes, here’s Japanese eggplant, which is thin and long like their Chinese cousin, but they have a deeper purple color, whereas Chinese eggplant, is a lighter, lavender color. Both have thin skin, not so many seeds, and a tender meaty texture. They’re also good in stir-fries.”
Lisa picked up a couple and added them to her basket. “That’s good to know because I am slowly moving the family away from eating so much meat. It’s one of my stealth projects, so every time I cook a meal without meat, and they don’t complain, I feel like I’m making progress. At the same time, I want to make sure each meal is nutritionally dense.”
“Eggplant is nutrient-dense and contains fiber, vitamins C, B6, K, potassium, and folate. They are high in manganese, which helps reduce internal inflammation. And their deep purple color indicates the presence of anthocyanins, an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties. You might like these Indian eggplants. These little guys are not so bitter, and their texture is firm. They are good in stews, fried dishes, or stuffed.”
“Is this White eggplant?”
Demetrius picked one up, “it sure is. They are also native to India. White eggplant has edible seeds and firmer skin, so they should be peeled before cooking. They make a good meat substitute and go well in pasta dishes. They are high in potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, and copper.
Before we leave the wild-whacky world of eggplant, check out these Thai eggplants. Their tiny size and mild flavor mean they can be eaten raw as a crunchy snack.”
“You have restored my mood, Demetrius. I will take a few of each. Thanks for the eggplants, lessons.”
Lisa went home and prepared another blue-ribbon meal for her family. She even doubled the recipe, yet there was none left. Afterward, she went out to the garden to clean it up. A purple color amongst the greenery caught her eye. She leaned in to inspect and discovered an eggplant the critters had not touched. It needed a couple more days to ripen. “Oh, they didn’t get this one! And they’re not going to either.” She went into the house got a water pistol, blanket, flashlight, and headphones; it was going to be a long night.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.