Seasonal Superfood: Eggplant

With a peak season of June to September, you'll have four whole months to try more than 5 different varieties of eggplant found in stores and at farmers' markets. We've showcased some of our favorite varieties and how you can incorporate eggplant and its health benefits into your every day recipe repertoire!
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With a peak season of June to September, you'll have four whole months to try more than 5 different varieties of eggplant found in stores and at farmers' markets. We've showcased some of our favorite varieties and how you can incorporate eggplant and its health benefits into your every day recipe repertoire!
Eggplants

With its creamy texture and meaty flavor, cooked eggplant is one satisfying summer vegetable (think saucy eggplant parm -- yum!). Plus, it...

KEEPS YOUR BRAIN HEALTHY
Eggplant is one of the best sources of the antioxidant nasunin, which helps protect the fatty acids essential to healthy brain function.

FILLS YOU UP WITH NUTRITION, NOT CALORIES
For only 20 calories per cup, you get a little bit of everything: 3 grams of fiber (10 percent of your daily requirement); vitamins A, B and C; folate; and minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Talk about a well- rounded vegetable!

TO SALT OR NOT?
Cooks used to recommend salting eggplant before cooking to reduce its bitterness. Nowadays, the vegetable is bred to be milder, so salting isn't necessary.

Get to know your eggplants!

(From top to bottom)

Baby Eggplant
Tender young specimens cook quickly and are great for pickling. Look for baby varieties like this little Purple Tiger at your local farmers' market.

Asian Eggplant
With a milder flavor than the globe, this one is thin and holds its shape when cooked.

Globe Eggplant
This dark purple variety is the one you'll see most often at the supermarket. When cooked, its white flesh turns soft and silky, with a pleasing earthy edge.

White Eggplant
Rosa Bianca, a popular heirloom variety, tends to be firmer, moister and sweeter than the globe. It's delicious steamed, broiled or baked.

Graffiti Eggplant
Love the name! This variety has ultra-velvety flesh and is ideal for roasting or grilling, then pureeing, for risottos and dips.


Seasonal Superfood: Eggplant Recipes

Now that you know more about eggplants' health benefits, it's time to start cooking! Here are recipes to help you experiment with eggplant!

Eggplant Parm Panini

Eggplant Parm Panini

An updated, hand-friendly version of the classic, Eggplant Parmesan.

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Mushroom Stuffed Asian Eggplant

Mushroom-Stuffed Asian Eggplant

Try this recipe as an appetizer or a crowd-pleasing party snack.

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Smoky Eggplant Risotto

Smoky Eggplant Risotto

Rachael loves risotto and this smoky dish is sure to satisfy.

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Want more?

More Eggplant Recipes

See what else is from the September 2012: Italian Issue