When one envisions an eggplant, the image that comes to mind is often that of a long, purple fruit. It’s worth noting that despite its culinary use in savory dishes, eggplant is indeed a fruit. However, the real curiosity lies in the fact that eggplants look nothing like eggs, which begs the question: how did they earn this intriguing name? The answer to this riddle is hidden in history, waiting to be unveiled.
Eggplants are versatile additions to a wide array of dishes. They can serve as a complementary element or take center stage in culinary creations. These remarkable fruits can be grilled to perfection, simmered in tomato sauce and cheese, or seamlessly incorporated into various casseroles. Their culinary potential knows no bounds.
Yet, despite their culinary ubiquity, the name “eggplant” remains an enigma. After all, the conventional eggplant bears no resemblance to an egg in terms of appearance or taste. However, thanks to a viral photo from Reddit, the etymology of this name suddenly makes sense.
This viral image showcases eggplants in their early stages, where they strikingly resemble their namesake, eggs. The visual connection between these young eggplants and their eponymous inspiration is undeniable.
Now that we’ve established the origin of the name, let’s delve into the intriguing differences between white and purple eggplants. White eggplants, also known as white aubergines, deviate from the familiar deep purple hue. Instead, they boast a creamy white exterior, proving that eggplants come in various shades.
While the image might lead us to believe that all white eggplants are small, it’s important to note that they can also grow to substantial lengths. Conversely, purple eggplants can occasionally exhibit a petite and round profile.
In terms of taste, raw eggplant tends to be somewhat bitter and tough. Its texture can be likened to that of a sponge, making it imperative to cook it before consumption. Cooked eggplant, on the other hand, is a culinary chameleon, readily absorbing the flavors of its accompanying ingredients. Grilling, roasting, sautéing, frying, and baking are all viable cooking methods, with eggplants especially enhancing dishes featuring light sauces or delicate flavors. However, overcooking can render them overly mushy, detracting from the enjoyment.
White eggplants offer a unique flavor profile described as “fruity and mild” when raw, transitioning to “warm” and “mellow” when cooked. Due to their thicker skin, it is advisable to peel white eggplants before preparing or consuming them. Purple eggplants, with their thinner skin, can be enjoyed with their skin intact.
While white eggplants may not be as readily available as their purple counterparts, they can often be found in specialty markets or sourced through online seed catalogs for home gardeners.
The intriguing history of eggplants dates back to 544, when they were first mentioned in a Chinese agricultural treatise. However, it was European farmers in the 1700s who bestowed the fruit with its distinctive name. At the time, eggplants bore a striking resemblance to small white or yellow eggs, evoking thoughts of goose or duck eggs. It was this resemblance that led European farmers to christen them “eggplants.”
Now that you’ve discovered the surprising origin of eggplants and seen their early resemblance to eggs, what are your thoughts on these unique vegetables? Feel free to share your insights in the comments!