Brinjal – A Low Calorie Vegetable
Brinjal – which is commonly known as Eggplant is one of the most easily available and affordable vegetables. It can be cooked in many different ways and provides various essential nutrients that are needed for overall well-being of the body.
It is also known as Aubergines. This vegetable has a lot to offer nutritionally and should be included in everyone’s diet for its benefits.
BOTANICAL NAME – Solamum melongena
FAMILY NAME – Solanaceae
This plant is erect and herbaceous plant with branched stems. It can grow to a height of 28 inches or more. The alternate, petiolate leaves are ovate-elliptic with an acute apex. The flowers, which are carried on pedicles and arise from the leaf axils, have a many lobed calyx and a many lobed tubular, violate corolla. The fruit is large, ellipsoid or globose shaped berry containing firm, fleshy material and a great many brown seeds. In unripe form, it is large greenish-whitish vegetable and when ripe, it turns a deep violet.
Originally from India, this plant was introduced into Europe many years ago and now it is cultivated there. It is seldom found growing wild. It is gathered from summer to autumn.
This is the popular vegetable of the masses. The most common variety, the glossy purple – is a familiar component of Indian curries. This inexpensive vegetable was known as Malayan purple melon in China. There it was a common food item since 600 BC. May be the shape of first varieties that English speakers came across prompted them to call it as eggplant.
PARTS USED –
There are different varieties available but varies in color and shape. The most commonly seen are with dark purple skin. The other popular variety is in light green color. The shape varies from oval, pear, and round to finger shape. They are slightly longer and are tastier when young and firm. Some varieties are bitter so they need salting before cooking to draw out the bitter juices and reduce the moisture. This makes the flesh denser so that less fat is absorbed during cooking.
To prevent discoloration of the flesh while preparing eggplant, make slice or cube with stainless steel knife and sprinkle with salt if not cooked immediately. Eggplant is considered to be having medicinal properties even though none of these properties have any scientific base. In few countries in Africa the eggplant is used as medicine to treat epilepsy and convulsions. In South East Asia it is still used to treat stomach cancer and measles.
• Cholesterol regulator
FORMS OF USE –
Decoction, tincture, ointment
NUTRITIONAL VALUE –
Even though Brinjal is a low calorie vegetable but its caloric value rises steeply when it is fried. Brinjal provides small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, fiber, folic acid, sodium and vitamin C. It has good amounts of potassium. Due to its low calorie content and high potassium content, it is suitable for diabetes, hypertensive and obese patients.
Eggplant analysis provides following composition per 100 gm edible part:
• Moisture – 87%
• Protein – 1.4%
• Fat – 0.3%
• Fiber – 1.3%
• Carbohydrates – 4.0%
• Calcium – 18 mg
• Phosphorus – 47 mg
• Iron – 1 mg
• Potassium – 200 mg
• Carotene – 74 mg
• Thiamine (Vitamin B1) – 0.03 mg
• Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) – 0.03 mg
• Niacin– 0.9 mg
• Vitamin C – 12 mg
• Caloric value – 24
Brinjal or eggplant is used in many types of cooking methods, like sauteing, grilling, baking, frying, and even barbecuing. It can be prepared by itself or in combination with other vegetables.
Let's see what are the health benefits of eggplant in the next article.
Next Article - Benefits of Brinjal
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