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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Walk through the farmers market and you will likely see vibrant, deep purple, pristine
white and small round green eggplant on vendor’s tables. You will soon realize that
not every eggplant is the same as you might have perceived: large, oblong, and deep
purple. There are countless varieties out there, all unique in their own flavor. But
how do you choose the best one?
Look for a smooth and shiny surface that is consistent throughout. If it has a dull
skin color, it’s a sign of poor storage or down right bad quality. Wrinkles are a
sign that the eggplant is old and was harvested a long time ago, so pass over wrinkly
skin in favor of taut, tight eggplants. Also, avoid brown blemishes or soft spots.
You want a little firmness to your eggplant. It should be slightly firm but not hard.
If you push on it with your finger and the veggie feels very soft, or you're able
to puncture the skin, it's too far gone. A perfectly ripe eggplant will not have as
much give when touched as a ripe tomato or peach. A good eggplant should feel heavy
for its size.
Look for bright green stems, free and clear of any mold or mushiness; while the skin
of the plant may look pert and perky, signs of damage may be lurking around that stem.
So check there first.
Some say that eggplant is bitter so they may steer away from it. That isn’t necessarily
the truth, if it is picked correctly. Large eggplants can be more bitter and have
more seeds, as the vegetable was given more time to mature. So instead of going for
the biggest; choose small to medium-sized and well-formed eggplants.
Eggplants are easily damaged and should be handled with care. They can be stored in
the refrigerator for a few days with great success Store as soon as possible in the
vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, since high humidity is preferred for eggplant
storage. If you are not going to store it in the vegetable compartment, it needs to
be wrapped loosely in plastic wrap and used within one week of purchase.
As with most fruits and vegetables, wash eggplant just before using. To remove dirt,
wash vegetables thoroughly in cold water. Do not use soap, bleach or detergent, as
they can be absorbed by the eggplant. Drain and rinse several times with cold water.
Eggplant is a good source of fiber and folate and contains potassium. It is low in
calories, with only 30 to 35 for a one cup serving. Fiber helps control cholesterol
and keeps you regular. Potassium helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, and folate
may reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating foods with folate before pregnancy helps
reduce your risk of neural tube defects.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaDue, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the
web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
Seems that when you hear the word eggplant you think of eggplant parmesan. So here
is an easy recipe that takes less than an hour to cook and allows you use that fresh
eggplant you bought from the farmers market.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com