This week’s box includes one of my favorite veggies- the eggplant. Eggplants are delicious in Italian cuisine and lovely to look at. Their deep purple coloration and smooth round shape make them one of the most aesthetically pleasing veggies we offer at Pacific Coast Harvest.
Eggplants are a species of nightshade that was originally domesticated in east India and Bangladesh. Their name comes from the fact that early European cultivars resembled the eggs of geese or hens. The fruit is very popular in Italian cuisine, making up the bulk of the recipe for “melanzane alla Parmigiana” or Eggplant Parmesan. It is also used as a meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian meals (in similar ways to mushrooms), due to its ability to soak up flavors and its rich, meaty texture. For our vegan friends, check out these 15 creative vegan recipes for eggplant.
The family of nightshades also includes potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. Unfortunately, while these plants are delicious and common in recipes, they can also cause moderate to severe allergic reactions in some people. Cooking usually destroys most of the problematic proteins, but at least one of these proteins can survive the heat. The symptoms of nightshade allergy can include itchy mouth and face, upset stomach and bowels, flatulence, and diarrhea. Nightshade allergy can sometimes be an undiagnosed cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you are allergic to nightshades, check out these nightshade-free recipes!
Have a wonderful final week of August, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy this week’s harvest!