The eggplant is a member to the nightshade family; its cousins are the tomato, green pepper and potatoes. Eggplants grew wild in India and reached Europe around the eighteenth century. Because eggplants are nightshades people believed the purple bulbous kind resembled the mandrake and must therefore be poison. They became known as mad apples and it was commonly believed to eat them would cause one to go insane.
The myths and legends surrounding eggplant are those of fear and superstition. Some scholars have identified eggplant as being the fruit described in the bible as the Dead Sea fruit. In this myth, fallen angels wandered by the Dead Sea in hunger and found purple fruits that looked delicious, but upon eating they discovered that the pulp had turned to ashes. The Jewish historian Josephus called the eggplant the “apple of Sodom”, and people believed the food unfit to eat. The fact that the eggplant grew along the Dead Sea was believed to be evidence of the existence of the mythical evil city of Sodom God destroyed.
In the Middle East Hindu’s also banned the eggplant, along with potatoes, onions, and garlic. They likened the plants to flesh foods. In fact, they believed that eggplants turned into meat: they had a reddish color, like blood; and a shape resembling a human head.
One Hindu sect has been known to ban eggplant not because the vegetable resembles the human head but the scrotum of a water buffalo. That’s not a very appetizing visual. Fortunately, this image changed and eggplant did eventually win its place not only at the table but in the medicine chest.
The eggplant contains phytochemicals which are non essential compounds proven to greatly enhance human health. These phytonutrients, which include phenolic compounds and flavonoids, act as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals within the body and protecting cells from damage.
It is the pigment in foods that protect against cancers, heart dis-ease and age related muscular degeneration. The calyx part of the plant attached to the stem made into a tea is an old folk remedy for stomach cramps, calms smokers cough and mellows the effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Powdered eggplant mixed with powdered cures pyorrhea and other painful disorders of the gums, rub this on the gums and leave it on until the pain subsides. This also stops tooth aches.
The eggplant has a significant amount of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, although it is not an excellent source of any of them. Still, with less than thirty calories for every cup, and because of the respectable fiber content of eggplant, this nightshade vegetable is an ideal food for those who enjoy eating healthy, interesting, low-fat foods. The nutrition in eggplant includes potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and several b-complex vitamins. Magnesium has been proven to stop restless leg syndrome and helps cure insomnia.
Eggplant is bitter and can not be eaten raw; this weeks recipe is eggplant lasagna with home made noodles. Rick loved this.
Home Made Noodles
- Egg Yolks And 1 Whole Egg, Whip This Until It Is Very Fluffy
- Then Add 3 Tbsp. Cold Water And 1 Tsp. Salt
- Mix In 2 Cups Of “Sifted” Flour, Any Kind
- Roll Out To Desired Thickness On Floured Surface, Roll Up
- Then Slice To About 2 Inches Wide And Hang To Dry
- Preheat the oven to 350*
- Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish
- 1 medium eggplant sliced and sautéed all vegetables until tender in ¼ cup of olive oil
- 1 large diced onion 1 package frozen spinach thawed and rained
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes, not drained
- ½ lb. mushrooms
- ¼ head cabbage chopped
- 2 carrots including green tops chopped
- 4 large crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. each oregano, rosemary, thyme, and basil
- 1 16 oz. container of cottage cheese
- 1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese
Layer all ingredients starting with noodles then vegetables then cheese, bake for 40 minutes.