Seeing a purple dish on your plate and wondering what it is as it contains seeds but can’t be eaten raw then what it is. We are talking about eggplant today and whether it is a fruit or a vegetable or a berry.
Eggplant is a fruit, which comes under a berry as it grows from a ripened ovary of the flower and contains edible seeds in it. Eggplant is also known as aubergines and belongs to the nightshade family. It is also considered a vegetable from the culinary perspective as it is used for cooking as it is a very good absorbent of flavor and oil.
Now you know in which category the eggplant stands, that it is a fruit, but why is it and what are the characteristics of eggplant and how can you grow it in your garden. Let’s discuss this in detail.
What is a fruit?
Fruit is a product of ripened ovary of a flower. It is fleshy or dry, containing a seed or a lot of seeds. Fruits usually have a sweet or sour taste and a pulp-like characteristic.
Scientifically or botanically, a fruit is developed from a ripened mature ovary. The fruit bears a seed or seeds from the fertilization process but sometimes it can be done without fertilization, just like a banana which develops seeds with the help of a process called parthenocarpy.
The main purpose of a fruit is to protect the seed inside it from animals and other things but is usually used as a resource for humans to eat.
Fruits provide all kinds of vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants and can be used in all kinds of processed diets like juices, jams, etc.
What is a vegetable?
A vegetable is a part of a plant that can be used as food for humans as well as animals. A vegetable is part of a plant that is grown without the help of a flower or an ovary and can grow from roots, stems, or leaves. Some examples of vegetables are carrot, broccoli, onions, etc.
Vegetables can be eaten as cooked or raw and can be mixed or eaten individually. Vegetables are a very important part of the human diet. It’s low in fat and carbohydrates, high in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Difference between fruit and vegetable
The main difference between a fruit and a vegetable is that fruit comes from a flower and a ripened ovary containing seed and sweet. On the other hand, vegetables can be any other part of the plant which is not growing from a flower and has a seed. Vegetables can be anything from a root to a stem to leaves of a plant whereas fruits can only be a product of a flower from the plant.
What is eggplant?
Eggplant is also known as brinjal in some parts of the world is a purple berry and it is a fruit just like a tomato that can be eaten as a whole with the seeds but usually eaten cooked and not raw like a tomato. It is typically used as a vegetable in cooking but botanically it is a berry.
Eggplant is a perennial plant and grows in temperate climates. It is a very delicate plant with spiny stems and flowers ranging from white to purple with yellow stamens.
It is a member of the Solanum family and is related to tomato, chili, and potato. Eggplant is a very low content fruit and contains very low nutrients and macronutrients but the skin makes it a very good option for cooking as it can absorb flavors and oil very well and makes it very good for culinary uses.
The eggplant was originally taken from the wild nightshade family and was first domesticated in south Asia and east Asia. Currently, India and China account for 87% of the world’s cultivation of eggplant.
Why is it called eggplant?
The reason behind why eggplant is called ‘eggplant’ is because, in the 1700s, early versions of eggplant which came from Europe were smaller, and yellow or white looked like goose or chicken eggs, which led it to be called “eggplant”.
Eggplant scientific name
Solanum melongena is a scientific name for eggplant, but it is mostly known as eggplant in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. It is known as anglophone in Canada and aubergine in Uk and Ireland and brinjal in South Asia, Singapore, Malaysia. It is a plant from the Solanaceae family.
Is eggplant a fruit?
Yes, Eggplant is a fruit because it grows from the purple or white flower and contains seeds in it and flesh and pulpy texture which are all the specifications of a fruit. Botanically it is a fruit but it is used as a vegetable in culinary practices because of its thick skin which can absorb flavors well. In fruits also, eggplant is considered a berry because of the small edible seeds.
Is eggplant a vegetable
No, eggplant is not a vegetable as it is grown from the flower of the plant from the ripened ovary and contains edible seeds which are the specification of fruit and on the other hand, vegetable grows from all the other parts of the plant except the flower-like root, stem, leaves, etc.
Is eggplant a berry
Yes, eggplant is considered to be a berry because it fills all the descriptions of being a berry. The berry is a fruit that grows from a flower with one ovary. The berry also needs to be fleshy and contain a pit in the middle. These are all fit in eggplant which means it is a berry.
is eggplant a squash
No, eggplant is not a squash. It is a vegetable. But in some places, eggplant is considered to be a guinea squash. This is because of its association with West Africa.
Eggplant as culinary perspective
Eggplant is seen and used as a vegetable from a culinary perspective because of its savory taste and thick skin which can absorb oil and flavors very well. Also because of its skin and pulpy texture, it can be cooked or grilled with other vegetables as well as make a curry from it.
How to grow eggplant in home
So you can have eggplants in your garden if you want, and they are very easy to grow as well. Let’s look at the detailed process:
- First, you can give the seeds a head start before the season begins by starting them indoors, seven to eight weeks before the average last frost.
- First, soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of water to start the germination process of the seed.
- Sow the seed half to ¼ inch deep into the soil by making a little hole in the soil and then covering the seeds up by the soil.
- Make sure to place it somewhere warm where the soil temperature can be around 80 to 90 degrees for a couple of weeks as the seeds will start to sprout.
- Transfer the seeds to bigger pots as required and when the outdoor air and soil temperature is above 70 degrees, transfer the plants outdoors
- Transplant the plant in raised beds which heats up quickly in spring and give them room to grow healthier and thicker. Keep a space of 2 to 3 feet in all the sides and water well for the first time so that the roots can establish them quickly in the soil.
- Mulch after the transplantation process to make sure all the surroundings are completely free of invading weeds.
- Remove or hand-pull any weeds y9u see around the raised bed as weeds can slow the growth of the eggplant or even make it die. Try to check now and then to see if there is any weed around the plant and remove it by pulling. You can also put grass clippings or straws to stop any weeds from growing as they are a very good barrier to sunlight.
Harvesting the eggplant is also very easy. You just need to know basic things to pick it.
- The timing for picking eggplant is when you see the skin is shiny. The other way you can check is by pressing the skin of the plant and see if it bounces back or stays as it is. If it doesn’t then the fruit is ready to harvest.
- Try to avoid picking the fruit late as the taste may become bitter.
- To harvest eggplant, clip the fruit from the plant with a sharp pruner, keep the cap and 1 inch of stems to support the cap.
- The plant can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks if refrigerated.
Benefits of eggplant
- Eggplant contains folate which is very good for pregnancy as it helps the development of the brain of the child with the essential nutrient folic acid.
- Eggplant is also a good source of iron and copper which helps us in reducing anemia, weakness and fatigue as it provides a good amount of energy to the body.
- Eggplant also helps in reducing heart disease as it contains essential antioxidants which boost the heart and support it.
- Eggplants also help in reducing and controlling blood sugar in the body as it contains a lot of fiber which helps slow down the digestion which in turn reduces the production of sugar in the body.
- Eggplant is also very low in calories and very high in fiber which can be a very good diet to reduce weight and be healthy.
- Eggplant also helps in protecting the body in cancer treatment and gives support according to a study.
Hope you found out what you were looking for!