The brinjal is a most delicious asset in the garden and with its heavy bearing abundance it becomes a summertime gourmet treat for a variety of delicious dishes. Margaret Roberts shares with us some benefits of brinjal in your garden, and in your diet…
Did you know, in the exceptional variety of seeds offered in hardware stores, nurseries, garden shops and even in supermarkets, there are several varieties of brinjals…
- some small and curved,
- some huge and bulbous,
- some straight and elongated,
- some egg-shaped and white in colour,
- and some stripy
But with all sorts of shapes and sizes it’s difficult to choose. As a bonus, each plant grows so neatly it makes a fabulous companion plant in the flower border, as well as an attractive pot plant with flat leaf parsley, so loved in Italian cooking.
Brinjals are so good for us too
The skin of the brinjal contains anthrocyanin (water-soluble vacuolar pigments) called nasunin, an extraordinary antioxidant and free radical scavenger which protects cell membranes and cleans the blood by removing toxins. Excess iron is also removed from the body and arteries that may be damaged from cholesterol are better protected– so don’t peel off and discard the precious skin.
Uses for brinjal
Make brinjal one of your biggest warm weather plantings. This vegetable is a true health food – baked, steamed or grilled. We don’t know of a more versatile vegetable to cook with.
Rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, iron, niacin and lots of Vitamin C.
- Steam it: Steam slices of brinjal, skin and all, and season with chopped parsley, basil and celery. Add a grinding of Himalayan salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Brinjal is easily digested and will help to lessen arthritic pain in stiff joints.
- Grill it: My favourite way of eating brinjal is thinly sliced and placed in a lightly oiled baking dish. Sprinkle generous helping of a strong cheddar cheese (grated) and bake until soft and the cheese melted. A dusting of paprika and a squeeze of lemon juice makes this a gourmet snack no one can resist.
- Stir fry it: An Italian chef showed us how to stir fry chopped brinjal with onion slices in a heavy bottomed pot and a little olive oil. Add fresh coriander leaves (chopped), Himalayan salt and black pepper. He placed a teaspoon of the mixture on a slice of cucumber and served it with drinks before dinner. It is delicious.
- Roast it: Change up your Sunday lunch menu and roast slices or chunks of brinjal with onions and potatoes as a vegetable side for a golden roast chicken.
Quick tip: Wash a small brinjal well, slice and sprinkle with salt. Place the salted slices in a glass dish and allow to stand covered for 30 minutes, then rinse. This method draws out any bitterness, and is especially great for mature brinjals. You can then add the chopped slices to stews, stir fries, soups or any other preferred dish you have in mind.
Did you know?
- Brinjal is eaten daily in China as an energy builder replacing meat.
- In Italy it is part of a much loved dish that is served with pasta made of tomatoes, finely chopped with onion and chopped brinjal.
For more info
Note: Margaret Roberts has a fine selection of plants and seeds available from her nursery. Her shop stocks a wide variety of their health products that can be posted to you. Should you at any stage be stuck for fresh botanicals or natural cosmetic bases such as aqueous cream, these can be couriered or posted to you.
Words: Margaret Roberts
Photographs and Styling: Sandy Roberts