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The Chinese eggplant is the name given to 100 varieties of eggplants that are considered native or have been cultivated throughout Asia and China. Chinese is the world’s top producer and consumer of eggplants, it has fewer seeds than the global eggplants and it’s less bitter as well.
There are so many delicious recipes you can create with Chinese eggplants hence why they are quite popular. They are often thought of as vegetables but they are fruits such as berries. Chinese eggplants are sometimes referred to as oriental charm or Pingtung long. Chinese eggplants are cultivated in well-drained fertile soil.
Yes, Chinese eggplants are just like tomatoes, so the skin is edible, but the older eggplants might be bitter so it’s best to peel it off. Some people prefer to peel the skin but if you prefer to leave it on, know that it’s edible and also the skin contains antioxidants which can be beneficial to the body. Chinese eggplants with skin have more fiber than peeled ones.
Chinese eggplants are a unique variety and with the so many dishes you can create with them and the benefits to be derived from them, they are worth the space in our kitchen. The benefits of eggplants are not new to many of us however most people wonder if you should eat the skin or not, so read on to find out.
Benefits of Chinese Eggplant
Chinese eggplants are a very popular type of fruit. The larger eggplants are called globes while the Chinese eggplants are the long thin ones they are also lighter lavender than some of their counterparts and most importantly, they are not as bitter. Chinese eggplants do stand out in a lot of ways, below are some of their benefits.
- Chinese eggplants are great choices for weight loss regimes
- It is low in carbs and calories
- It is high in fiber and filling
- High in antioxidants
- May promote blood sugar control
- Rich in many nutrients
- The vitamin and mineral content in it is very extensive.
Can You Eat The Skin Of A Chinese Eggplant?
You can eat the skin of a Chinese eggplant, it is not only edible but also very healthy. The Chinese eggplant skin is an excellent source of anthocyanin pigments which tend to act as antioxidants in the body while protecting the body and cells from disease-distributing damage. Some people peel off the skin, but if you know how to prepare it right, then there is no reason to peel it off.
Also, to properly store Chinese eggplant, it is best not to peel off the skin simply put it in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. If you want to peel the skin of Chinese eggplant then you can go ahead but eating the skin is encouraged.
The skin is something we mostly treat as an inconvenience but just like tomatoes, it contributes the major benefits. If the eggplant is older and over-ripened it will be quite bitter so it is best to have that one peeled off.
The flesh of eggplant is like a sponge and it will immediately soak up water so while it’s completely edible, stick to picking and buying the young, fresher ones unless the recipe requires you to peel the skin.
Most of the fiber and nutrients in Chinese eggplant reside within the skin. Eating the skin and seed of your Chinese eggplant is okay, and the skin is also indicative of the vitamin content. Cooking Chinese eggplant with the skin on keeps most of the nutrient content intact.
Tips to Make Chinese Eggplant More Edible
You do not have to peel the skin of your Chinese eggplant or any variety of eggplant to enjoy it. If you have decided to leave the skin of your eggplant alone, you have to ensure that you are picking a variety that tastes less bitter. You have to ensure that you are getting fresh Chinese eggplant that is harvested at the right time, this is less bitter.
Sources claim that the young smaller eggplants with thin skins are lots easier to eat with the skin intact while the older ones should be peeled before eating. Here is how to cook Chinese eggplant, so the skin is more edible.
- Soak the eggplant in water for 15 minutes before cooking, this tends to remove some of the bitterness
- Cook it in enough oil but do not drown it in oil either, there should be enough oil on the outside to cook it properly
- If it’s an extra large eggplant and it is tougher, peel the skin. But if it’s young eggplant with thin tender skins, there is no need to peel.
- Use ingredients to enhance the flavor, do not dump them on your Chinese eggplant at once.
Can Chinese Eggplant be Eaten Raw?
Yes, you can eat Chinese eggplant raw but the leaves and flowers should not be eaten as they are toxic. The eggplant itself is edible with the skin and seeds, you can consume them raw or cooked depending on your preference.
Although it contains a compound called solanine which some people are sensitive to, this can only become toxic if a large amount of it is consumed.
Chinese eggplant that is best for consumption should have glassy taut skin and should be firm to the touch. You should not eat it if the skin is too dull, or ripe or if it’s already brown when you cut it.
You might have a hard time enjoying large Chinese eggplants with the skin on so it’s entirely okay to peel that off as it does turn out bitter anyway. However, do note that this does not mean the skin is not edible, this variety of eggplant is distinct, it has a lighter pastel exterior with a white flesh that tastes sweeter than its appearance.
Keeping your Chinese eggplant fresh makes it easier to enjoy the skin and reap all its health benefits. In conclusion, if you choose to eat the skin of an eggplant, pick one that is smaller and younger.