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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Eggplant

We’ve been growing eggplant in the garden for many years. There are so many varieties and delicious way to prepare them. One of my favorite eggplants to grow right now is the ‘Shikou’ eggplant that’s part of the Home Grown Seed Collection.

Here are some fun facts about eggplants that you may not know.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Eggplant

  1. Like tomatoes, eggplant is a fruit, not a vegetable.
  2. The eggplant and its name have traveled a long way, literally. Across the pond, you may hear eggplants referred to as “aubergines.” The word originates from Sanskrit vatinganah, which later became badingan thanks to the Persians. The Persians conquered Arabia, and the Arabs invaded Spain, where the plant became known as beregena. In Northern Spain, that became alberginia, which the French transformed into aubergine, which the British adopted.
  3. Eggplant seeds contain nicotine. Yes, the same nicotine found in cigarettes! But, there’s no need to be alarmed. You would have to eat 20 pounds of eggplant to consume the amount of nicotine found in one cigarette.
  4. Eggplant belongs to the nightshade family. When they were first introduced to Europe from the Americas, these plants were often viewed with suspicion. Italians still refer to eggplants as melanzana, meaning “apple of insanity.”
  5. In Japan, the eggplant is very auspicious. Hatsuyume, the first dream of the new year, holds a lot of importance in Japanese culture. They believe the happiest omen for the year is if you dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and eggplant. This may seem odd, but the Japanese love their homophones. The word for eggplant is similar to the word for “to accomplish” or “to fulfill.”