They are mouth-watering, inviting and versatile in the kitchen.
Their undisputed fame comes from delicious recipes in worldwide cuisine: fried, breaded, baked, parmigiana, grilled, sautéed, they go well with meat or fish main courses.
What’s more, they are beneficial for health. In other words, they provide fiber that is very useful for the intestines, they fight fluid stagnation with their diuretic and draining properties, and they give vitamins and mineral salts in abundance.
However, they aren’t always beneficial! In some cases, they can even be poisonous!
Pay close attention, then, to avoid unpleasantness!
The first question we must answer is, by itself, the key to understanding the reasons for the possible toxicity of eggplants.
Are they fruits or vegetables? Neither: these vegetables are berries and as such should be consumed in moderation and with some reservations. The Muslims who imported them during Spanish rule knew this well.
It was, in fact, the Arabs who spread them to Europe. The name comes from their language and sounds unpronounceable to us: باذنجان, (bādhinjān).
Legend has it that the prefix “apple,” then used to refer to exotic foods, was added to this difficult term in the medieval period. Over the years, in peasant culture, they were referred to as “unhealthy apples” because of some of the problems they could pose to those who consumed them under particular conditions.
And, as is often the case, our ancestors had hit the nail on the head!
Eggplant, in fact, contains solanine, in technical jargon this is glycoalkaloid self-produced by some plant species to protect themselves from pest attack.
This substance, however, is toxic to the egg and may cause nausea, stomach pain, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Eliminating it is easy; you have to strip the vegetable of its peel and cook it at high temperatures. In this way, it will evaporate without causing any problems.
So yes, eggplants, beloved by young and old, can be toxic.
Never consume raw eggplant, then!