It may not be the most popular fruit of the bunch, but the eggplant thrives in the summertime and is great for grilling. China is the world’s top producer of the vegetable, and in the U.S. it’s considered a specialty crop. Learn more about the eggplant:
• The eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, which also includes foods such as tomatoes, potatoes and chili peppers. The eggplant is actually considered a fruit.
• Eggplants are related to tobacco, and actually contain a small amount of nicotine, though to a lesser extent than tobacco.
• An eggplant is almost 95 percent water.
• In 2010, an estimated 159.8 million pounds of eggplants were grown in the U.S.
• About 98 percent of eggplants grown in the country are produced for fresh market, with the remainder used for processed products like frozen entrees and specialty dips.
• The eggplant received its name back when white, egg-shaped varieties of the fruit were more common.
• Eggplants contain numerous vitamins such as B1, B6, folate, copper, manganese, potassium and fiber.