Eggplant is this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week from the Certified Farmers’ Markets. The Eggplant, which is also known as an Aubergine or Guinea Squash, is a member of the nightshade family of vegetables (which also includes tomatoes, potatoes, sweet peppers, and tobacco). It is native to India, and the Indian subcontinent, but has been known throughout Asia and the Mediterranean since ancient times. Although typically purple, the fruit of the Eggplant (which is actually a “berry”) can also be white, yellow, green, white and purple (variegated), and even orange. Some of the smaller white Eggplant varieties are likely the source of the “Eggplant” moniker, as their fruits really do look very much like chicken eggs!
Today, Eggplant is eaten throughout the world, although China, India and Egypt (in that order) remain the largest producers. Eggplant has a slightly bitter flavor and a somewhat spongy texture, and is typically cooked – roasted, baked, steamed or stir-fried. A versatile vegetable, in Indian cuisines, the Eggplant is also used in curries and for pickling.
DID YOU KNOW: You can reduce the naturally-occurring bitter taste of the Eggplant, and tenderize its outer skin, by “sweating” it. To do this, simply cut the Eggplant (with a stainless steel knife to avoid discoloration of the flesh), salt it, then let it rest for about thirty minutes. After that, simply rinse the eggplant and cook as usual.
Price: $ 2 per pound
Also in Season, and available now at all locations: Potatoes, Celery, Green Onions, FRESH and DRIED Herbs, Eggs, Dates, Almonds, Oranges, Grapefruit, Chard, Eggplant, Squash, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Shallots, Beets, Green Beans, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuces, Parsley, Mint, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Radishes, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cherimoyas, Dates . . . . PLUS, incredible artisan breads, fresh meats, cheese, fresh raw honey, California olives/olive oil/vinegars, and a wide variety of exotic Orchids and flowers.
The Certified Farmers Market is sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center. It operates in three locations, and on three different days of the week, as follows:
- On Saturdays in Palm Springs, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, adjacent to the Camelot Theatres in the Palm Springs Mall parking lot at 2300 E. Baristo Road at Farrell.
- On Saturdays in Coachella, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, adjacent to Coachella City Hall, 1515 6th Street
- On Sundays in Old Town La Quinta, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, at 78100 Main Street, just a few blocks west of La Quinta City Hall off Calle Tampico.
- On Wednesdays in Palm Desert, from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm, at the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, 72-599 Highway 111.