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Eggplant originated in Southeast Asia. This is where the first varieties were first domesticated hundreds of years ago. Eggplant then spread to China, the Middle East, Egypt, Persia and Turkey. Then, at around the 4th to 7th century the Moors introduced it to Spain. Here and in Italy eggplant became very popular, not so in Northern Europe where it was regarded with suspicion and only used as an ornamental plant.

Thomas Jefferson, an avid horticulturist,among other things, introduced eggplant to the U.S. It seems too, that some cities with growing Italian and Chinese populations offered immigrants small empty plots in which to grow their favorite vegetables from back home.

Eggplant is essential in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine: pan fried, stewed, stuffed with rice and pine nuts or curried lamb, in ratatouille, moussaka or baked with tomato and onions. Eggplant is naturally slightly bitter. Sprinkle slices with salt and cover with a weighed down plate if you want it less so. Remember, eggplant absorbs oil like a sponge and you must use a stainless steel knife to cut it .

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