Purple Sultan of Turkish Cuisine: Eggplant
A purple, warm-climate fruit eggplant is not resistant to low temperatures. Its motherland was India and it spread from India to Africa. It was brought to Europe by the Spanish in 16th century. Although it is perennial in tropics, it is a one-year vegetable in other climate zones. In Turkey it is consumed mainly fried, as imambayildi (fried eggplant stuffed with tomato and onion, with olive oil) or karniyarik (fried eggplant stuffed with minced meat). In addition, its salad can be made. Benefits of eggplant compared to other vegetables cannot be belittled. Humans are the only creatures that consume eggplant as food, because there is a slight amount of nicotine in human body.
After tomato, pepper and cucumber, eggplant is the mostly produced vegetable in the world.World eggplant production increased regularly since 1994 and reached 29.5 million tons in 2003 with an increase of 84 percent. Indeed, in important eggplant-producing countries in the world like China, India, Turkey, Egypt, Italy and Spain, eggplant production has increased between 118 percent and 21 percent in the last decade. When the data of last 10 years is analyzed, it is seen that China, India and Turkey share first three places of world production with 50.6, 30.1 and 3.8 percent respectively for a 84.5 percent in total, that China's production has increased especially in the last five years and that Turkey's ad India's productions haven't changed much. When shares of exports of these countries are examined, it is seen that China's is 5.5 percent; Turkey's is 1.5 percent, while India's exports seem negligible. On the other hand, 21.8 percent of world exports of eggplant are in Spain, 21.7 percent is in Mexico, 5.5 percent is in China, 3.4 percent is in Italy and 1.5 percent is in Turkey. According to recent data, approximately 2 percent of the vegetables are subject to trade (exportsimports), and the remaining is consumed since there is no fresh stock.
Production in Turkey
Various vegetable species can be grown in Turkey due to its climate and soil structure, and aubergine is only one of them. It can be produced both in field and greenhouse in conditions of Turkey but because of its maintenance requirements and rotation profile, it cannot be grown in every region. Icel, Antalya, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Aydin, Bursa, Adana and Samsun are the cities where an important amount of eggplant is produced in Turkey. In 1992-93, 750 thousand tons were produced per year and in 94-98 this amount changed between 750 and 850 thousand tons. After 98 it was beyond 900 thousand tons and in 2002 it reached 955 thousand tons per year. In 1991-2002, Turkey eggplant yield changed between 19621 kg and 29216 kg per hectare. Turkey's eggplant export is changing between 5,600 and 2,600 tons. Exports fell to 1000 tons in some years, like 1993, and reached 5500 tons some years, like 2002. On the other hand, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, and Belgium are among the countries to where Turkey exports eggplant.
Source of Phosphorus and Potassium
Eggplant is highly consumed in Mediterranean basin since it requires very high temperatures. Eggplant, grown also in greenhouse near Turkey's vegetable garden, Antalya and Anamur, has many types. Istanbul Kemer eggplant, for example, has a height of 20-25 cm, a thickness of 5-7 cm, a blackish purple and shiny shell, and is very productive. Izmir Halkapinar eggplant has a height of 20-25 cm, a thickness of 6-8 cm and a color of purple. End side is relatively plumber compared to stem side. Bostan aubergine, also called 'Topan in Izmir and 'Tophane' in Bursa, has an oval form dark purple color, not much seeds and a very good taste. It is ideal for eggplant salad.
Eggplant has a unique essence along with vitamin A, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. It strengthens pancreas, liver and kidneys and helps getting rid of excess body şuid since its lipid, protein and carbohydrate values are low. That's why experts suggest diabetics and people who want to lose weight to consume eggplant, of course minding the season and cooking tips. 100 g of grilled or pan/oven baked-without oil-eggplant has 30 calories.
Nutrition values of 100 g eggplant
1.1 g protein
5.5 g carbohydrate
2 g fat
1 g fiber
37 mg phosphorus
15 mg. calcium
1 mg iron
15 mg potassium
30 IU of vitamin A
0.05 mg vitamin B1
0.04 mg vitamin B2
0.05 mg of vitamin B3
0.081 mg of vitamin B6
5 mg of vitamin C