An eggplant is a vegetable that belongs to the nightshade family. Other members of this family are potatoes, tomatoes, and red and green peppers. Eggplants and the other Nightshade family vegetables produce natural neurotoxins called Glycoalkaloids. Plants produce Glycoalkaloids as a defense against attacking animals, insects and fungi. Though an individual would have to eat 4.5 pounds of eggplant in a single sitting to suffer any adverse effects from the Glycoalkaloids, it is a useful exercise to remove the Glycoalkaloid from the eggplant before cooking and eating it. In this article we will explore the method on how to do this feat.
The first step to undertake is to thoroughly wash and pat dry your eggplant, so it is hygienically ready to be used. Rinse it with clean cold water for around 30-40 seconds, making sure that the whole eggplant is exposed to the running water. Once it has been thoroughly washed grab a clean and dry tea towel/ wash cloth and pat dry it so that their is no residue moisture remaining.
The second step in removing Glycoalkaloids is to collect all the equipment you will be requiring and place it within easy reach/access ti yourself. The equipment that will come in handy during this process are a sharp, clean knife, a colander, course salt, a cutting board and a plate.
Place the clean eggplant on the cutting board. While holding it firmly with one hand, remove one side of the eggplant. Dispose of this cut piece and roll the eggplant onto the cut surface. This will ensure that the eggplant will stay still while your performing the rest of the required slicing. Cut the eggplant into the desired size and shape that you require for your recipe/use. This can be in large chunky slices, thin slices or in diced pieces. However it is important to note that the smaller the eggplant pieces the more successful the removal of the Glycoalkaloids.
Collect your colander and place it on the bench next to your eggplant parts. If you have cut your eggplant into slices then what you will perform next is this, put one slice of eggplant into the colander and sprinkle it profusely with coarse salt. After this put another slice of eggplant in the colander and again sprinkle with salt, continue adding slices and salt until all the slices are in the colander. If you have opted to dice your eggplant in order to remove the Glycoalkaloids then what you can do is to put a handful of eggplant into the colander, sprinkle with coarse salt, add anther handful, sprinkle with salt. Continue this until all the diced eggplant is in the colander.
Now place the colander into the sink, and run clean water over them. The duration of this step to remove the Glycoalkaloids will vary in time according to the size of your eggplant slices/pieces. But on average try to drain them for at least 20-30 minutes. Once they have been adequately drained remove the eggplant from the colander, and place them on a clean paper towel. This will remove any unwanted moisture from the vegetable. Once they are dry you can use them in any way that you wish, and be assured that there Glycoalkaloids levels will be sufficiently lower than before.
Glycoalkaloids are bitter tasting, and produce a burning irritation in the back of the mouth and side of the tongue when eaten. So if your eggplant tastes like this it means that it could still have high levels of Glycoalkaloids present.
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