Botanical name: Solanum melongena Family: Solanaceae (potato family)
Brinjal is a species of Solanum, native to southern India and Sri Lanka. It is an annual plant growing 16 in - 57 in tall, often spiny, with large, coarsely lobed leaves 10-20 cm long and 5-10 cm broad. The leaves are sometimes spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is a fleshy berry, 3 cm diameter on wild plants (much larger in cultivated forms), containing numerous small, soft seeds. Brinjal is an important food crop grown for its large pendulous purple or white fruit. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia countries since prehistory, but appears to have become known to the Western world no more than about 1,500 years ago. The raw fruit has a somewhat disagreeable taste, but when cooked, becomes tender and develops a rich, complex flavour and firm texture. Salting and then rinsing the sliced eggplant can also remove much of its bitterness. It is especially useful culinarily owing to its ability to absorb great amounts of cooking fats, making possible extraordinarily rich dishes. The fruit flesh is smooth; the numerous seeds are soft and (as in the related Tomato) edible along with the rest of the fruit.
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