Originally an Oriental ornamental plant, eggplant got its name from yellow and white fruited varieties with egg-sized fruits.
In India and Medieval Europe, eggplant was credited with remarkable properties as a love potion. By the 16th Century, northern Europeans were calling eggplants, "mad apples" in the belief that consumption would cause insanity.
Eggplant were brought to America by Spaniards as "berengenas," meaning apples of love.
Ladies in the high society of China once made black dye from dark eggplant skins and used it to stain their teeth to a black lustre, a fashionable cosmetic use.
Try this beautiful purple vegetable marinated and grilled on spring greens with your favorite vinaigrette, or with basil, provolone, and roasted red peppers on crispy Italian bread. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots.