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Synonym: eggplant; botanical name: Solanum melongena



The aubergine belongs to the nightshade family and comes not – as many other members of this family do – from South America but from tropical India. It was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by the Arabs. Today it is cultivated in almost all tropical, subtropical and temperate climates.

In Germany the aubergine is usually grown in greenhouses or under plastic sheets. Are you wondering about where the name 'eggplant' comes from? It stems from the original form of the aubergine, which was the shape and the size of an egg and either yellow or white.


Aubergines can be bought throughout the year. From May to September they are in particularly large supply. Aubergines planted outdoors are very rare in Germany. They come from regions with especially favourable climates and are available from late summer till autumn.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Today there are aubergines in various shapes and colours. One finds round, oval, oblong, claviform or slightly curved fruits. The skin is usually violet to black, but there are also white, yellow or cream-coloured varieties. The surface is shiny. At the stem end there is a prickly, wreathlike leaf. There are numerous small edible seeds in the middle of the cream-coloured, slightly spongy pulp. The flavour is characterized as neutral to slightly bitter.


Aubergines contain flavonoids, more precisely anthocyanins, which are secondary plant substances and give the aubergine its violet colour. 100 g contain:

Aubergine, fresh
Aubergine, cooked
Energy (kcal)
Water (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
< 1
Carbohydrates (g)
Fibre (g)
Vitamin C (mg)
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
Folsäure (µg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Calcium (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Iron (mg)

Harmful substances

Aubergines show a mean nitrate content of 500–1000 mg/kg. Ripe aubergines are preferable, as young and unripe fruits in particular contain solanine.

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

An aubergine is ripe when it gives way slightly to pressure. A sign of freshness is the crisp, green stem. Aubergines should be handled carefully. They are sensitive to pressure, contact with water and the sun's rays and should therefore be stored in a cool, dark place.
Temperatures below 5°C are not recommended, however, as aubergines can be damaged by the cold. In addition, they should not be stored next to fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene, such as apples or peppers. This will cause them to spoil quickly. Aubergines that are too young and unripe should ripen for several days before they are eaten.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Aubergines can be eaten cooked, steamed, grilled, roasted, puréed or filled. They are an essential ingredient of ratatouille, a French stew. With the arrival of international cuisine the Germans have also become familiar with moussaka, a Greek aubergine casserole.

If you wish to fry or deep-fry aubergines it is a good idea to first cut them into slices and salt them. This will remove water and bitter constituents from the aubergine. If they are then patted dry they will not absorb so much fat during further processing.

Normal-size aubergines do not need to be peeled. Unpeeled aubergines retain not only their shape, but also the vitamins and minerals that lie directly under the skin. With larger fruits it is better to remove the skin, as it can be tough and taste bitter, and thus reduces the enjoyment. Since the aubergine has very little flavour of its own, one should be generous with the seasoning.

Seasoning tip

Aubergine tastes good with rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon, onion, black pepper, tarragon, basil and oregano.





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