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Eggplant And Peppers

Sometime between 900 and 1200 A.D., the eggplant became popular in North Africa and Arabia. Thereafter it spread around the Mediterranean to Spain, Italy, Greece, and other countries. Spain introduced eggplant to the Americas, but today it is eaten mostly as a specialty dish, like eggplant parmigiana, ratatouille, and caponata, an eggplant relish. It is one of the important vegetables in the Japanese diet, and in India it is used in curry dishes or is pickled.

Nutritionally, the eggplant is primarily water with some carbohydrate, protein, mineral, and vitamin content. The fruit of the eggplant is considered a berry. In the seventeenth century its size and shape was somewhat different from its appearance today. Now it is cultivated for a gourd-like shape and the size is on the average about four inches in diameter and eight inches long. The skin is a thin, smooth, dark purple color. The plant of the eggplant is shrub-like and about 2-3 ft (.6 to.9 m) high. It has large gray, rough leaves and violet flowers.

Bell, cayenne, chili, and other varieties of peppers are used in various ways. Chili peppers are popular in Mexico and in the southwest United States. They are used as a seasoning, as cayenne, and a number of other varieties are also used to spice up dishes. Tabasco sauce and paprika are seasonings that come from varieties of pepper plants. Bell peppers are used both as a culinary addition to a dish, much like onions are used, and as a vegetable. Peppers are a good source of vitamin C. Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi received the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his discoveries regarding vitamin C and credits paprika peppers for helping him in his research.

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