Eggplant, with its shiny purple skin and globe shape, might just be the most mysterious of vegetables. It’s related to several common garden crops, and it’s easy to grow; yet, it’s much less commonly grown and eaten than other crops.


Fun Facts

  • Eggplants originated in India, where it is known as “The King of Vegetables.” In many parts of the world, it is called aubergine from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit.
  • The name eggplant came from a small, white, oval variety popular among the English during the Victorian period.
  • Eggplants are related to tomatoes and potatoes. They belong to the deadly nightshade family and they’re considered fruit, not vegetables.
  • Ancient people thought eggplants were poisonous and might cause pimples, epilepsy, or even death.
  • Eggplant contains a lot of water. Sprinkle it with salt and let it set for 20 minutes to release the water. Blot the eggplant with a paper towel.
  • Eggplant can be fried, sautéed, grilled, or baked. It has a mild flavor and a meaty texture. It’s best used with flavorful sauces and seasonings.



  1. Pimples: skin blemishes
  2. Epilepsy: a disorder that causes seizures


Questions and Answers

Question: Why did people think eggplant was poisonous?

Answer: People probably thought eggplant was poisonous because it belongs to the deadly nightshade family, which does include some poisonous plants. Italian folklore says that eggplants cause insanity. Some people do experience allergic reactions, such as an itchy tongue, headaches, or upset stomach after eating eggplant.


Learn More

Watch a California gardener growing eggplant.

Try some eggplant recipes.