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Living Well In Yalobusha County

Eggplants Contain Impressive Array Of Vitamins And Minerals

By Pamela Redwine

Crochet Classes are offered at the Extension office twice a month from 10 a.m. until noon.  The next class will be held Thursday, June 26. Classes are taught by volunteer Karol Jarman. The classes are free, however you will need to bring a yarn of your choice and a crochet hook.  
This is a great opportunity for beginners to learn how to crochet as well as good time for more experienced people to get ideas for new projects, or finish existing projects. We hope you will join us.
The Healthy You exercise group continues to meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Extension Office. Join us for up to 45 minutes of low impact physical activity. If you come, make sure you wear comfortable, cool clothes, good walking shoes and bring some water to drink.
The Extension Service will be closed Friday, July Fourth in observance of Independence Day.  We will reopen Monday, July 7 at 8 a.m.
This year my husband and I decided to try growing eggplant in our garden.  Now that it is harvest time, I am trying to find enough different recipes to use the eggplant. Is eggplant a regular in your weekly menus?  Eggplant is one of those plant-based food that many Americans are unfamiliar with. In fact, they weren’t often eaten until more recently in North America.  
They were actually first grown as an ornamental plant.  They are very attractive, with their glossy purple skin and interesting varieties.
Some cultures such as the Asian culture use eggplant as a traditional medicine. Others such as Italian have found it to be a must in such dishes as eggplant parmesan. It is usually found in casseroles with other vegetables, cheese, meat and herbs.
Eggplant don’t have an overwhelming supply of any one nutrient, however, they do contain an impressive array of many vitamins and minerals such as fiber, folate, potassium and manganese, as well as vitamins C, K and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and pantothenic acid.
Recently, scientist have found eggplants to contain powerful antioxidant phenols, including the anthocyanin phytonuitrient nasu-nin, which is important for neutralizing daming free radicals in  your body.
When choosing an eggplant, it should be firm and not too large. The length of a cucumber and the general circumference of a large pear should be about right.  Smaller eggplants are less likely to be bitter (a bit of salt can help with this) and have fewer seeds, although these are edible.
Eggplant is a tad bland in its raw form. It’s usually served baked rather than raw or boiling. Grilled is a more healthful way to prepare this vegetable to retain the most natural goodness.

Eggplant & Ground Beef Parmesan

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium eggplant, cubed and cooked in water until tender and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2  8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
2  tablespoons Parmesan cheese
In a 2-quart casserole, layer eggplant, ground beef and cheddar cheese. Cover with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle oregano and parmesan cheese over top. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Serves 6.
Prep time 30 minutes
Recipe Source: Down Home Dining in Mississippi

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