E is for Eggs, Eggplant and Elderberries

Eggs

Eggs are powerhouses of nutrition and extremely versatile. You can poach, scramble, fry, hard boil, soft boil, stuff them, bake them, make an omelette, frittata, quiche or bake a cake with them.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and they are also cheap when compared to other protein sources suchEgg as meat. Two eggs will give you 6.4 g protein, which is 12.6% of your daily recommended daily amount, all for about 20-40 p depending where you buy your eggs from. Eggs score the highest of all foods when analysed for the quality of protein contained.

Other vitamins that eggs are packed full of are Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. Vitamin B12 is important for the formation of red blood cells, and Vitamin D keeps our bones and teeth healthy. They both are important in the maintenance of our immune system. Two eggs provides us with 108% of our daily Vitamin B12 requirements, and 63% of our daily Vitamin D.

Omelettes are a quick and easy meal, and there is more than one way to make one. The most common method is in a frying pan, but another option is ‘boil in the bag omelette’. Yes, you read that correctly, boil in the bag. All you need is a plastic food bag with a zip lock. Break your eggs into the bag and shake to break up the eggs. Add whatever filling choose and shake again. Seal the bag, put into a pan of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Hey presto, you end up with an omelette. This method gets the kids interested and helping out. It does mean that the whole family can pick their own filling and there is no waiting around for someone else’s omelette to cook.

 

Eggplant

Ok, I know I am cheating slightly, as here in the UK egg plants are known as aubergines. However in the USA they are known as eggplants, and since there are not that many foods beginning with ‘E’, I am going with eggplant. Confusingly, they are also known as melongne, garden egg or in South Asia, South East Asia, and in South Africa, as brinjal. The plant is called an egg plant, and it is the berries of this plant that we eat and know as eggplant. They are native to South East Asia but are now grown all over the world.Image result for aubergine images

Eggplants are a lovely purple colour with a shiny skin. When fresh they should feel fairly heavy. Inside the flesh is pale and meaty in texture. Don’t be tempted to prepare in advance, as the flesh discolours fairly quickly once cut. If you are frying your eggplant be aware that it soaks up A LOT of oil. Add a tablespoon or so of oil to the pan, but once that has been soaked up, the eggplant will cook quite happily without the need to add more. You can easily end up adding spoonfuls of oil resulting in a greasy and very oily dish.

In my experience, eggplants are not a natural favourite for children. That is ok, don’t push them into eating them, however, grating them into a meat or tomato sauce boosts their 5 a day without them noticing. If you are having a meal without the kids, try this Aubergine, Sweet Potato and Cashew Nut Curry

Elderberries

Elderflower cordial to me sounds very quintessentially British, to be had with afternoon tea on a sunny afternoon. Elderflower shrubs and trees are more commonly found in the northern hemisphere and Elderberrieswe have them here in the U.K. They are often planted as hedgerows as they grow very fast and can easily bent into shape. Elderberries are a rich source of vitamins, 100 grams of berries contains 73 calories and 43% of our recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, and also contain 18% of our daily intake of Vitamin D and 12% of our daily intake of Iron (Wikipedia, 2017). They are also a valuable source of food for birds, and bushes can stripped bare amazingly quickly.

In Europe the most common use for elderberries is to make a syrup which is then used in fruit pie filling, or diluted with water to make a cordial.

However tempting it may be to eat elderberries straight from the bush, be aware as they are toxic when eaten raw. Always cook them before eating.

 

Fun Facts

Eggs
  • there is an easy way to tell if an egg is raw or cooked, spin it. If it spins easily then it is cooked. If it wobbles then it is raw
  • if you have ever dropped an egg on the floor it can be a nightmare scooping it all up. Cover it liberally with salt and it will be easier to clean up
  • an average hen lays 300-325 eggs per year and as she gets older, the size of her eggs will increase
  • it takes a hen 24-26 hours to produce one egg
  • Howard Helmer hold the World Record for the most 2 egg omelettes made in 30 minutes. A staggering 427. (www.thinkegg.com)
Eggplants
  • eggplants are members of the nightshade family, along with tobacco. Eggplants contain the highest amount of nicotine of any vegetable, but do not worry you would have to eat between 20-40 lbs of eggplant to equal the amount of nicotine in one cigarette (www.southernvalley.us)

 

 

 

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