Why is Eggplant a Squash?

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Why is Eggplant a Squash?

Have you heard someone refer to eggplant as a squash, and now you’re wondering why?

Eggplant is a food of many, many names. In previous posts, we’ve written about why some call it a nightshade and why it’s considered a berry.

This time around, we’re going to be looking into why eggplant is a squash…or even if it’s considered a squash at all. With this particular question, there’s more than meets the eye, and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

Quick Answer: Why is Eggplant a Squash?

Eggplant isn’t actually a squash. However, some people called it the guinea squash as a nickname. This is thought to be because the food was at one point associated with West Africa.

What is Eggplant Classified As and Why?

So if eggplant isn’t a squash, what exactly is it? That’s an intriguing question, because eggplant is one food that’s often confused for many other types.

If someone were to ask you to explain what an eggplant is, the first word that would likely come to mind for you is “vegetable.” In truth, though, vegetable is not an accurate descriptor for eggplant from a scientific standpoint.

Eggplant is actually a fruit. This is because it’s a seed-bearing structure born from a pollinated flower. If you get even more specific, it’s technically a berry.

Interestingly, this depends on how you’re looking at it. Scientists will classify eggplant as a berry, but a chef will tell you that it’s a vegetable. A chef will say eggplant is a vegetable because of how it’s used in dishes that aren’t sweet.

Uses for Eggplant

Eggplant has a very mild taste, although it can get bitter. Because of this, the uses for it are virtually endless. This isn’t an overwhelmingly flavorful food that steals the limelight in any recipe.

It works especially well as a substitute for meat, because of its fleshiness and bulk. That’s what makes it a wonderful pick for vegan entrees.

In some countries, eggplants are barbecued and served with a mixture of spices. Others will use it in a delightful curry or stew.

Perhaps most famously, eggplant makes a great addition to lasagna. We’ve found this scrumptious-looking vegan lasagna recipe that uses eggplant in place of the noodles.

If you’re looking for a filling and indulgent dinner, we recommend giving this recipe a try:

Wrap Up

Eggplant is, in many ways, the chameleon of the culinary world. People refer to it by countless different names, and it can be used in a breathtaking range of recipes. Its oftentimes milder taste makes it possible to squeeze it into pretty much any kind of food.

It may not be a squash, but this berry is still a wonderful addition to the savory dishes of your dreams.

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