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Tsakonian Aubergine (PDO)

The Tsakonian aubergine is by far the sweetest tasting eggplant.
This distinct sweet taste is attributed to the local soil and the area’s microclimate.

As for the appearance of the Tsakonian aubergine, it is approximately 20-25 cm long with a diameter of 4-6 cm, widening in the middle. Its outer peel is shiny, smooth and light purple in colour with lighter vertical stripes.

The Tsakonian aubergine ripens much earlier than in other regions and can be used in various culinary dishes, as well as in confectionery. In fact, sweet baby eggplants in syrup are our most traditional local sweet.

Since March 1996, the Tsakonian aubergine is registered among the 317 products listed as Protected Designation of Origin of the European Union (PDO), thus ensuring its exclusive cultivation solely to Leonidio producers, who in turn, meet and are in compliance with strict regulations.

The average annual crop yield is currently at approximately 2000 tons.

Nutritional Values

What does the Tsakonian Aubergine offer?

Cooked aubergine is an excellent source of dietary fiber, copper, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxide) and a good source of Vitamin B3 (niacin), magnesium, potassium, manganese, and folic acid. Raw aubergine, however, offers double the amount of potassium, manganese and folic acid.

Recommended Daily Allowance

One cup (100 grams) of freshly cooked eggplant provides about 10% of the recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber, about 6-7% of copper and Vitamins B1 and B6, 5% of manganese, 4% of niacin, 3.5% of folic acid and a 3% daily allowance of magnesium and potassium.

How can the Tsakonian Aubergine help improve my health?

Apart from its high content in vitamins and minerals, Tsakonian aubergine contains important phytochemicals, such as phenolic compounds (caffeine and chlorogenic acid) as well as flavonoids nasounini. Many of these components are known for their antioxidant properties.

Research concerning the eggplant has been focused on a sole flavonoid, nasounini, which can be found in the outer peel of aubergines. This substance acts as an antioxidant, molecules which neutralize and eliminate free radicals and therefore protect particles and tissue from possible damage.

Studies on animals have shown that nasounini protects lipoids which can be found in brain cells thus enabling them to carry out their significant role without suffering damage from free radical oxygen cells. (Study published in the science magazine Toxicology, 2000). Moreover, nasounini has the capacity to bind iron (study published in science magazine Research Communications in Molecular Pathology and Pharmacology, 1998). In this case, when iron exceeds the normal amount it can cause production of free radicals; and in this way, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and/or carcinogenesis. The effect aubergines have at this level may prove to be beneficial to men and especially to menopausal women, who no longer shed iron through their menstrual cycle, and are likely to accumulate high iron quantities. The binding of iron, in these cases, reduces the production of free radicals, providing protection against conditions where they are involved, such as cholesterol oxidation, cell damage that may lead to carcinogenesis, and joint damage that occurs in rheumatoid arthritis.

The antioxidant action of aubergines does not cease here. No matter which variety of aubergine had been tested, all were found to be rich in phenolic compounds (14 have been isolated) mainly that of chlorogenic acid. This substance is a powerful antioxidant with anticancer, antimicrobial and anticholesterolimic properties. Moreover, aubergines have been found to reduce oxidative stress in cells of the nervous system (study published in science journal Free Radical Research, 2005). The bitter taste of aubergine and the discoloration that occurs while slicing are due to these phenolic acids that are present in aubergines.

Pathfinder Foods Videos (in Greek)

1. Aubergine History

2. All over the word with an Aubergine

3. Greek Aubergine

4. How to plant Aubergine

5. Aubergine in our dish


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