Eggplants belong to the plant family commonly known as nightshades, and are related to the tomato, bell pepper and potato. Eggplants are best known as large globe shaped and deep purple in color. But, they are also available in long, thin, forms, which are also known as Asian eggplants, and other colors include lavender, jade green, orange, and yellow-white, as well as in sizes and shapes that range from that of a small tomato to a large zucchini. While the different varieties vary slightly in taste and texture, the eggplant can be described as having a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. In many recipes, eggplant fulfills the role of being a complementary ingredient that balances the surrounding flavors of the other more pronounced ingredients. Many people say that eggplants should be salted and left to stand for 15-30 minutes prior to cooking to remove bitterness. Today, breeding has made eggplants more mild. Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, copper and thiamin (vitamin B1). It is also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and niacin.