Scarlet eggplant: recipes, benefits and how to get rid of the bitterness

The bitterness of jiló is so characteristic that it has even starred in a song by the Rei do Baião, Luiz Gonzaga. But it is exactly this particularity that makes this food an ally for those who want to lose weight.

According to nutritionist and fitness muse, Bella Falconi, flavor may even divide opinions in cooking, but the positive effects of this food cannot be denied.

“With a large amount of water and low caloric value, jiló is a healthy option and has several vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B ”, explains the professional.

In addition, it is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. All this without mentioning the great fiber content that Falconi also highlights.

Also noteworthy is that the fruit of Solanum Aethiopicum can also tackle problems in the heart and the liver. All this thanks to the antioxidant substances present in its composition.

Related to tomato and pepper, the jiló is considered a fruit and not a vegetable. In the kitchen, it can be used in several ways, such as in a stew, in a salad  or in a farofa.

Benefits of Jilo

“Folk wisdom has long used jiló to fight blood diseases, constipation, diabetes, cholesterol and improve oral health. Today, science also proves these benefits and many more”, confirms Bella Falconi.

slim down

According to the Brazilian Table of Food Composition (TACO), 100 grams of this raw fruit has only 27 calories . Furthermore, approximately 92% of the food is water. (1)

The combination of these factors makes the food ideal to compose the diet of those seeking weight loss. And the nutritionist adds: “jiló is a diuretic and increases the feeling of satiety” .

Therefore, it can help in the weight loss process by eliminating the fluids retained by the body and prolonging the time when the consumer does not feel hungry.

However, it should not be seen as a miraculous measure-reducer, and should be associated with a dietary change and the practice of physical exercise.

treat liver problems

In general, a diet based on fruits and vegetables can help control and prevent liver fat .

In the case of jiló, it is also beneficial as it acts as a stimulant of liver metabolism. Thus, it helps to treat and prevent diseases that affect this organ such as acute or chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, bad effects of alcoholism and gallstones.

For example, fatty liver is a problem that can be controlled with a diet based on this fruit. But, of course, it must always be associated with other foods, especially whole foods. (2,3)

Helps control diabetes

“Because it is rich in fiber, it helps to reduce blood glycemic indexes ,” cites the fitness muse. For those who don’t know, this compound delays the transformation of carbohydrates into glucose, causing the absorption of sugar to be slower in the body.

This benefit is especially important for those who have type II diabetes mellitus or for those who want to prevent this condition. (4)

protect the heart

Both the flavonoids and the fibers and alkaloids present in this fruit can act as reducers of bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood.

“The consumption of jiló helps to prevent fatty plaques in the blood vessels from accumulating, due to the presence of flavonoids, which also act to combat free radicals and inflammation of the arteries”, explains Bella Falconi.

This means that the food can be adopted in a diet that favors heart health , as it avoids several cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, arrhythmia, stroke, hypertension, etc.

Prevents and treats anemia

The fitness muse reminds us that iron and B vitamins are present in this food and, therefore, it can be an ally in combating anemia and strengthening the body’s defenses .

Contributes to oral health

The bitterness so criticized by some and loved by others is responsible for this benefit. According to Bella Falconi, the flavor stimulates saliva production and acts as an antibacterial.

For these reasons, the food is considered to protect the teeth against the formation of tartar and also has action against halitosis, a condition popularly known as bad breath .

Improves intestinal transit

Last but not least, the effect of jilo on the intestine. Also due to fiber, this food contributes to peristaltic movements, facilitating the elimination of feces .

In practice, this action avoids intestinal problems that are very common in Brazilian health, an example of which is the famous constipation or trapped bowel, as it is also called.

Also according to TACO, 100 grams of this fruit is composed of 4.8 grams of fiber . But for the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy body needs 25 grams of this compound per day, always balanced with a good intake of water.

Therefore, in addition to this food, it is important to incorporate other natural products into the diet, keeping it diversified and healthy. Fiber-rich foods include: flaxseed, sesame, pod peas, whole-grain bread, etc. (1,3,4)

Jilo nutritional table

100 gram servingAmount per serving
Energetic value27 Kcal
Protein1,4 g
Cholesterol –
Carbohydrate6,2 g
Fiber4,8 g
Calcium20 mg
Match29 mg
Ferro0,3 mg
Sodium –
Potassium213 mg
C vitamin6,8 mg
Magnesium21 mg

* Daily reference values ​​based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values ​​can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.

How to get rid of the bitter taste of jiló?

There are two ways to remove the bitterness from this fruit. The first one is ideal for when the jiló is served as an aperitif. To do this, cut it into blades and fry . Then sprinkle with salt. During frying, the strong flavor is eliminated.

The other way is the most common, just cut the fruit into four parts and let it soak in water and salt . Allow it to soak in the mixture for 15 or 20 minutes before cooking. But remember, when cooking, don’t add any more salt. (5)

Jilo recipes

Generally, jiló is not eaten raw, not even in salads. The most traditional way is sautéed, but in this version it is possible that its vitamin properties are lost in the preparation. Therefore, the best recommendation is to steam it or with little water. (3.5)

braised jilo


  • Jilós cut in the shape of a cross
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings of your choice.

In this recipe, just soak the fruit in salted water. Then, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil, adding the chopped jiló. Stir gently while adding the spices of your choice and then cover the pan.

Cook for a few minutes and remove from heat when the fruit is cooked, but still firm. To prevent the jiló from sticking to the pan while cooking, add a little water. (5)

fried jilo

Chef Taico teaches you how to make the fruit fried and still healthy. Check out the following ingredients and how to prepare in the professional’s video!


  • 12 sliced ​​green jilo
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Salt, pepper and oil.

Preparation mode



  • 16 jilós sliced ​​in thin slices
  • 2 chopped red onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped smelling pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • salt to taste
  • Cassava flour.

Preparation mode

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil, then add the jilo and other seasonings. Saute everything and turn off the heat. Add the flour little by little until the crumb is at the point you like it, drier or even moister.



  • 24 jilós
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 large onion, chopped into small cubes
  • ½ cup (of tea) olive oil
  • ½ cup (of tea) of vinegar
  • Salt to taste.

Preparation mode

First, cut the jewels in a cross. Then boil them with water, salt and oregano until they are soft and firm. Then drain the water and set aside the fruits.

Put all the other ingredients in a pan on the fire and make a sauce with them, add enough water so the sauce doesn’t get thick. Finally, pour this sauce over the jilós and let it marinate for up to a day before serving this salad. (5)

Curiosities about the fruit

Jiló belongs to the Solanaceae family, which is why it is related not only to tomatoes and peppers but also to eggplant. Its scientific name is Solanum gilo . Another curiosity is that many people use this fruit to feed birds. (1.5)

How to buy?

Unlike other fruits, it is not necessary to squeeze it to know if it is good for consumption. To make sure that this one is the best fruit, just keep an eye on the characteristics of the rind.

The outside should be green in color , with a smooth and shiny appearance . It is also recommended that she have no signs of injury or dark spots. Discard any shriveled, mature, or bruised jilós. (5)

What is its origin?

The exact origin of this food is not known, but scholars believe that it probably originated in Asia or Africa . In Brazil, it was introduced in the 17th century through Africans who came to the country during the period of slavery. (5)

Is eating mature bad?

Ripe fruits are okay, but when they ripen they are unsuitable for consumption as they have an unpleasant taste and texture.

To run away from ripe ones, just pay attention to the color of the skin, which usually turns yellow or reddish-orange . Furthermore, the seeds harden in this maturation stage.

Generally speaking, they ripen quickly between two and three days. However, if stored in the refrigerator, packed in a plastic food bag, they can be kept for up to five days. (5)

Are there harms?

According to the fitness muse, in moderate doses, jiló only brings benefits. It can be consumed up to twice a week , always alternating between other fruits and vegetables.

However, as it is rich in iron, excessive consumption can be somewhat harmful, “resulting in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea ”, warns the nutritionist.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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