It is during the late summer and early fall that any number of varietal and heirloom eggplants appear in the market. We are all familiar with the year round dark, shiny bell shaped eggplants that are used in a variety of traditional Italian-American recipes such as eggplant parmesan and lasagna. A little research reveals that eggplants, having originated in India, are a well traveled and international vegetable. There are many exotic varieties coming from remote regions of Turkey, Africa, Italy, Thailand and China. Eggplants are a member of the large and diverse nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, chilies and bell peppers. They come in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes that range from small, striped orbs the size of a golf ball to green, purple or white elongated varieties, purple and white striped globes and dark black eggplants weighing over 2 pounds.