When to harvest Japanese eggplant?

geoff_no_ca(Z9, CA)July 24, 2005

A friend of mine gave me some Japanese eggplant which are doing wonderfully, probably 3 feet tall and loaded with fruit. My problem is simple: when should I harvest these? Right now fruit is probably 4" long. I have many Japanese friends and they didn't know. Help? thanks

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You can harvest them any time. As with many vegetables (unlike fruit), the younger they are, the more tender they are. Good quality product should be firm, dark-colored with smooth & shiny skin and relatively light for its size.

The most important thing is to before the fruits are overmature when they become dull, soft, and seedy. A dull or brown color signals that the fruit is over mature, and will be tough and bitter.

Of course it might help to know what the exact variety is of the eggplant you are growing in order to research the maximum average size for that specific variety:

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Eggplant Recipes

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 3:16PM
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geoff_no_ca(Z9, CA)

Wow! thanks. I never grew eggplant before, so knowing you can eat them young is great to know. Thanks for the link but I think because they are still so young, I can't quite determine exactly, except to rule out the round ones. I am guessing they are the Yasakanaga variety. I took a couple photos and posted them to Yahoo fotos - dang spotted cucumber beetles had put holes into everything but damage is pretty insignificant.

I can't wait to try some of those recipes - thanks so much.

Here is a link that might be useful: fotos

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 5:03PM
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ahdai(long island z7)

Hi, they look like the ichiban variety. Very popular and can be purchased at local nurseries. i have the same thing. Very productive. Those sizes are a big too small. Wait till they are about 5 inches long.. it is tender and mild. Good stuff. Enjoy them stir friend with some minced or shredded meat.

Beef eggplant with garlic sauce. Lotsa garlic , soy sauce, hot spice, and some sugar, and starch. enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 11:09PM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

eggplants ARE interesting. I found that fruit size can depend a lot on the relative health of the plant when it is bearing. My plants were able to grow larger sized fruit quickly when conditions were cool and moist earlier this season, but we've had less rainfall and much more heat, so fruit size before they got dull skin is now only about 1/2 what it was before. I believe they should size up again nicely as summer comes to a close and rain returns.

I have still been able to pick lots of fruit, but just smaller, and noticed that if I waited too long to pick, it slowed down production of new fruit.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 8:30PM
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How does everyone support their eggplant plants?

I've found that some do not need any support while others do fine with a simple, cheap tomato cage (the kind that are never strong enough for tomatoes).

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 6:52PM
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cyumickey(Sunset 18)

thanks violet!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 6:59PM
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first garden ever!!
made a real mess of things..improper spacing,wrong plants for season..too late, or too early.my cucumbers took off, after I left them alone, they grew up the fence, and now I get 3-4 a day,(10-13 inc.) same with my watermelon. I have 2 diff. kinds of egg plant. the purple egg shaped one is easy to tell when to pick, but what about the long skinny green ones? do they change color??

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:55PM
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