Help from eggplant enthusiasts

maij(z5 NY)April 26, 2004

I posted this message in the Vegetable Forum, but I'm particularly interested in gardeners who grow heirloom varieties of eggplants.

I'm researching an article on growing eggplants and I'm not finding very much enthusiasm out there for the vegetable. Is their beauty only skin deep?

If there are any eggplant lovers out there, I'd really appreciate hearing what types you particularly like, any tricks for growing them successfully and how you use them. In fact, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who has grown eggplants, even if it wasn't a positive experience.

Thanks for your help.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I'm researching an article on growing eggplants and I'm not finding very much enthusiasm out there for the vegetable. Is their beauty only skin deep?


I saw your post in the veggie folder.

But as a writer off and on, where do you live in NYS. I ask b'c I'm also in zone 5 and I'm wondering what kinds of folks/farms, etc., you've contacted in your own area.

What is the thrust of this article?

Meaning, growing eggplant in all gardening zones?

Recommending specific varieties for specific reasons for sepcific areas?

Citing sources of seeds for same?

Newspaper or newsletter or magazine article? And what's the target audience?


Carolyn, who thinks if you're not finding much enthusiasm for eggplant maybe you haven't reached the right folks. And thus she wonders who you have contacted. (smile)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 8:19PM
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maij(z5 NY)

I've spoken with several market gardeners here in the Hudson Valley, where I live. None viewed eggplant as a crowd pleaser - more of a niche market. I haven't yet contacted a commercial grower. I'm looking for someone who grows something other than the big behemoths. If you know of anyone, please let me know.

I kept the question general because I just wanted to see what the favored varieties were. Let's face it, most of the seed companies are selling the same varieties. And I wanted to see where people were growing them and if they all encountered the same problems. So it was great to hear that Maine has better luck with Oriental varieties and No. California once again has us all green with envy.

This is a magazine article targeted to home gardeners, which is why I went straight to the source, although I've only just begun my research.

And you're probably right, I haven't hit on the right people. That's one of the reasons I asked how folks prepared their eggplant. I think Americans don't really know what to do with eggplant. Although that's probably true of a good many vegetables.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 12:16PM
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nctomatoman(z7/8 NC)

I've become much more fond of eggplant - both for growing, and eating - since discovering how well they grow in pots, and how delicious they can be when home grown, eaten at the peak of freshness, and how interesting and variable they are in appearance (though I confess that discerning flavor differences is not all that easy - though we do like those that are anything but dark purple/black skinned). I sell seedlings at a Raleigh farmer's market, and am finding that they have a relatively small but devoted following.

Varieties - I highly recommend Antigua, Listada di Gandia, Early Green Giant, Green Goddess, Louisiana Long Green, Ping Tung Long, Rosa Bianca, Violette Di Firenze, and Italian Pink Bicolor...and a number of hybrids - Calliope, Purple Rain or Zebra (seem to be the same - different companies), Machiaw, Snowy, Cloud Nine, and Lavendar Touch. I've grown them all successfully in large pots...the biggest issue is flea beetles (I use very dilute Diazanon and Sevin mixture early in the season, which knocks them down effectively).

Favorite recipe is Ratatouille, followed by simply slicing peeled eggplant into 1/4 inch slices, dipping in beaten egg then bread crumbs, adding fresh grated parmesan Reggiano to the top, spraying with an olive oil mist and baking until browned....we also like Baba Ganoush.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 3:42PM
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JoeFab(z7 NC)

Hey Craig - Have ya ever grown Prosperosa or Violetta Lunga (Long Purple)? I'm trying those two this year and am wondering what to expect.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 8:37PM
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I'm an eggplant enthusiast (as well as former community garden manager, community gardener, ex-greenhouse grower, Master Gardener, farmer's market shopper and chief cook & bottle washer). I can't remember all the varieties I've grown, but I do think I have some valuable advice. There are two main types I grow to have the longest harvest season possible The Asian ones (long, thin)tend to have an earlier harvest date and be quite a bit more prolific than the larger egg-shaped ones. Therefore I always grow the Asians such as Ichiban, and perhaps a few other interesting varieties. I use the Asian ones almost exclusively for grilling...just split in half long ways, brush with olive oil and grill with your meat or fish and other garden veggies. I also grow the big purple ones such as the heirloom Black Beauty--they are delicious and dependable, and have relatively tender skin (I don't peel eggplants). You can't go wrong with this one. The big purple ones are great for slicing and making old fashioned fried eggplant--this is delicious (but not low-cal!). Baba Ghanoush or other Mediterranean eggplant spreads are also eggcellent ways to serve these fruits. I also have tried the pretty ones like the streaked Purple Rain, and some of the interesting varieties from Cook's Garden catalog. The only ones I haven't liked were the white ones called Casper, as I found the skin very tough, and they were fairly small so by the time you peel them, you didn't get much. Also I have tried those small green Thai ones and found them hard as rocks--perhaps I just don't know how to cook them. I can't leave out, of course, that eggplant, especially the long Asian ones are great in Thai curries. Yum.

And of course, as noted before...flea beetles are a big problem. There are organic as well as non-organic methods of dealing with these, though.

Plant some eggplant today!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 12:57PM
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I too am an eggplant aficionado. I think the plants, flowers, and fruits are all pretty. I've grown Lavender Touch (my fave), Neon & Dusky (all hybrids, I think), and the ubiquitous Black Beauty. This year I'm growing Applegreen and Thai Yellow for some unusual color.

I've included link to a web site containing dozens of recipes for this wonderful veggie. My favorite eggplant recipe, however, is simple: Grill them (indoors or out) after dipping them in a marinade made from equal parts olive oil, low-salt soy sauce, and rosemary, run through a blender with a couple cloves of garlic. MMMMMM.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ashbury's aubergines

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 2:22PM
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I forgot to mention in my previous post (although it's probably obvious) that you want to cut the eggplants into slices before you grill them using my recipe!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 2:23PM
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I too am trying thai yellow eggplants this year.And of course the usaul blacks,purples,roses,and whites.But also every year,since meeting my father inlaw I've grown what is my favorite orange eggplant.He says he brought the seeds from Italy years and years ago.Taste great.I pickle,roast,barbque,stuff,maranate,deep fry,eat them almost anyway I can.Did I say how much I love eggplant?!Turth is I love most veggies.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2004 at 8:51AM
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coldgoosie(3/4 MN)

We've grown eggplant for several years... with our zone it was a challenge to get more than a couple mature fruit before frost hit - until we discovered using black plastic. Now we have all the eggplant we can handle.

Over the years we've tried many different types. We like both the asian types and the larger round types (can't remember what they're called off hand).

Probably our favorites are Applegreen, Ping tung and Diamond

Types we've grown include: Antigua, Louisiana Long Green, Rosa Bianca, Long Purple, Chinese White Sword, Rosita, Ukrainian Beauty and Little Fingers.

This year we're growing: Early Black Egg, Diamond, Applegreen, Udmalbet. Perhaps a couple more but these are what I recalled.

We love eggplant in many different dishes and enjoy them so much more from the garden and fresh than the older ones that are found in the grocery store. I do have to admit though - I don't think they're a huge seller around here. Many people either don't know how to perpare them or don't like them.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 11:33AM
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There seems to be a consensus "out there", that eggplants are "bitter", unless you salt them and let them drain. I have never done this, and have never noticed any eggplant being bitter...from the little green ones to the big purple ones, and all the ones in between. Have any of you eggplant lovers noticed bitterness?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 1:05PM
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I've found that if I pick them when thery're relatively young, there is no bitterness.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 2:09PM
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Marinamo(z9 CA)

I grew eggplant for the first time last year -- Rosa Bianca. I was really impressed by how much better fresh eggplant was over supermarket varieties. But I was really surprised by what an attractive plant it was--the round leave, purple flowers, and then the lavender/white fruits. I really enjoyed having it in my garden--even before harvesting the yummy fruits.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2004 at 9:48PM
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I just love eggplant! This is my first summer growing
"Little Fingers" Has anyone planted this variety? Is it more of a bush variety or climbing?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 7:56PM
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I am definitely an eggplant lover. I too am growing little fingers this year (in a pot), as well as Rosa Bianca, Farmer's Long and Asian Bride.

Ichiban is a beautiful plant, and was very good producer.

I spent sometime in Japan, and learned to cook a number of stir frys with eggplant. A trick to reduce bitterness is to dice and soak them in water for about 5 minutes before using. It keeps them from turning brown while you are preparing the rest of the dish. Eggplants absorb water so don't leave them too long. This keeps them from burning when stir frying. I presoak slices well when I make eggplant parmigiana, requires less oil.

Roasted eggplant makes an excellent and elegant soup as well.

I also make a "manocotti" using a seasoning ricotta filling inside thinly sauted slices of eggplant, then place in baking dish, spoon prepared tomato pasta sauce over the top, and bake in the oven. Yum!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 1:04AM
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hsmomof4(8 GA)

See, this is what makes these forums invaluable to me. I actually wanted to know if I could slice the eggplant thin and stuff them like manicotti. There are 4 celiacs in this house, so we don't eat pastas. But I do stuff, slice, and layer all sorts of veggies to take the place of pastas in most recipes.

Thank you.

I'm growing eggplant for the first time this year. I'd tried the grocery store varieties a few times and found them to be so bitter, I couldn't eat them. I figured it was just a case of different strokes for different folks, and then I got a fresh, ripe one. Wow. What a difference.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 2:21PM
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Here is still another way to prepare an eggplant: For two or three servings, wash and cut an unpeeled eggplant lengthwise into four pieces. Then cut 2/3's of the way through each piece (4 slots) leaving a space to stuff with a ground meat mixture of diced onions, parsley and allspice. Also, 2 peeled potatoes with the same mixture. Pour a can of tomato sauce over the eggplant and potatoes in a dutch oven; simmer for about 1 hour or until tender. Love to grow Rosa Bianca, black beauty, Asian and the bi-color (lavender/white) large eggplants.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2004 at 9:59PM
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Eggplant in zone 5 is challenging unless you pick the right varieties. I choose the earlier ripening ones...this year I have Lavender Touch and Swallow ( from Fedco to produce like crazy...we'll see!)

They must be kept warm, and if it's a cool summer they won't produce as much. Black plastic mulch is supposed to speed them up - but I have not used it. I mulch with wood shavings to conserve moisture. I dig in lots of composted horse manure. A hand ful of bone meal...

Does anyone else have favorite soil amendments for eggplants?


    Bookmark   May 24, 2004 at 12:39PM
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shanklemsw(Z8 CoastalSC)

I love eggplant too. This year I'm growing Ichiban, Asian Bride and Neon. Neon is so pretty it's in the front yard so I can show off. It produced for me last year for a good six months. No eggplant I've ever grown was bitter. I think that comes from sitting around during shipment. My favorite recipe is easy: slice eggplant lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick. Place in a baking pan with peeled cloves of garlic, fresh tomato slices and basil. Pour olive oil over it all and bake. Not only is it a great dinner, your house will smell like heaven!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2004 at 10:41AM
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Another great recipe for eggplant is Greek Moussaka - simply delicious if you cook it right. In the past I have grown all sorts of eggplants (very colourful and ornamental) but this year I will just grow the large purple and the slender purple. Baba Ghanouj is very delicious:
Bake 2 large eggplants till fairly soft, but not mushy. Cool, peel and chop flesh. Add juice of about one lemon, a tablespoon or two of tahini, a small red onion chopped, a clove or two of garlic chopped, a handful of parsley leaves, chopped, a drizzle of olive oil and salt to taste. Mix together well, adjust seasoning if necessary, and enjoy on crusty bread. Yum yum!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 5:49PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Maij' article on eggplant has already been published.

Just thought I'd pass that along.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 6:14PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Aussie eggplant lover here. I've never found them bitter and never bother with all that salting and washing and so on.
Last year I grew Early Long Purple but had no fruit set until the end of summer - what a waste of space! This year I'm trying Redskin, Ping Tung Long, Ichiban (is that one a hybrid?) and Lebanese Bunching (another long one).
I'll eat eggplant almost any way at all - except perhaps raw though one of the seed companies here in Oz claims that you can eat Turkish Orange raw.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 4:37AM
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kristie8888(zone8 TX)

I am inspired.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 12:07PM
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Hi! I actually fried up a plate of my last eggplant a couple of hours ago! What a delight! It was a traditional "grocery store" kind of eggplant, but freshly picked from my garden!!! I also grew Japaneese style eggplant. Am looking forward to a couple of other varieties for next year. Happy writing! greenwitch

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 6:22PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I'm growing Ichiban this year and it is gorgeous. With dark purple coloration in its attractively shaped leaves, it is pretty enough to grow as an ornamental. The fruits have nice color, shape, texture and flavor.

Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite filling main courses. So is a stuffed eggplant dish called papoutsakias (Greek for little shoes). I like to cook them on the grill, covered, for especially good flavor.

Eggplant simply fried in olive oil with garlic and seasonings is a tasty, simple dish, as is baba ghanoush.

The most elegant preparation of all, and the one which most glorifies eggplant, is Imam Bayaldi ("The Imam fainted"). This should be served at room temperature or barely warm as an appetizer or side dish. I made some last week and I know why the Immam fainted.


Here is a link that might be useful: Imam Bayaldi

    Bookmark   September 4, 2004 at 4:21PM
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I also love eggplant.I made up a recipe you can try,it will be worth your time.Wash,peel and slice eggplant 1/2 in. thick.Place in collinger with weight on it over night,in refrig..Flour eggplant and fry.Place 10in.tortilla in black skillet.Layer eggplant one layer thick.Put 3 tbs. of tomato sauce on eggplant.Cover the layered tomato sauce with Cheese,that you like.Place another tortilla on that,and repeat until skillet is full.Bake at 350 degrees,until tortillas pull from side of skillet ,about 1/4 in.Then place one more tortilla on top and remove skillet when top tortilla is brown.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2004 at 11:59AM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

I LOVE eggplant. I just cube it, toss it in olive oil with whatever mix of herbs & spices strikes my fancy at the moment, spread it on the toaster-oven tray and slowly bake until it's mushy.

I have had some bitterness occasionally, but maybe I've let the farmer's-market eggplants get old in the fridge. I don't actually have a garden yet - I just moved from an apt. to a house a month ago and look forward to egg-planting in 2005.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 11:23AM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

Maij, is your article available on line?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 11:30AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Maij, is your article available on line?


Since I haven 't seen Maij come back to post here I'll answer for you.

No, it isn't available online.

It was published in the last issue of Heirloom Gardener w hich is a by subscription only magazine published by Baker Creek Heirlooms Seed Company.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2004 at 12:16PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Well, I'll chime in anyway even if the article was written already. I took the advice of some GW'ers and am growing them and peppers and okra in pots, with much better success than in the ground. So far I've harvested a couple of oriental eggplants but soon should get some round ones- Park's Whopper, Udmalbet, Calliope, more oriental ones, and Green Goddess. I'm trying to make plans to take them indoors before frost and continue under lights if I can figure out what lights would be strong enough to keep them fruiting.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2004 at 1:18AM
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I'll chime in to. We've found that that black plastic helps a TON, with actually getting them to have mature fruit before frost, but putting plastic OVER them is even more usfull. Zip houses or mini-hoops are very helpful (just watch as days start to getwarm on there own.) It's like we are in Cinicianti not Cleveland!

As to them not being big at market, I agree. Unless you have cool looking heirlooms, or are the first to have them, We've never once brought an eggplant home from market. I'll say what I always say Be special and be first!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2004 at 7:46AM
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One of my favorites that isn't readily found anymore was/is "Blush". Never bitter, never needed peeling, great taste & small seeds regardless of when you harvested it. A lavender/white striated type. I had about 6 plants of it & literally had BUSHELS of eggplants. I was actually drying it I had so much of it.

For the coming year I'll be growing several oriental, italian, & Thai types. I LOVE eggplant. Versatile, used in many different ethnic cuisines, colorful - the list is almost endless.

As for the "salting bit" - regardless of the variety you're growing, this is really old hat stuff. Don't bother. It doesn't make a bit of difference.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 7:28PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

We possibly have a few variety name differences, but I've grown Early Long Purple (not impressed but it was a bad year), Lebanese Bunching (very impressed with flavour and productivity), Ichiban (lovely plant, low production for me), Thai Green (a little on the bitter side for me) and Redskin (still waiting for fruit!). I like eating it almost any way at all, but especially stuffed (either Indian fashion or Mid-eastern fashion) or in a paste sauce with tomatoes, peas and pinenuts.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 8:38AM
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Cindy_gardener(z7 TN)

Has anyone grown Ping Tung Long and Fairy Tale? Last year I grew Rosa Bianca (delicious, produced well) and Black egg (did not do well at all in the same soil). Needless to say, only the Rosa Bianca is coming back this year and I've added Ping Tung Long, Fairy tale and Listada de Gandia. I can't wait. From all the comments above, sounds like I should try Ichiban and Neon in the future.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 10:10PM
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treefrog_fl(z10 FL)

Ping Tung Long was an excellent producer last year. Growin' it again. Seems to thrive in hot weather. Taste was excellent. Creamy, never bitter. Several friends who tasted it are growing it this year.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2005 at 10:34AM
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thandiwe2(6b SW Pa)

My eggplant does extremelly well in the part of the garden where I have gone one better than black plasitc--- heavy slate tiles. DH brough home some big heavy black slate/stone tiles and I surrouned the bed that I wanted to plant the eggplant in with them. Well, even hours after sunset the tiles are still warm and the eggplant loves it.

I have grown ping ting long, lousiana long green, fairy tale and cressent moon. This year I am trying Tango from johnny select seed -- the growers site. That seed cost me about $10 for 15 seeds so I must really like eggplant.

My contribution to how to cook them is eggplant quesadilla. I marinate the egglplant slices (skin and all) in a lemon/ olive oil and chilli powder maranade and then either grill or fry in a pretty dry pan. then I stick them in a tortilla with some cheese -- yum!


    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 9:13PM
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Last year I only grew the old favorite "Black Beauty", because the veggie garden was (& still is) in the development stage. It performed fabulously & I had more eggplant than I knew what to do with from just 3-4 plants.

This year I'm growing "Listada De Gandia" - an Italian standard-shaped heirloom variety, bright violet with white striping; "Ping Tung" - long bright purple oriental-type from Taiwan; & "Casper" - a medium-sized white.

I figure those will cover all my bases as far as eggplant cookery - lol!!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 10:21AM
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Patris(9 Gulf Coast)

I also love eggplants! Last year did the usual Black Beauty and since it's just my hubby and me now, decided to find a smaller one.

Tried Little Spooky, white egg shaped fruit from Japan. It was really great. A little stronger flavor than the Beauty, great size for small cooking and the fact that they say if you grow this fruit it will chase off the evil night spirits from your garden did'nt hurt any either.

This year I am trying the Pingtung Long and De Barbentane. They both seem to be growing well so I guess we will see how they do.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 10:56AM
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I have planted Japanese Eggplant and I have never pulled them at the end of the season, in Arizona the winter does not kill them. Should I replace the plant after a certain number of years?


    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 2:07PM
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Elise(9b BayArea CA)

Here's an odd question: Why does my eggplant have sharp thorns or spikes projecting from the upper leaf surfaces? I am growing an Italian heirloom, pink and white fruit. The leaves are dusky green with purple veins and the spikes are dark purple. It is my first time growing eggplant.

I have squash, melons, peppers and tomatoes also, and none of these ever have thorns. Is this something only eggplant has?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 5:09PM
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Yadda(8-9 TX)

For a look at some really interesting eggplants try Bear Creek seeds. Also, Tomato Growers supply has a good selection. Also you might try joining the Seed Savers Exchagne getting their catalog and getting in touch with some of the growers of eggplants. Just a few out of the box thoughts. Yadda out.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 5:29PM
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new2gardenfl(Z9 CentralFL)

I have read that eggplant will live for a long time under the right conditions, but after a few years the fruit starts to get bitter.

My eggplant are going on their second year and are just as tasty as the firtst year. I cut the plants way back in the spring and they are now about waist high. I'm growing the plain garden variety black beauty.

I took an eggplant, baby zuccini, tomato and garlic and sauted it in some olive oil for dinner last night. yumm

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 9:08AM
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Hi Elise, that's the nature of eggplants! Joe

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 1:00AM
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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

I like eggplant a lot, and enjoy all the many different Asian varieties the most - Asian Bride, Pintung Long are my favorites. I also love Rosa Bianca. But I won't buy it at the store; it's got to be home grown or Farmer's market. Like tomatoes, I do without it from January through April. Where I am, we pick eggplant from May through Christmas though the later ones aren't as good.

I also know lots of people who don't like them because of bitterness and texture which they say is slimy. Usually - when I remember to ask - they also hate okra for the slimy texture if they're not deep fried or cooked away like in N'awlins/creole food. Too bad, IMO they're missing out.

I love going to different ethnic restaurants, and in one vegetarian Indian restaurant, they're peeled and mashed in a curry sauce and served with saffron rice, Na'an bread, and salad. At a Thai restaurant, they used the green apple ones and served it in a coconut milk, chicken or pork and bamboo shoot mixture with rice with optional Thai chili (1-5 stars in heat). Eggplant Parmigiana is good but all those calories! Ditto for eggplant and other tempura. They're great stir-fried in sesame oil with onion and garlic, and anything else and served over rice. Rataouille is one of my favorite ways to eat them, especially if not overcooked. Filipinos take the Asian types and grill them in an omelet and sometimes add ground beef, tomatoes, and onion for an omelette. I have some Russian and Mexican neighbors that I bring vegetables to. I've never asked what they did with them but I will next time. But at home, like others have said, my favorite way is just to cut the Asian ones in half, broil them, or BBQ them with your favorite oil, and I drizzle with fresh lemon or calamondin.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 6:28AM
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Want to still enjoy Eggplant Parmagian without "all" those calories??

Instead of frying the eggplant slices, I broil them. Simply slice your eggplant & place it on an oiled baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil & sprinkle with dried oregano or Italian Seasoning, granulated or powdered garlic, & a bit of (optional) dried red pepper flakes. Broil for a few minutes, watching them carefully, until just brown. Flip the slices over, oil & season that side as well, & broil until just tender.

Layer cooked eggplant slices in a baking dish, alternating layers with your favorite tomato sauce & thinly sliced or grated mozzarella. Top layer should be mozzarella, & you can also add an optional light layer of seasoned breadcrumbs if desired. Bake until heated through & cheese is melted.

Absolutely delicious & lower in calories than frying the eggplant first.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 12:37PM
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bill_southerncal(10 So.Cal)

breezyb - thanks, I'll try that next time I make it. I'm all for reducing calories, and still keeping the taste.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 9:00PM
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We are big fans of growing eggplants here. Although I haven't grown eggplants myself (my mother is the eggplant afficianado here) we have come across so many problems...from snails to aphids and hornworms! But eggplant is a regular in our house so we keep on trying.

Cecelia and Breezyb, I noticed that you have grown black beauty. I recently bought the seeds. What do you say about growing from seed in containers this time of year? (its in the 90's now but i figure if in containers and in the shade, the soil temps will be cooler. I was thinking of holding onto them until late september, but I wouldn't mind starting in containers now, if possible.

We have alot of these shown in the pic below:

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 1:08PM
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Well - it certainly might work for you where you are.

Eggplant is a definite tropical & LOVES the heat. I can't imagine any season in the Bahamas that wouldn't encourage its growth.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:48PM
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I agree with breezyb, Eggplants like it nice and toasty. I don't think you should be afraid to plant eggplant seeds now - I have to start mine indoors, and they really like bottom heat. So the warm soil might actually help them out ... just remember to keep watering them.

Somebody from Bahrain posted on one of these forums in the past, and I believe they said that eggplant was a perennial for them.

BTW, that purple striped fruit is really pretty - what variety is it?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 2:18PM
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If anyone has the purple japanese skinny eggplant seeds, can you please share some with me? If you are from the Philippines, they grow the skinny purple there aslo. If you have them, please share with me. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 7:09AM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

Have you ever tried the Korean variety of eggplant? My wife who is Korean by birth grows them every year,in pots, here in the PNW. She has also tried other varieties as well and winds up discarding them. This Korean variety eggplant is longer and appears to be about 1" in diameter. If you want to try them I would be happy to get you some seed from the Korean market and send them to you.


    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 12:43PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"Cebu Tropical", I do not know your climate zone, so I am unsure whether the Philippine varieties will work for you. My wife is from Cebu, so we tried "Pingtung" and several others, they just did not work in our Wisconsin climate. Either disease killed them, or they would refuse to bear.

I found 2 varieties through Seed Savers Exchange that have done well; "Casper" (white) and "Diamond" (dark purple). They are not as long as the light purple varieties (6"), but are much more disease resistant. Casper does well in cool/wet summers; Diamond likes it hot. I plant both each year, one or the other is always producing.

If these are not what you were seeking, my apologies. There are other Philippine eggplant varieties I hope to trial next year (I have found a new source) so stay in touch; if you are still interested, I will send you some seed then.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 1:44AM
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Where/who, may I ask, is your source for Filipino eggplant seeds? I am definitely interested. I only grew black beauty this season, but I'd like to expand the varieties I grow for next year.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 12:14AM
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I never have, but want to try growing Black Beauty eggplant in containers. I bought the seeds and they have germinated. They are presently under lights with my tomato plants. I was fortunate enough to be given four black plastic pots, (that small trees and/or bushes come in), from a local nursery. They are round, 16" across by 15" deep. I was wondering if they would be good for eggplants or if I should put tomato plants in them and put the eggplants in the ground where the toms were suppose to go. Is there anything else I should know to be successful? Any suggestions as to the type of soil to use in the pots? This will be a first for me! Thanks. Paul

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 11:52AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Don't know how I missed replying to this thread... guess it just fell through the cracks.

I obtained 4 Filipino eggplant varieties from the USDA, as part of a larger project to find Filipino vegetables that would succeed here & re-introduce them to the local PhilAm community. (The project itself succeeded beyond my expectations, with several outstanding results.)

They were grown out for trial in 2007. While all 4 eggplants survived in my climate (much to my surprise), most were unremarkable.

One of them, however, showed great potential. The plants were low & spreading, and very vigorous. They blossomed heavily & early, with flowers in numerous clusters. They began setting eggplant before the others had even started blooming, as early as "Casper", which is my earliest. The fruits were a silvery-purple, with almost a silky appearance, and were about 5" X 1" when young. At one point, a single plant had nearly two dozen fruit!

The drawback? The plants were heavily thorned, not only on the calyx, but on the leaves. I needed leather gloves with gauntlets to harvest!

The plants, as with many USDA accessions collected abroad, were variable; the other plant in the trial (not pictured) had smaller, rounder fruits. I will be re-growing that variety this year - with a larger sample - in an effort to select for the best fruit size & yield.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 11:17PM
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I was happy to see this thread -- I love eggplant also! Several years back, I threw some eggplant seeds into a bleak planter where nothing lives because it gets full summer sun. To my surprise, every year the eggplant plant continues to come back on its own!

I had never known that it loved the sun -- so I have now set my sights higher to start planting more varieties and more deliberately.

I adore fried eggplant and Baba Ghanoush. Can't wait to try some of these other recipes. So happy to find others that are crazy about this plant also!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 1:40AM
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natalie4b(7b GA)

My entire kitchen is decorated with eggplants! I LOVE this gorgeous fruit! Homegrown is so much tastier then a market bought. This year there are two maturing in my garden - Ichiban and a Black Beauty. After reading this article I am inspired to get more of different varieties and give all those recipes a try. Wow - I had no idea there are so many eggplant enthusiasts. I though I was one of very few. Nice to meet you all!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 8:25AM
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I am so glad to see other people interested in eggplants (granted this thread has been goign since '04). I am completely in the dark in terms of heirloom varieites and pretty much most other varieties as well. If you had to pick three varieites, what would tye be and why? I want to understand why one is better than another aside from color, size or shape. Things like 'thin skin, doesn't get bitter, early harvest' and so on are what I'd like to know.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:37PM
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My understanding is that some of us with Italian heritage are genetically allergic to tomatoes and or eggplant. Hard to imagine an Italian allergic to tomatoes, isn't it. Salting and rinsing the eggplant removes some of the offending substances. I personally like an eggplant parmesan that makes my mouth swell, so I don't salt and rinse. Any way you eat it, it's good! I really came to this thread though looking for growing tips, but now all this talk about it fried, grilled, sauced, Imamed, rattatuied, mousakaed, and broiled has me salivating. I have grown tomatoes religiously for years but only occasionally ventured to grab a six pack of black beauties from the local greenhouse as they never seemed to bear well in z5. Now that I have moved to even colder surroundings I decided to give them a try this year. I chose Applegreen as it was developed by Elwyn Meader (one of my idols) at nearby University of New Hampshire for northern growers. I planted 2doz. on March 16, the same day I started my peppers and tomatoes. Today I transplanted my tomatoes, right up to their bushy little heads, in 3in. pots. My peppers will require transplanting soon as well. Alas the eggplants have languished. I have 3 very dejected looking seedlings that might make it, some of the rest popped and then flopped. I never use a heat mat but I reseeded my cells and have provided a bottom heat source thinking this might be the problem. I use pro-mix, room temp is 70 plus, four 4ft. grow tubes directly above the domes, and a nice sunny south facing window as with all my other plants. 48 tomatoes, 60 peppers all ready to transplant in less than a month, but no eggplant. Any thoughts from you more experienced would be appreciated. Lastly, Moosewood cookbook has a great Imam fainted recipe. I also found a place called Solana Seeds in Quebec that carries lots of unusual varieties. Between them, Baker Creek, and J.L. Hudson seedsman one can find just about anything. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:26PM
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coffeehaus(7a Central VA)

I admit to being another eggplant addict. In restaurants, I will order any eggplant dish on the menu. We grow several varieties every year. My favorite had been Neon...beautiful magenta skin, very white flesh, productive and with good flavor... but it's been hard to find seeds. The last couple of summers I have had good luck with "Orient Charm". To support the plants which sometimes get top-heavy with fruit, we use those erstwhile funnel-shaped "tomato cages" sold at the big box stores. For a truly wonderful selection of heirloom eggplant varieties, check out the link below to Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. A friend gave us their catalog this spring and it's "eye candy" for gardeners! Next year, I plan to grow a couple of the fascinating eggplants found there. *Disclaimer: I have NO association with this business!*

Here is a link that might be useful: Baker Creek

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:35PM
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Violet_Skies_(5b S.Central WI)

I bought seeds from Baker Creek this year and was extremely disappointed in the germination rates. I won't be buying them again. I am an experienced gardener so there is no excuse for the poor performance of these seeds. I do plan to write to the company and let them know. Of twelve cells of Rosa Bianca eggplants seeded, exactly one germinated. And there were at least three seeds planted per cell. The seeds were bought this spring, so they should have been good. They weren't. :-(

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 11:30AM
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I'm so happy that I found this message. I wondered why it was so difficult to find eggplant seeds. When I found packs of the seed, all were 'Black Beauty'. Now I know that other varieties exist.

I look forward to growing this during the summer.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 6:46PM
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This year, I am growing eggplant for the first time. I have chosen a Japanese eggplant called kurume long purple.
Has anyone grown these before?
I got them from Richters.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:48AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I grew a small eggplant called Dewako for the first time in the ground instead of in pots and did get ripe fruit. But I would like to find some varieties that bear in clusters, since even when I grew them in pots I sometimes only got one nice large eggplant in one season, not very worth all the work. What varieties have clusters for you?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:38AM
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I have grown Black Beauty for ten yrs or more with hit or miss success. Used to have a big problem with potato bugs. I raise Iciban in containers now and last yr had good success with Dusky. The past two yrs I have had to battle flea beetles. The container Ichiban last summer loved rain water mixed with bagged manure. I mostly fry eggplant after egg and meal but I like the casserole my wife makes with breadcrumbs and cheese. Just starting to try grilled but dont know about that yet.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 3:51PM
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I have been growing eggplants for three years in east central Wisconsin.
Ichiban Imp.- wonderful, prolific, tasty
Snowy - delicious, prolific, white and lavender
Rosa Bianca - only got two, tasty
Millionaire - heavy cropping, delicious purple
I had the most success growing them in very large plastic and wood pots on my cement patio, which gets quite hot with a lot of reflected sun. I planted petunias in front and eggplant in back of the pots, fertilized them with bloom booster every other week, usually watered daily, depending on the weather.

My favorite recipe is to slice them diagonally, add red sweet pepper strips, sometimes zucchini, onion, garlic, then lightly drizzle with a mixture of balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Toss. Spread in foil lined pan, sprinkle with "Mayo Clinic Everyday Seasoning" and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 min. Spread basil pesto on both sides of a split french bread loaf. Layer on veggies, sometimes shrimp or thin sliced smoked ham. Top with cheese. Bake till bubbly & golden. Eat open faced or closed.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 11:04PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

A nine year thread, I canot believe it! I'm another eggplant fanatic! Violet Skies, I just had your experience, very poor germination with 3 out of 4 eggplant varieties from Baker Creek. But an e-mail to them got a response very quickly, abd they are sending rreplacements. I hasten to add that in 4 years of buying seeds from them this is the first problem I have had, and they certainly handled my complaint well. The Fengyuan from BC germinated very well. My fav eggplant is probably Pingtung but I will eat any! For recipes, there is a wonderful website entitled "Ashbury's Aubergines". My favorite there is the Eggplamt Linguine. Now if someone will just develop a strain that is resistant to flea beetles...

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 6:27PM
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I have grown the large black eggplants in the past. This year I have smaller plants with 12 + fruits per plant, but they are small. From they appear to be listada de gandia. The don't seem to be getting larger than about 4-5 inches long and about 1 to 1.5 inch diameter. Do I wait for them to get larger, or do people eat them this size?
I can't imagine the 18 inch plant being able to sustain that many if they get large.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 11:36PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

You can add another year to this thread. I am not a fan of eggplant, in fact, I only started eating it about 2 years ago. However, my DH is a great fan and I have grown them for him. My first try was with Fairy Tale, but I found them too small and quite tough-skinned. Another year I grew an Italian eggplant, in a pot, which was very good. Quite large, deep purple. Last year I grew nursery grown plants and got nothing. I was away for much of the summer and in September, they had just started to flower. This year I have seeds of Kurume long Purple, and Little fingers and that's how I found this site. I think I just to have start my seeds indoors early, and I have just done that. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 6:38AM
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I have a few Asia egg plans (I grew it from seeds & transplanted). Initially they started growing well, nice big leaves, etc. Now, I see problems with it. Some of the older leaves are turning brown. The plants have some flowers but not fruiting? Some leaves have holes in them. Please help.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:20PM
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2nd Image

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:21PM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

The holes are due to flea beetles, which are very hard to control. My best guess about the brown areas is fungus - try spraying with Daconil, which is a general fungicide. As for them not setting fruit, the problem is lack of pollinators, and not a lot can be done about it except hand pollination.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Last year and this year I grew three varieties of eggplant:
Burpee Emperor's Choice - black, Japanese, oval shaped
Pingtung - Purple, Japanese, long spear shaped
Raveena - apple green, Japanese, smaller spear shaped

Raveena tends to be seedy, tough skinned and bitter. Won't grow it again.
Pingtung is tender, sweet & mild.
Emperor's choice is also tender sweet & mild, wider that Pingtung which makes easier to prepare. Heaviest yield this year.
Will grow pingtung and either Emperor's Choice or another wide, black type next year.

The only way I can get a big yield, or any kind of decent yield in my northern short season Wisconsin is to grow the plants in large containers on a sunny cement patio. Eggplants & sweet peppers thrive there. Water as needed; pots need water often. Last year I fertilized with 10-57-10 every two weeks and had huge yields. This year I fertilized less often because otherwise yield is too heavy for me to deal with and most of my friends, neighbors and family do not like eggplant, or are afraid to try it.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2014 at 10:24AM
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