Eggplant Yumminess

Eggplant

Solanum melongena

Eggplants come in many varieties: large, small, long, fat, round, purple, white, red, yellow, orange. Start looking into the variety of eggplant and have fun with cooking with them.

Antigua Striped Eggplant

Before I discovered the heirloom asian varieties of eggplant, this nightshade didn’t exactly blow my skirt up. I didn’t detest it or anything. I just found the flavor kind of limited. When I discovered the little guys, particularly the antigua striped eggplant, and I started oven roasting them, I could barely keep my hands off of them long enough to use them in a recipe. If you have issues with the more familiar, mucilaginous and pulpy eggplant, you should try out the little guys. They truly are delicious.

Nipple Fruit Eggplant

Guanglian White Eggplant

A major point I am trying to get across to people new to growing in Arizona is that when you become accustomed to the climate, you will find yourself luckier than people in most other climates. We can grow almost anything here. Eggplant is a case in point: gardeners in northern climates have issues with eggplant because they lack the warmth and light needed by this tomato relative. Eggplants love our climate.

Start plants indoors in late January, early February in Tucson in the brightest window you have, under a grow light, or in a cold frame or greenhouse. Seedlings will sometimes be lanky indoors. Brush your hands over plants to encourage toughness, and harden off before you put outside (hold water back a little).  Plant out when you are no longer worried about the frost, or devise a way to protect plants if a frost is to occur.

Eggplant loves enriched garden soil in the full sun, but is not terribly picky. However the seedlings detest root disturbance. Never sow plants in flats and be very careful with the root ball when you plant them. Mulch plants well as they get bigger and stake them so they can handle an abundance of fruit. Space out according to each variety, usually about 18 inches apart. Feed occasionally with kelp, fish emulsion and/or compost tea.

To be expected Kitazawa has a great selection of Asian varieties. Baker Creek also has a great selection of heirloom varieties.
Here is one simple way to prepare eggplant, super delicious:

I love this guy. Eggplant chutney:

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Eggplant Yumminess

  1. One of the more spectacular and fun ideas I saw when I lived in Pasadena, was a nursery with a potager, a formal, French-style vegetable garden. One feature was a long arched passageway with Guanglian White Eggplant growing on it. The eggplants dangled comically above your head as you walked through.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s