Eggplant Harvest

July 23, 2007

I just wanted to share some of the organic heirloom eggplants that I’m growing and harvesting from the vegetable garden this summer.

Previous articles on this veggie gardening site covered tips for growing eggplants and discussed the exotic international roots of heirloom eggplant varieties.

eggplant harvest.thumbnail Eggplant HarvestNow there’s a new harvest maturing to provide additional images and examples of how colorful and interesting heirloom eggplants can be in the garden or the kitchen.

Tired and bored of the same old, dark purple eggplants that you’ve been purchasing from the local grocer? There are more choices and variety than you may have imagined, but the catch is that you’ll have to grow these babies yourself.

Here’s a collection of eggplants that are anything but normal or routine. The long and slender green fruits are “Thai Long Green”. The sweet and tender, long lavender eggplants are fruits from the “Ping Tung” variety.

eggplant line up.thumbnail Eggplant Harvest“Listada De Gandia” is the purple and white stripped Italian beauty. Then there are three different purple fruited eggplants including “Black Champion” and “Gitana.” And finally, there’s one of my personal favorites, the huge radiant green, oval-shaped fruit of the variety called “Green Giant.”

That’s just the beginning, there are more fruits of other heirloom eggplant varieties in additional sizes, shapes, and colors that I’ll be sharing as the season progresses.





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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Opal: Vegan Momma July 25, 2007 at 9:35 am

What a bountiful harvest. :-) How do you prepare your eggplants for eating? I usually stuff or saute my eggplants. I picked some from the garden this past Saturday.

Nicole July 25, 2007 at 10:58 am

Gorgeous harvest! I have been enjoying lots of eggplant lasagna (where you use grilled eggplant slices instead of wheat noodles).

Kenny Point July 25, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Opal,

My favorite eggplant recipe is a Ratatouille of cubed eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, squash, okra, and herbs picked fresh from the garden. Once in a while I’ll stuff eggplant or use them in a stir fry.

Nicole,

That eggplant lasagna sounds delicious also!

Penny Bond July 27, 2007 at 3:57 am

Last summer (We’re in winter here in johannesburg now) I had loads & lods of eggplants – or brinjals as we call them – and researched lots of recipes. My favourite is a Persian recipe, where you salt and drain slices, grill one side, turn over and top with a thickish layer made up of: peanut butter, plain yoghurt, ground cumin and bit of chilli. Grill or bake again until the eggplant is cooked and the topping done. Serve as is. Very different.

Another favourite is also Middle Eastern and Indian: Bake whole fruit in a moderate oven until very soft and puree with cumin, lemon, olive oil, yoghurt and of course salt and pepper. Serve as a dip with lovely bread. Known as Baba Ganoush. Also lovely. I first tasted it on a boat cruising down the Nile – and now find it’s pretty universal.

cheers -

Ottawa Gardener August 3, 2007 at 7:02 am

For some who might be interested, I could not grow eggplant well until I started mulching the ground with clear plastic. Now they are imitating zucchini plants with their productivity.

Kenny Point August 3, 2007 at 7:15 am

I used plastic mulch for the first time with eggplants this season too, except that I used the red colored variety. The plants did seem to grow better with the mulch and there were fewer flea beetles as well. Some of the eggplants are well over four feet tall but beginning to struggle a little from the lack of rainfall.

mums August 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I have several eggplants that voluntarily come up each summer. They have purple flowers and produce green fruit shaped like a big comma (paisley shape). They stay green, are a little fuzzy. I have never picked them, they just dry and reseed… are they eggplants, and how and when do I know when to pick and how to cook?

Kenny Point August 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Hi Mums, it’s difficult to say just from your description, but if you send me a photo I may be able to offer more assistance as to the identity. I do think that it would be unusual for eggplants to consistently reseed themselves and return every year like that.

Valerie August 29, 2009 at 1:12 pm

I planted 3 eggplant plants this spring. They had the most beautiful blossoms I ever saw. They have many long skinny dark purple fruit that aren’t getting fat like I thought they would. Some are losing color, getting much lighter. I don’t know when to pick them, because they don’t look like any eggplant I’ve ever seen in the grocery store. Thanks.

Kenny Point August 29, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Hi Valerie, some eggplant varieties grow long and slender rather than fat and plump. The color change can be a sign of maturity or of over-maturing. They are edible at any stage so harvest at any point from baby eggplants to whenever the reach their full-size, but don’t leave them on the plant too long after they stop growing unless you are saving seed.

Valerie August 30, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for the info, how do I tell what variety it is? It wasn’t on the tag from the nursery, it just said “eggplant.”

Kenny Point August 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Valerie, that may be tough because there are so many different varieties of eggplants out there. Your best bet would be to check some of the online vegetable seed catalogs and try to match your eggplants to some of the pictures and descriptions in the catalogs.

TOM August 31, 2009 at 3:55 pm

EGGPLANT CAPONATA
This is an old Itilian recipy that my mom and I use to make
HERE WE GO .

5 LARGE EGGPLANTS—– DICED ABOUT 1 IN, CUBES

2 LARGE ONIONS ——- SLICED

1 lb GREEN OLIVES [ OR ] 1 JAR
(depit and slice)

1 SMALL JAR CAPERS — 4 OZ.

2 STALKS CELERY — DICED

***************************************************************************************************

BOIL ONIONS AND CELERY LIGHTLY AND DRAIN,SET ASIDE.
SALT AND SAUTE EGGPLANT IN OLIVE OIL A LITTLE AT A TIME.
REMOVE EACH BATCH FROM PAN. WHEN ALL EGGPLANT IS
SAUTED, PUT IN LARGEPOT. ADD ONIONS, CELERY, OLIVES, CAPERS
AND MIX TOGETHER.

ADD TO MIXTURE,
3 8OZ. CANS TOMATO SAUCE
2/3 CUP VINEGAR
3/4 CUP SUGAR
1 TEASPOON PEPPER

SIMMER APPROX. 25 – 30 MIN. IF TO DRY, ADD MORE TOMATO SAUCE.
DO NOT OVERCOOK ******** ENJOY AND HAVE FUN.

************************************************************************
Let cool and place in glass jars and store in frig. it will keep for several weeks, if it last that long, or you can “can” and store in cool place.

Lorraine July 2, 2010 at 7:59 am

Hi, I had questions that I posted on your other site – Growing Eggplant – and now I have a question about harvesting. I first noticed baby eggplants about three weeks ago and all are growing, just not very fast. My first “baby” is about three weeks old and the size of a softball, the rest are about the size of a tennis ball. The plants are the Black Beauty variety. I fertilize every week with Miracle Grow. I am hoping they will be large enough to harvest by mid-July; I am going on vacation for a week and this unpredictable Florida weather may not grant rain that week and I don’t want to loose them all. Any idea on time to maturity? Thanks for your great advice!

Kenny Point July 2, 2010 at 11:07 am

Lorraine, you can harvest eggplants at any stage from baby sized fruits up to their fully mature size. They are really not fussy about harvest time, if you are going away I would harvest all of the decent sized eggplants before leaving and leave the smaller fruits to continue maturing.

Jim August 11, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I tried growing eggplants for the first time this year. Out of ten plants only two have produced eggplants. The others have flowered and appear to be doing well. Should I be doing anything to help the others produce eggplants.

Joe August 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

Hello,

I started my first garden this year, to varying degrees of success. I bought 4 eggplant plants and all have some growing. Minus the pesky bugs, the plants have been doing well.

I noticed up above that someone mentioned letting the eggplants stay on the plant itself if you are looking to save seeds. Is this true, and does it help the seeds stay preserved somehow? How long do you let the fruit on the plants, and how does one preserve the seeds through winter so they are successful seedlings the following year?

Also, as a general note, does anyone know why I have some plants like the eggplants and tomatoes that are growing several fruit, but yet my corn failed, my watermelon plants only have a few fruit, and my cucumbers mostly died off with only 2 growing anything at all? My cucumber plants have only grown a couple cucumbers, and while some little ones start, they just end up drying up even though they are watered.

Any helpful tips would be appreciated!

Kenny Point August 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Joe, its more a matter of allowing the seeds inside the eggplant fruits to fully develop and mature before harvesting. Likewise for peppers that you are growing for seed you would not harvest until after the fruits have turned completely red, yellow, purple, or whatever color they change to at maturity. You would remove the seeds from the pulp, dry them, and store them in a cool, dry location. I you have more than one variety or related plants growing in the garden then there are also tricks that you would need to know to keep the varieties isolated and maintain the seed’s purity.

The cucumbers likely were affected by a virus which is pretty common for cukes. The corn may not have received adequate pollination if you did not plant it in blocks rather than rows to allow the wind to spread the pollen among the plants.

You are doing very good for a new gardener… keep up the good work and stop by any time you have a question.

Joe August 27, 2010 at 1:23 am

Kenny,

Thanks for the tips. Do you have any idea if there is a way to prevent that virus you are talking about with my cukes? I grew many cuke plants from seeds and they all looked like they were doing great, but I’ve gotten next to nothing. Several actually grew into round balls?! lol Some have turned yellow.

I’ve harvested 2 eggplants so far and have a few more going which is great. They’re not very big, but still good.

lyn March 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Hi just want to thank you all for the notes on here its very educational.

I am growing asparagus now and enjoying it.

ashley murphy March 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

i have the biggest eggplant in the world weighing in at 32lbs beat that suckers :)

Kenny Point March 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

Cool Ashley, but you know the saying that goes around the Internet… “pics, or it didn’t happen” :-) Surely you took a photo of that monstrous eggplant and we all would like to see it!

Kathy July 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

Wow I just stumbled on this wedsite trying to find info on eggplants. I bought a patio eggplant this year(first time growing them). It has over 13 miniture eggplants on it. And I had no idea what size they grow to and when to pick them. Thanks Kenny for letting me know they can be picked anytime. They are so cute as veggies go, round and purple. I am also growing brussel sprouts for the first tome, man its hard keeping the slugs from eating the leaves,I use a powder that is for this but when I water them of course it washes the powder away. Any ideas? Thank you

Kenny Point July 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

Hi Kathy, there are slug traps that you can purchase, or make a homemade one out of a container sunken into the ground and filled with beer. Cooper also is a slug deterrent, there are strips that you can place around the base of the plant or if you can locate copper scouring pads you can pull them apart and wrap them around the base of the plants. Good luck!

Susan January 24, 2013 at 4:51 am

Hi Kenny,

We have eggplant growing in a hydroponics bin, that produces yellow fruit with a tinge of lilac. What could be wrong with them?

Kenny Point January 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

Hi Susan, I am not sure what the problem is. What variety of eggplants are you growing and what color should they be? Have you tested the nutrient levels of your hydroponic setup?

Susan January 29, 2013 at 4:39 am

We are going to try the nutrient testing…….eggplant may not be compatible with the other plants in there. I have no idea of the variety, but they are the long skinny shape!
Thanks for the suggestion.

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