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Lonesomedave
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RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

this year I am growing three different eggplants

Ichiban
Fairy Tale
& Black Beauty

I have read some criticism of Ichiban that says they are not the best flavored, but we grew them last year and everybody thought they were pretty good

just wondered how you would rate my eggplants (or ANY eggplants, for that matter) for flavor

am i missing out on a better variety?....any thoughts appreciated

/dave/
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

imafan26
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

It depends on what you are using the eggplant for.

Black beauty is good for eggplant parmegiano.

Long Asian eggplant comes in different colors green, purple, striped, light purple and dark purple.
Most people like the purple eggplant because they are used to it. They don't like the color green.

For myself purple eggplant has a shorter bush life, they are only good when they are young and shiny. Once they get dull and hard they are bitter and the skins can be tough in a young or old one. This is still the most popular type for Asians because we will stew and stir fry them. Eggplants pick up the flavor of whatever sauce they are in so, except for seediness and bitterness and tough or tender skins they are all pretty much the same.

I like the green eggplant myself because of the longer bush life. They take longer to get tough on the bush and the skins stay tender even though they get quite large. They are green though so not as appealing a color when cooked but they taste the same otherwise.

Pintung long is a good eggplant for stews and stir fries because they are small and skinny which means less cutting and less exposed surface to turn brown and bitter.

The smalll petch type thai peppers can be very seedy and more bitter. And the turkey berry is a thorny and very bitter eggplant, but some Asians prefer bitter flavors with fish and in curries. It is an acquired taste. I don't care for them much.

Most people here do not like the large round eggplant like black beauty because of the large cut surface area. To keep them from getting bitter you need to either salt them or keep them under water. When I am making pork with eggplant, Evil jungle prince or spicy eggplant, I keep the cut ones under water. They absorb water like a sponge so usually you don't have to add water or much broth to make a gravy with eggplant stir fry or curries.

The white eggplant is hard but is very creamy so it is good for stews and curries.

There are novelty and mini eggplant as well. I used to grow Easter egg as an ornamental. It is a white eggplant that is around the size and shape of an egg. It was hard as most whites are but it was good for stew
Konasu and Dewako are bite sized eggplant sold by Kitazawa seed that can be used in stir fries but I most commonly see it pickled.
Two eggplant give me 8 eggplant every 10 days or so. Its a good thing they are easy to give away. Unfortunately my mom has an eggplant tree too that is indestructible and really thorny and I can't pawn any eggplant off on her.

Eggplant can becomes a medium sized shrub about 5 ft tall and is a short lived perenial here. My neighbor had one for 8 years. I usually only keep eggplant 2 or three years, but I grow mine in a pot and I replace it when production starts to fall off or the last one was replaced because it was infested with scale and it was already old.

My new eggplant is a long purple but I have already cut it back because of mites and it does not look really happy. I may replace it again it does not look like a strong plant and I would rather have a Roleks (Thai long green) anyway.
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Lonesomedave
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

man...now that's what i call an ANSWER...thanks loads

i believe, based on your surmise, is that i will keep the black beauty and fairy tale next year, and look maybe at a green or white asian eggplant to replace ichiban

/dave/
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

Mr green
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I don't have the extensive experience with eggplants as imafan26 has, and he got me interested in this green variety as well.

I like the Black Beauty and is the one im currently growing, i mostly make the Baba Ganoush And its a good one for it because of its big size, however i remove most of the skin in the process, if i could find one that aint so bitter skin i might put them whole. They are also really good for the barbeque or oven "grilled" due to its big diameter i think.
I havent tried many different kinds tho, the Black Beauty is the one we commonly will find in the stores here.

I wanna try this one next year called Wento it has smaller fruits supposed to be very quick and with continious harvest, sounds good for my climate, but will know when i tried. Its from Nepal.
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applestar
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

A new one I'm growing this year is called Kamo -- a Japanese heirloom from Kitazawaseed. I really liked Hari eggplant last year -- long green with tender thin skin. I saved one to mature yellow stage and saved seeds and am growing them this year. I also have a few eggplants I managed to overwinter in the house after hearing that they are perennial in tropical areas -- I think these are Diamond. Two other varieties didn't make it through the winter, but these are my first successes -- failed twice for the last couple of years, but I'll get the hang of it eventually.

Imafan, I would love to get the recipes for those eggplant dishes you mentioned:
When I am making pork with eggplant, Evil jungle prince or spicy eggplant, I keep the cut ones under water. They absorb water like a sponge so usually you don't have to add water or much broth to make a gravy with eggplant stir fry or curries.
-- could you post in the Recipes forum? :-()
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Mr green
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Would you like to share how you overwintered the eggplants? Or have you already? :)
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

glad to hear you're having successes with Eggplant now. Applestar! We had better luck with mid summer plantings here! I need to get some eggplants!

Awesome post there Imafan! Looking forward to seeing some of those recipes!
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Lonesomedave
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

how about this one?

https://yummytummyfarms.files.wordpress ... 171927.jpg

it is from an outfit called yummytummy farms, but there are others that have it

it is called the Cambodian green giant eggplant....here is a description from a site:


Cambodian Green Giant Eggplant

Here is a large, round, flat variety from the kingdom of Cambodia. We collected this variety in 2004, when we were touring this once war torn southeast Asian country. Attractive fruit are pale green with dark green stripes, and are lightly ribbed. This is a very unique color pattern for a large variety. We are proud to be among the first companies to offer varieties from Cambodia, a country with a delicious cuisine that is in danger of being lost. These are great eating, and have a deep, full bodied eggplant flavor.


anybody know anything about this one?.....i may try it next year

/dave/
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

catgrass
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I like Black Beauty-I mainly cook it as Eggplant parmesean or cooked up in rice dressing, I have planted Ichiban, and the green eggplant. Black Beauty is still my favorite.
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pepperhead212
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I have grown over 47 varieties of eggplant (that was last year, when somebody asked me how many, and I made a list, from memory, so I know it's more! lol), and Ichiban is one that I have grown since the 80s. It is almost always the earliest, and it is one of the best flavored, IMO.
Dave

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KitchenGardener
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I'm just marveling at all the excellent information you all provide!

Peter1142
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I grow Hansel and Galine as they do well in my climate. They are both great eggplants.
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pepperhead212
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Now that I have more time, I'll post some more info on some of my favorites, as well as others.

For flavor, it seems to me that most Asian EPs (the long, skinny ones) are sort of bland, but this isn't a bad thing, as most in most of the dishes I put them in they absorb the flavors, and the eggplant flavor is more or less covered up anyway. The few white eggplant varieties I have grown were the mildest flavored, and since they really didn't produce that well, I never grew them again. Those Ichibans are one variety that has kept the eggplant flavor, though not as strong as the large varieties, like Black Beauty. And most of the Asian EPs don't get much of a bitter flavor when over-grown- it seems that the ones with the stronger flavor are the ones that become bitter.

While I do make a note of the flavor, this is not the main thing I look at when deciding whether to grow a variety again. Most, like tomatoes, drop their blossoms when it gets into the mid-90s and above, and some even sooner. And some are very late, as with peppers. And some simply do not produce! I had one last season that I only got 3 fruits from the entire season!

I have grown 3 types of long green EP, and my favorite, because of production and heat resistance, is an Indian variety - Hari. While the others (Thai long green and Louisiana Green) were very late (both after 80 days), I get my first Hari shortly after 60 days, and non-stop production after that! Not at all bitter, even the seedy ones I left on too long. Definitely something I grow every season. Here's a 16" long Hari:
Image

Besides the Ichiban, the other of my three favorites is a hybrid - Neon. This is another fairly heat resistant variety, and incredibly productive! Early, though not quite as early as Ichiban, it is fairly mild, and does not get bitter, even when I miss an EP for a few days, and it gets seedy. Here's a photo of 3 neons, next to 2 Haris:
Image


Negra Lisa was a new large variety I grew last season. It was productive, though late, and had a decent eggplant flavor, and no bitterness in the one that I let get a little seedy. If I want a larger EP, I might try this again.

I have grown several Thai round EP - Petch, Kermit, and light and dark green. Can't seem to figure these out - the plants simply don't get very large, and produce briefly, then stop, like it's the heat. Yet, how could it be hotter here than in Thailand? lol I have had some other SE Asian varieties that seemed stopped by heat, and this didn't make sense. The flavor of the small rounds is different, but nothing special, and considering how few I get per plant, not worth the bother.

I am not at all fond of the Turkish eggplant - Solanum aethiopicum . I grew two types of this species, and both were very bitter when under-ripe (when you pick most EP!), and got sweet when ripe, but no great flavor, IMO. They were productive, I will say, and ornamental, with all of those orange fruits on them.

And then, there is the pea eggplant, a.k.a. bitter eggplant - Solanum torvum . This is an eggplant that is bitter, but the flavor is delicious in Thai curries - just 1/2 c is added, to give the dish one more flavor, to add to all of the other flavors. The plants are actually trees, and the flowering is late, which is why I start them on 2-1. Here is a photo of the 1/2" eggplants:
Image

This year's plant, ready to go out (if it weren't so cold!):
Image
Dave

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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Eggplant is a loser. Quite sure I will be just fine if I never taste another. Grow something edible such as crookneck squash!
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digitS'
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Eeww! Summer squash ... if it wasn't for zucchini bread ...

;) Pepperhead, there is gardening at high elevations in Thailand, altho, those tiny eggplants, I'm at a loss in the kitchen as to what to do with them.

You may not want to pay much attention to me. In my gardening environment, if I get 3 nice eggplants from the plants, I'm okay with that ... they need to be of some size for eggplant parmesan, however!

Long green or purple Asian types are useful and do better for me. Shoya and Roleks do well and have been in my garden for several years. So has Epic. It is a smaller Italian bell and also an early and dependable choice.

Steve
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imafan26
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Eggplant are a staple here. The turkey berry, Solanum torvum, is actually on the State's invasive species list. It is a tall tree with vicious thorns and the birds drop them everywhere. They are hard to kill or even get near, but the fruit is prized for its bitterness in Asian curries.

For the most part eggplant does not have a lot of flavor, except for seediness and bitterness. They actually absorb the flavor of any sauce they are in. It is mostly texture and skin toughness that is noticed. To me they have a mild sweet flavor that I smell more than taste.

Eggplant are easy to grow here, they live and produce for years. The green varieties are more productive for me than the purples and they have a longer life on the bush before they get too hard. A couple of plants produce more than I need. My mother has a wild eggplant that is very thorny but produces so much fruit she only needs the one plant. The thai eggplant produces a lot of little eggplant but they will turn yellow very quickly so they don't have a long bush life. The whites were the least productive. I did try some of the other colors but they are not as productive and most of them were large and round which is good for eggplant parmegiana but not so much for stir fries. Ichiban is a good one. I usually grow Waimanalo long which is a local variety that is not as long as ichiban but is thicker. It was bred for my climate so resists disease better. I usually grow the green eggplant because it is also very disease resistant and more productive than the purple varieties.
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Mr green
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

jal_ut wrote:Eggplant is a loser. Quite sure I will be just fine if I never taste another. Grow something edible such as crookneck squash!
You need to find a good lebanese restaurant and they might change your attitude for that plant, it is how it happened to me, i just love Baba Ganoush.

By it self its not such a good tasting crop, and if it needs to be good straight of the plant its a no no even for me.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

It's nice to have read this. A grower sells lots of different kinds at the Hubcity Farmer's Market. I'm drawn to the funky looking ones. Purchased a whole mess of Apple sized orange striped ones to make parm out of, and they were so bitter, we couldn't eat it.
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gumbo2176
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

jal_ut wrote:Eggplant is a loser. Quite sure I will be just fine if I never taste another. Grow something edible such as crookneck squash!

You say that, but you've never had my Eggplant Casserole either. LOL

My brother-in-law refused to eat eggplant his entire life until I brought over a casserole I made with some of them I grew in my garden. Now he loves it----well, mine anyway. Still refuses to eat most others.

catgrass
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

Eggplant takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. I like it, but I cook it with ground beef, fry it, make parmesean, grill it with cheese and tomato on top, eggplant dressing. And a lot of it depends on whose cooking it!
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imafan26
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I guess it also depends on what you grow up with. It is a staple of many cultures here so there are so many ways to use it. I remember Victory garden did an episode on Lanai and visited a farmer that grew vegetables for the hotel there and the host asked what anyone would do with so much eggplant. I guess he was not a fan either.

It is a very productive plant and it just keeps giving. It is way more productive than zucchini squash used to be. I also have more takers. Zucchini has some uses but it is seasonal so it is usually incidental to the stir fries and tempura. We can get eggplant for most of the year.
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gumbo2176
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

catgrass wrote:Eggplant takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with. I like it, but I cook it with ground beef, fry it, make parmesean, grill it with cheese and tomato on top, eggplant dressing. And a lot of it depends on whose cooking it!

This is pretty much true Catgrass. I peel and cube mine in1/2 inch cubes and cook it down in some shrimp stock until very tender. Then in another pot I'll do the trinity(onions, bell pepper, celery), and cook that for several minutes before adding garlic, green onions, parsley and several fresh and dried seasonings. To this, I add shrimp that were boiled in seafood seasoning and cut up a bit and reserve a few whole to finish the casserole.

When the eggplant is nice and tender I mix it all together in a large bowl then add Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and place it in a 9 x 11 pan. Then I top it with some Mozzarella Cheese and the whole shrimp boiled in seafood boil. You can store it in the fridge until needed then bake it in the oven uncovered for about 45 minutes at 350 until the cheese is nice and bubbly and slightly browned and serve.

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digitS'
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I want Gumbo and Catgrass ..

. to cook my eggplant!

:)

Steve
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pepperhead212
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I've known some people who would not eat eggplant, so I would "sneak it in" on them, usually in something puréed, like my ratatoille soup. And tonight (actually, last night, as it reheats very well), for Cinco de Mayo, I used up some of that dried eggplant and dried tomatillo I have, to make a chicken and eggplant in chipotle sauce, and the eggplant was barely recognizable - it just thickened up the sauce even more, when reheated, and it turned out great. I think that's another dish I could use, to fool an eggplant hater, esp. If I use the green skinned hari.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I want gumbo and Catgrass to cook my eggplant too.

I want your ratatouille recipe, mine is awful and so I don't make it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

gumbo2176
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

digitS' wrote:I want Gumbo and Catgrass ..

. to cook my eggplant!

:)

Steve
Catgrass and I are both from Louisiana, just opposite sides of the state, but the food is such a part of our culture that it transcends Parish lines. That's counties for the rest of the U.S. by the way. Our way of life revolves around good food shared with family and friends.

I've traveled this country on my motorcycle and spent many nights with club members of a motorcycle group I belong to and if time allowed, I'd fix them a good pot of gumbo for their hospitality-------hence the nic Gumbo2176.

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applestar
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Re: RATING EGGPLANTS FOR FLAVOR

I'm drooling over here.... :D
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