Different Types of Eggplant for your Garden

Whether you call them eggplants, aubergines or brinjals, these delicious vegetables are generally under-rated in the Western world. This may be because the best known recipes involve stewing the fruit, often along with onions, tomatoes and courgettes or baby marrows. Cooked for too long, even the best French ratatouille or Greek moussaka will lose its appeal and become slushy and mushy. There are many ways of cooking these veggies, from stuffing and baking them, to preparing them according to a multitude of lesser-known cordon bleu recipes. Flash-fried Indian style, or added to stir-fried Thai curry, they generally retain a fairly firm texture, adding a mildly sweet flavour to the dish.

Varieties of Aubergine

There are many different types of aubergine or eggplants, both in terms of shape and colour. Taste also varies, with the most popular modern cultivars boasting a mild flavour with no bitterness.

Probably the most common varieties worldwide are the large, vaguely pear-shaped, dark purple- or black-skinned varieties. While this is the type you are most likely to find in your local supermarket, you can also grow white, green and striped varieties. Some are egg-shaped, some long and finger-thin, while other types are small and rounded.

There are many different types of aubergine or eggplants, both in terms of shape and colour. Taste also varies, with the most popular modern cultivars boasting a mild flavour with no bitterness.

Probably the most common varieties worldwide are the large, vaguely pear-shaped, dark purple- or black-skinned varieties. While this is the type you are most likely to find in your local supermarket, you can also grow white, green and striped varieties. Some are egg-shaped, some long and finger-thin, while other types are small and rounded.

Asian pea aubergines

The tiny pea aubergine is one of the most interesting varieties of egg plant. A common ingredient in Thai cooking, it is usually added just before the dish is complete. Some of the seeds you might consider planting in your vegetable garden include:

Black Beauty A classic variety that’s been around for nearly a century. This is considered the original eggplant.

Florida High Bush Another old favourite that was first bred in Florida in the 1940s. The fruit it produces is black-purple and often grows to 10 inches (more than 250 mm) in length.

Amethyst Hybrid This one is new on the market and is said to be particularly sweet and mild flavoured. The skin of the fruit is deep purple in colour and shaped like a teardrop. It is recommended for small garden spaces.

Antigua An heirloom white eggplant with streaks of violet; also mild-tasting.

Fairy Tale Hybrid A winner in the States in 2005, this plant produces clusters of long, thin eggplants that have a stripy pale purple skin. The flesh is white and not at all bitter.

Green Goddess Hybrid Pale green and cucumber shaped, this variety promises a steady supply of fruit.

Kermit hybrid If you enjoy cooking Thai style, order these seeds right away. The little ball-shaped fruit has a diameter of about two inches (50 mm) and a green marbled-look sin.

Machiaw Hybrid Another Asian-type eggplant, this variety has an extra-elongated slender fruit. The skin is very thin and so you don’t need to peel it.

White Lightening Hybrid Oval-shaped and snow white, this eggplant is as pretty as it is tasty.

It may be a surprise to discover that eggplants are related to tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. It may also be a surprise to learn that you only need about six plants to produce as much aubergine as any average household is likely to eat.

Annette (55 Posts)

Annette Welsford has a partial degree in Horticulture and a Post Graduate Certificate in marketing. Having lived in the cold, temperate and hot parts of Australia and the UK, she has gained experience over the years with gardening in a variety of climates. Annette also worked for a fertilizer company where she was responsible for developing, editing and publishing a range of technical manuals on nutrition and fungal diseases for a wide range of horticultural crops including tomatoes. Annette is Managing Director of Commonsense Marketing Pty Ltd, a publishing and marketing company, responsible for the editing, design and worldwide marketing of the How to Grow books, and other products. Commonsense Marketing also provides expert offline and online marketing consulting and design services to a variety of small to medium sized businesses.


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