Don't you love it when an impulse buy bears fruit (rather than fails miserably)? Well, this one, an Asian eggplant, is finally starting to deliver the goods, although at this stage there's little prospect of a glut. Just two fruit so far, but there's promise of several more here and there, judging by the growing number of flowers.
It was early December when I went looking for something to fill a hole in the garden for three or so months, until it's time to plant a new dwarf tibouchina here. The words 'Asian eggplant' leapt out from the seedling bench and so I brought it home. Now, two months later, it's bearing fruit. Not bad at all, but they say eggplants need warmth to do well and it's been quite warm since early December, so I suspect my time has been accidentally spot on.
If you've grown tomatoes or potatoes you'd recognise a Solanum family member's flower. This lilac/mauve and yellow person's name is Solanum melongena, Asian eggplant to her friends. And if you want to know a lot more about all sorts of eggplants, this not very sexy but super-informative Melbourne Uni website is a useful place to check out eggplants.
So far, only two fruits, each reaching a size just a bit bigger than a golf ball. (And if you're wondering about those other, tiny, pea-size Thai eggplants, they're Solanum torvum, and they're listed at that Melbourne Uni website linked to above.)
I don't plan to do anything especially innovative with them in the kitchen. Into a Thai green chicken curry pot they'll go, chopped up into big chunks. However, I will saunter down to my local Asian foodstore and buy a new batch of made-in-Thailand green curry paste, which has a lot more flavour, spice, aroma and kick than the innocuous supermarket Thai curry pastes. It's the least I can do to do justice to my home-grown Asian eggplants.