Thursday, February 11, 2010

Asian eggplants

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.)

As there are only two fruit on the plant I might as well show you the whole crop in all its glory!

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.


greenfumb said...

I've got one of those, they're brilliant. It's in it's third year now and till going strong.

No-one actually likes eggplant as a vege so I make baba ganoush out of them - delicious.

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Beautiful :)

Lanie said...

They look great, I'll keep my eye out for one (or seeds) next year. I love using the small eggplants whole in curries.

dining room table said...

So there is really a difference between the ordinary and the Asian eggplants? They look good and the shape is quite different.

Jamie said...

Thanks for your comments everyone (and Greenfumb, I didn't know they were a perennial!)

Dining Room Table: do check out the Melbourne Uni website I linked to in the posting. There are stacks of different eggplants there, many shapes, sizes and colours.

greenfumb said...

Not sure they're supposed to be perennial, the ones I've had in the past only lasted a season but this one is obviously a very determined one.

They do self seed pretty easily though so it's no problem to keep one going all the time.

Chartreuse said...

The many different eggplants available at the market - including some small round green ones offered with a selection of wild herby greens and various trimmings that are piled onto portions of grilled fish inside raw cabbage leaves, the lot rolled into a package to be dipped in various sauces - these were among our favourite foods during years spent working in Laos.