Magazine article Sunset

Glossy New Eggplants for the Garden

Magazine article Sunset

Glossy New Eggplants for the Garden

Article excerpt

Stunning to look at, delicious to eat

WHEN YOU GROW YOUR own eggplants, glistening globes dangling from lush plants are a visual reward. An even better payoff is edible: fruits harvested at their peak, when skins are tender, seeds are small, and flavors are rich and mellow. The ideal time to pick eggplants is when the fruits are two-thirds their full size; as the fruits mature, they lose their sheen, grow soft and bitter, and their seeds become large and coarse.

CHOOSE FOR TASTE AND BEAUTY

Eggplant varieties vary enough in taste, texture, and color to offer a number o tempting choices; above is a selection we grew in Sunset's test garden. Fruits range from deep purple tn lavender, red, green, white, and subtle combinations of these hues.

Asian types such as 'Bride', 'Little Fingers', and 'Thai Green' are vigorous, highly productive, very tender, and mild-tasting. Others, such as 'Bride', 'Italian Pink Bicolor', 'Osterei', 'Pallida Romanesca', 'Rosa Bianca', 'Violett Lunga', and 'White Egg', are particularly eye-catching, and in most cases, plants are compact. Most of these varieties do exceedingly well in small garden and containers. Smaller-size selections include 'Baby Bell', 'Osterei', and 'Slim Jim'.

For the traditional round or oval eggplant, choose from among 'Blacknite', 'Imperial Black Beauty', 'Rosa Bianca', and 'Violetta Lunga'.

In cool- or short-summer areas, 'Dusky' and 'Mini Finger' do well because they mature almost two weeks earlier than other varieties. …

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