Our Eggplant Year

One of the very best things about this lifestyle is that we are able to grow and raise most of the food we eat. Yesterday, for example, everything I ate came from this farm and much of it was freshly picked.

Last night for supper we had a delicious eggplant casserole, made from eggplant I picked a couple of hours early. That’s right, fresh eggplant in November. In fact, it’s been so warm here this fall that the eggplant is still blooming.

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Of course some of you will know this tasty vegetable as aubergine. But in the English-speaking world beyond the U.K., the misnomer “eggplant” (acquired because the most popular version originally was white and resembled a goose egg) has stuck.

We had an excellent crop of eggplant this year. We grew the popular Black Beauty variety, but we also grew two Asian varieties (“Millionaire” and Ping Tung) as well as a dark purple variety called “Nadia.”

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Millionaire

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Black Beauty

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Nadia.

(Ping Tung is light purple, the prettiest variety we grow. But alas it’s gone now and it seems I didn’t take any pictures of it.)

Truth be told, we probably grew more than we should’ve. We eat and sell a lot of eggplant, but not as much as we grow.

There was an interesting development late in the season, however. Earlier this year we were donating our unsold eggplant to our local food bank. The director eventually nicely asked us not to donate it any more, because the patrons didn’t want it. That was understandable. I never ate it when I  was growing up here. Eggplant just isn’t part of our traditional food culture.

But by later in the year the food bank was not only accepting eggplant donations, it was even often buying eggplant from us. At our farmers market there is a “donation station,” where visitors can donate some of the food they’ve bought, or make cash donations (which are used by food bank staff to buy fresh produce from the vendors). As it turned out, they had begun to give recipes along with the eggplant and soon afterwards food bank patrons began to request it. So we were able to donate it again, and on some weekends some of the farmers market donations were used to buy some of it as well. A very pleasing development.

So it’s been a good eggplant year. The harvest is going to be over very soon though. The last two nights we’ve had our first frosts of the year. But luckily for us, there’s plenty in the freezer.

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42 comments on “Our Eggplant Year

  1. thesnowwoman says:

    Lovely eggplants. I just made eggplant Parmesan last night and it was delicious.

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  2. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, our weather here has been unusually warm as well with no change in sight. I’m not sure how long it will continue but my gardens are all put to bed. Tomatoes were my supreme crop this year. I canned enough to last me two years and still they kept producing. I gave away as many as I could and still the harvest was by the bucket. I set them out by the road in front of my garden and they disappeared over night. Our first frost was three weeks ago but then it has warmed up and night temperatures haven’t even been close to freezing.

    The Fall trees are gorgeous this year. There’s been no rain, very little wind, and warm temperatures. The leaves have slowly turned golden orange and dribbled off. All the trees here have been absolutely stunning. I’m kind of sad to see it end but the color has lasted longer than any other year that I remember.

    Have a great egg plant eating day.

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    • Bill says:

      Fall has been pretty here too Dave. But unusually warm. And we haven’t had any rain in over a month. I’ve been irrigating, and I’ve never done that in the fall before. It’s been getting down into the high 30’s at night this week though, so maybe it’s going to call off. I finally cranked up the wood heater yesterday. But still no rain in sight.

      Yesterday it was over 100 degrees inside the hoop house. I’ve been rolling up the sides during the day but it’s still way too warm for the cool seasons crops in there. But germination was amazing. I broadcast the seed and I think every single one of them germinated. I’ve got a lot of thinning to do now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    This tickled me. I found some members of the Solanaceae family on my travels: an Arkansas variety of Solanum spp. which is most common around here as silverleaf nightshade. I didn’t realize that eggplant’s part of the family, too, but the photo of the family made that clear. Once you know the flowers, those banana-shaped stamens are unmistakable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree–sometimes it’s just a matter of not knowing what to do with it.
    I never ate Kale before, but since discovering a few enjoyable ways to prepare it, it’s a new favorite–especially for late season eating out of the garden.
    Glad you were able to “re-home” some of your extras. Happy Fall

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  5. valbjerke says:

    Handing out recipes with produce is an excellent idea – I find the same mindset here…. many people simply don’t know how to prepare food any more, and if it’s something they’re not familiar with – they’re reluctant to try.

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  6. Dani says:

    How about posting your eggplant casserole recipe too… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Two years in a row our eggplant was ravaged by flea beetles, and I’ve never tried to grow it again.
    What’s your secret? I’m going to buy some seeds this year…

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    • Bill says:

      Flea beetles ravage ours too. The first year we grew it I just assumed that it would impossible to grow eggplant here organically without using row covers. But what we’ve discovered is that the eggplant overpowers the flea beetles. Eventually it just grows right past the skeletonizing. We’ve never lost a single plant to the best of my knowledge, even though our eggplant look doomed every year.

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  8. My mother made an occasional eggplant dish when I was growing up, Bill, and I could never get too excited about it. In Africa, I discovered eggplant soup and chop. Mmm-good. 🙂 –Curt

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  9. avwalters says:

    I love eggplant, and grew it for years. Finally, Rick confessed that he hated it. (Really, what’s not to like?) I guess it’s a texture thing. I didn’t grow it this year and I’m still thinking about the strategy for the future.

    It’s warm here, too. Mid-sixties, in November! A couple of frosts, but I’m still getting tomatoes and peppers. I am loving the weather, but it is confusing the hell out of the bees!

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  10. Oh the colours, Bill; the textures… So absolutely flippin’ GORGEOUS! (Too bad about those blessed thorns; )

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    • Bill says:

      I get blown away every year by the beauty of fall. I like to think of it as Nature painting a picture. And no two are alike, every year we get a new one. But they’re all temporary and we only get to see a limited number of them before our time runs out. Maybe I shouldn’t think so much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie Graves says:

    Oh, how I love eggplant. I must admit that I, too, have not cooked it with it much. It’s certainly not a traditional Maine vegetable. Slowly, I am learning how to use it. Nice to know this old dog can learn a new trick 😉

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  12. Leigh says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! I’ve never been successful at growing eggplant. I confess I don’t try to hard because I’m the only one in the family who likes it, but gosh I wish I could get at least enough to enjoy a small harvest.

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    • Bill says:

      The biggest problem we’ve had to deal with are the flea beetles that attack it when it’s young. Fortunately our experience has been that the plants survive and ultimately thrive. One great thing about eggplant is that deer don’t eat it. At least not yet.

      Like

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