Eggplants ....From garden to plate

Aubergine beauties
Never imagined that I will have the patience for gardening but the prospect of cooking with freshly harvested quality produce was too tempting to forgo...Good things do come to those who wait!  

Very proud of my recent eggplant (aubergine) harvest. They are a fast-growing mini Thai variety which makes them ready for harvest in 3 short months (from seed to harvest) and they grow nicely in large planters I have out on my balcony - the only place where I can get 4-6 hours of direct sunlight! Was surprised to read that eggplants i.e. the fruits are actually a type of berry and the small soft seeds are often bitter because they contain nicotinoid alkaloids i.e. tobacco...hmmm. Nevertheless, I love the silky texture of cooked eggplant and growing them right at home brings me great pleasure....

These spring up pretty quickly during over May & June when we got some intensely hot & humid days, yes even by Singapore standards....Eggplants are rapacious feeders so do add organic fertilizer once every 2 weeks to encourage foliage growth.

Eggplant flower

When you see these pastel purple flowers with their yellow stamens bloom, you are not far from getting your eggplant. Unlike cucumbers flowers (my cucumber post will follow shortly, i promise) , eggplant flowers are complete i.e. they contain both male and female parts and they self-pollinate. But you should never leave such things to chance and I recommend dragging a paint brush delicately across the stamens to hasten pollination. 

Patience is needed here. Had to stop myself from harvesting them right away! I am told they are ready when their skin turns a shiny deep purple colour. 

Finally! On the chopping board and next stop the smoking hot grill

Grilled eggplant with steak and garden salad. Totally satisfying and makes the months of tendering all worth it

~ Sharon

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