Different types of eggplant

If ever there was a cross-cultural vegetable (or technically speaking–a fruit–but I’m not here to upset you,) it would have to be eggplant. While most countries have a beloved recipe featuring eggplant, they also have a variation on the vegetable itself.

The more common types of eggplant

Let’s begin with the American eggplant, also known as the Globe eggplant. This is the most typical eggplant in appearance with its rounded but elongated shape, with an ever-fattening bottom—don’t judge—dark purple skin, and an average seed-to-skin ratio.

Italian eggplant look quite similar to the American eggplant in color and shape. Their size is usually a bit more medium.

Globe eggplant are the most commonly recognized.

How do you use it?

Eggplant takes well to many cooking applications, including breading & frying, roasting whole to soften the insides for use in purees and soups, grilling, broiling, or sauteing.

Like most vegetables, they have a high water content. With this in mind, after roasting, I like to scrape out the softened flesh and pass it through a food mill. This leaves behind the lion’s share of the seeds and gentle fiber. I then tie it up in a beggar’s purse of cheese cloth and suspend it in the cooler over a bowl to catch the excess water. After letting it drain overnight, the resulting puree is tighter and more concentrated in flavor. This allows its contribution to recipes such as baba ghanoush (hard to say—easy to eat!) to be much more pronounced and delicious.

Or even more so my favorite: eggplant as a filling for homemade ravioli. Maybe with goat cheese! Maybe with chives! Stop-stop-we’re still just on the first variety of eggplant and I’m hungry already!

Baba ghanoush is a delicious Levantine eggplant mash that is served like hummus.

The more specialty types of eggplant

Sicilian eggplant are big and round, about the size of a grapefruit, and lighter purple in color.

Sicilian eggplant are lighter in color and quite round. They make fun slices!

The ever-elusive Fairytale eggplant and the Graffiti eggplant are teenager sized, and variegated in violet and white, with a delicate flavor and a creamy bite. These different types of eggplant fall into the heirloom specialty category of produce.

Graffiti eggplant are a little more “eggplant” shaped, as opposed to the slender shape of, say, a Chinese eggplant

Fairytale eggplant, on the other hand, are very slender.

Chinese and Japanese eggplant are similar to each other in size and shape, which is to say that they are long and slender. The difference is that Chinese are lighter purple, and Japanese are a dark purple like the American eggplant. These are fun to slice into cross sections, bread and fry to create crispy little bases for your favorite canape toppings.

Japanese eggplant (above) are much darker than the lavender colored Chinese eggplant (bottom). Note the darker and lighter calyxes, respectively.

And doesn’t it seem like things are so much cuter when they’re small? The baby eggplant, also known as Indian eggplant, fits into the palm of your hand and is an exciting single serve eggplant with a little menu creativity.

The baby eggplant, also known as Indian eggplant, fits into the palm of your hand and is an exciting single serve eggplant with a little menu creativity.

Thai eggplant is very unique from the others in that it is very small and very green, even when mature. It sometimes has some decorative white variegations. The texture on this eggplant is also differentiated from other varieties in that it is firm and seedy on the inside. This firm texture lends itself to long slow cooking techniques such as currying wherein it will withstand the flavor absorption without disintegrating. And if it’s too hard to remember which eggplant is green, you can always refer to it as the Kermit Eggplant as some of our associates here at FreshPoint do. (Editor’s note: this is true. 😊 )

These small green eggplants are called Thai eggplant, and are perfect in Thai curry dishes.

Here’s your fun fact

And in case EGGPLANT ever comes up on Jeopardy, you may be interested to know that hundreds of years ago, most eggplant grown were white and egg-shaped. Hence the name. White eggplant are still available, but as more of a specialty heirloom variety. As with many other widely grown vegetables, the varieties that earn the most ground space are those that are most resistant to invasive insects, drought and inclement weather, which is why the Globe eggplant is the most widely recognized.

Small, white, egg-shaped. Wonder where they got their name…

Eggplant are available more or less year-round barring any major weather patterns. Summer is their strongest season, where it can be found in the garden growing next to its good friends: zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Et voila… ratatouille is served with a cool rosé for dejeuner in the French countryside. Another stunningly beautiful cultural culinary creation featuring the humble eggplant.

Globe eggplant are available more or less year-round barring any major weather patterns. For availability and ordering information on any of the specialty eggplants mentioned, please contact your sales representative: some require special handling and can also be quite seasonal.

Content provided by Francy Deskin, the Specialties Coordinator for FreshPoint South Florida. She has spent 20+ years in kitchens, including as an Executive Chef, and she loves all things food. Follow FreshPoint South Florida on Facebook and Instagram.

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Yes, it’s true. There’s more to the eggplant than meets the eye. In fact, this versatile veggie, which most of us recognize as long, wide and purple, comes in many shapes and sizes. They can be small and round like a golf ball or thin and long like a zucchini; they can be white, yellow, lavender, pink or green. Some of the more popular of these varieties include the Thai Yellow Egg, the Japanese White Egg, the Ping Tung Long, the African Garden Eggs and the Chinese Round Mauve.

Thai Eggplants

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The most common eggplant grown in Thailand is the Thai Eggplant. This golfball-sized vegetable is bitter in taste; the seeds are particularly harsh and are removed before cooking. This eggplant comes in many colors, but is typically green with yellow or white stripes. The Yellow Egg is a Thai heirloom eggplant that’s yellow in color. The Thai Long Green is another heirloom variety that’s long and light green. These eggplants are used cubed in hot curry dishes.

Japanese White Egg

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The Japanese White Egg eggplant is very productive, giving large quantities of small white vegetables. These eggplants have a thin skin and a delicate, sweet flavor. The vegetable is slender and comes in a variety of colors including white, pink, green, lavender or purple. Its stem is most often dark purple. The White Egg is roasted and served as a side or added to Japanese soups or sesame chicken.

Ping Tung Long

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The Ping Tung Long eggplant is long and dark purple. Its flesh is tender and sweet. Named after its native town of Ping Tung in Taiwan, it’s popular throughout Asia. It’s best prepared grilled and served with salt and olive oil.

African Garden Eggs

bdspn/iStock/Getty Images

African Garden Egg eggplants are known for being small and bitter. They’re almost always yellow in color. This eggplant is usually grown in small gardens and eaten throughout West Africa. It’s usually prepared by being chopped into small pieces, cooked, then mixed into various meat, fish and vegetable dishes and sauces.

Chinese Round Mauve

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The Round Mauve eggplant is a Chinese heirloom with small to medium-sized fruits. It’s pale lavender in color with subtle patterns of purple. It’s usually eaten when it is the size of a tennis ball, which is when the seeds are least noticeable. The skin is soft, so it’s rarely peeled. You can use this eggplant in almost any recipe.

Common Eggplant Varieties: Learn About The Types Of Eggplant

A member of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, eggplant is thought to be a native of India where it grows wild as a perennial. Many of us are familiar with the most common eggplant variety, Solanum melongena, but there are a plethora of eggplant types available.

Types of Eggplant

For more than 1,500 years, eggplant has been cultivated in India and China. Once trade routes were established, eggplant was imported to Europe by the Arabs and transported to Africa by the Persians. The Spaniards introduced it to the New World and by the 1800’s both white and purple varieties of eggplant could be found in American gardens.

Eggplant is grown as an annual and requires warm temperatures. Plant eggplant after all danger of frost has passed in an area of full sun, in well-draining soil, with consistent moisture. Fruit can be harvested once it is one-third its full size and thereafter until the skin begins to dull, at which point it is over-mature and will be spongy in texture.

As mentioned, most of us are familiar with S. melongena. This fruit is pear shaped, purple to dark purple and 6-9 inches long with a green calyx. This purple-black hue is the result of a water soluble flavonoid pigment, anthocyanin, which accounts for the red, purple and blue coloration in flowers, fruits and veggies. Other common eggplant varieties in this group include:

  • Black Magic
  • Black Beauty
  • Black Bell

There are a number of eggplant types with skin colors from blackish purple to vibrant purplish green, gold, white, and even bicolor or striped skin. Sizes and shapes vary depending upon the type of eggplant, and there are even those that are “ornamental,” which are actually edible but grown more for show. Eggplants are also known as ‘Aubergine’ outside of the United States.

Additional Varieties of Eggplant

Additional types of eggplant include:

  • Sicilian, which is smaller than S. melongena with a wider base and skin streaked with purple and white. It is also called ‘Zebra’ or ‘Graffiti’ eggplant.
  • Italian types of eggplant have a green calyx with skin a deep mauve-purple with some light stippling on the skin. It’s a smaller, more oval variety than the regular/classic varieties.
  • White varieties of eggplant include ‘Albino’ and ‘White Beauty’ and, as suggested, have smooth, white skin. They may be round or slightly thinner and longer akin to their Italian eggplant cousins.
  • Indian eggplant types are small, usually a few inches long, and round to oval with dark purple skin and a green calyx.
  • Japanese eggplant fruit is small and long, with smooth, light purple skin and dark, purple calyx. ‘Ichiban’ is one such cultivar with skin so tender, it need not be peeled.
  • Chinese varieties are rounder with purple skin and calyx.

Some of the more uncommon and interesting varieties include the fruit of S. integrifolium and S. gilo, which lacks a solid inside and looks much like its tomato relatives. Sometimes referred to as “the tomato-fruited eggplant,” the plant itself can grow to 4 feet in height and bears small fruit that is only about 2 inches across or less. Skin color varies from greens, reds and oranges to bicolor and striped.

Another small variety, ‘Easter Egg,’ is a smaller 12-inch plant, again with small, egg-sized white fruit. ‘Ghostbuster’ is another white skinned type of eggplant with a sweeter flavor than the purple types. ‘Mini Bambino’ is a miniature which produces tiny one inch wide fruit.

There are an unending variety of eggplants and while all of them are heat lovers, some are more tolerant than others of temperature fluctuations, so do some research and find what varieties are most suited to your area.

10 Types of Eggplant—and What to Do With Them

Eggplant can be divisive. The notorious nightshade is both beloved and bemoaned for its spongey texture and tiny, bitter seeds. If you’re on the side of eggplant lovers, though, you’re more than familiar with its versatility. Eggplant is hearty enough to be a main, especially when it’s cooked whole or stuffed, but it’s also spectacular as a party snack, cut into loaded bites, or pureed into a smoky dip. If you don’t care for eggplant, I hope you someday find the gateway recipe that helps you enjoy it. There’s just too much delicious potential for you to miss out on it.

If you look at a few different varieties of eggplant, however, you may not guess they’re the same vegetable (Well, fruit). Thai eggplants, for example, look more like tiny watermelons, while Japanese eggplants look just like their emoji rendering. Read up on the different types of eggplant and how to use each so you too can be an auber-genius.

Easy never tasted so awesome.

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China is the world’s top producer and consumer of eggplant, so it’s apt that the Chinese eggplant variety is so distinct. It has a lighter, almost pastel exterior, with a white flesh and sweeter taste that fits its appearance. The Chinese variety contains fewer seeds than globe eggplants, and are therefore less bitter. These slender eggplants are better suited to quick cooking methods such as flash frying, stir-frying, sautéing, and grilling.

Recipes to try: Caramelized Pork Kebabs with Chinese Eggplant, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Walnuts, Eggplant Salad.

Fairy Tale Eggplant

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If a type of eggplant has ever stopped you in your tracks at the farmers’ market, it’s probably this one. Small and violet with mottled white stripes, this eggplant variety is such a looker it’s no wonder how it got its name. The interior is light, creamy, and delicately sweet, reflecting the beauty you see from the outside.

How to use it: Since they’re on the smaller side, fairy tale eggplants are ideal for sautéing, stir-frying, and grilling.

Globe Eggplant

Image zoom Photo Agnes Elisabeth Szucs/Getty Images

Also known as American eggplants, globe eggplants are what you’re most likely to see in a supermarket. They’re much darker and wider and have a tougher, meatier texture than other varieties, and work well as a protein or bread substitute, as well as sliced within a larger dish like eggplant Parm.

Recipes to try: Eggplant Lasagna, Eggplant Rollatini, Lamb and Rice Stuffed Eggplant.

Image zoom ewastudio/Getty Images

Also known as striped eggplants, graffiti eggplants are distinguishable by their purple and white exterior. Unlike other varieties, they don’t have a standard size. Their seeds and skin are pleasant, so they’re ideal for eating whole or pureeing. They taste similar to standard eggplants, but also have a delicate sweetness.

How to use it: Graffiti eggplant’s thin skin and small seeds make it great for roasting or grilling, especially whole.

Indian Eggplant

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Purple and spherical, Indian eggplants—also known as baby eggplants—are known for their small, round appearance and tender texture. The velvety interior works well in soups, stews, and dips, but you can also prepare Indian eggplants whole.

Recipes to try: Grilled Baby Eggplants with Green Onion Salsa, Braised Eggplant and Broccolini with Fried Ginger, Balsamic-Glazed Baby Eggplant.

Italian Eggplant

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Italian eggplants are like smaller, slightly sweeter, versions of globe eggplants that still maintain a thick, spongy texture. The sweeter notes in Italian eggplant work well with salty and umami flavors, such as those in meat or cheese, making them perfect for an eggplant Parmesan or a layered dish like lasagna.

Recipes to try: Italian Eggplant Casserole, Spaghetti Alla Norma.

Image zoom John & Lisa Merrill/Getty Images

Japanese eggplants, like the Chinese variety, have an oblong shape, but they’re not quite as long or thin and have a darker hue. They have a delicate, spongy texture that works well in stir-fries and a creamy, slightly sweet taste. Japanese eggplant is often grilled, as the variety takes on a beautiful, smoky flavor.

Recipes to try: Spicy Eggplant with Pork, Grilled Miso Salmon and Eggplant, Warm Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Eggplant.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

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Heirloom Rosa Bianca eggplants are one of the most eye-catching varieties around. They’re plump and round, and their purple and white exteriors have an almost ombre-like appearance. This mild variety is completely void of bitterness, and tastes best when sliced and roasted or grilled. Sadly, the exterior beauty fades as the Rosa Bianca eggplant is cooked.

How to use it: Rosa Biancas are a Sicilian variety, so incorporating them into a classic Sicilian or Italian dish is an easy win. Their mild flavor is a perfect complement for tomatoes and cheese, so an eggplant parmesan or pasta dish is an ideal place to use them.

Thai Eggplant

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Look at a Thai eggplant and it’s easy to see why eggplants are botanically classified as berries. This small, round variety has a green and white exterior and a pale pink flesh, although they can also be purple. They’re more bitter than other varieties, so if you’d like to avoid that, completely remove the seeds.

How to use it: Thai eggplants are commonly used in curry dishes, such as Chicken, Tomato, and Eggplant Curry.

White Eggplant

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The white eggplant is pretty much identical to a standard one, excluding its creamy skin. They have the same texture, same taste, and same capabilities, all wrapped up in a different color. There are plenty of heirloom varieties, such as the casper and Raja.

How to use it: You can cook a white eggplant just how you would with a graffiti or Italian eggplant. Try it in a dish that shows off its color, like Ratatouille Pizza.

Know your eggplants Part 3

American and European types and cultivars

Introduction

African eggplants
The Gilo Group

The Kumba Group
The Shum Group
The Aculeatum Group

Solanum anguivi Lam.

Solanum macrocarpon L.

Asian eggplants
Solanum melongena L.
Solanum torvum Sw.
Solanum ferox L.

You are here European eggplants You are here

Related Nightshades (Pt4)

Appendixes

Bilingual lexiques

African – English

Japanese – English
Malay – English
Thai – English

Cultivar descriptions and seed sources tables

African eggplants
Asian eggplants

European eggplants

The world of eggplants in a nutshell

American and European eggplants almost exclusively belong to the species Solanum melongena L. Many authors have attempted to classified them, sort them in groups, but this is rather difficult due to the tremendous variety of shapes, sizes and colours (although they are less colourful than Asian and African types). The best that one can do is sort them by groups. An example of group classification, among others, follows.

The small round-shaped (Rotondatum Group)

Catalogues call those “Cherry type” or “Cherry size” for obvious reasons.

Of course as it is far too often the case some round-fruited cultivars are not in the ” round-fruited group”. The reason is that their size is more significant than their shape so they are placed in the Giganteum Group. This group is almost entirely composed of Asian cultivars.

Reproduced from flickr with permission from copyright owner Christen Taylor

A most impressive display of ‘Prosperosa’ captured by Kristen Taylor at D.C. Dupont Circle market.
This variety is on the borderline, too large to be here, too small to be included into the Giganteum Group.

The egg-shaped (Ovigerum Group)

These are mostly represented by the Japanese cultivars such as Black Egg, White Egg (白卵形な す), Thai cultivars such as Yellow Egg, and Indian cultivars such as Egg Red but there are shades of these and other colours as well. ‘Ophelia’ (darker purple below) is one of the European cultivars. Catalogues call those “Egg type” for obvious reasons.

Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Wendy Moody

Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Candy Crabill

Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Jodi Mowery

Top mark for creativity in making the point

Top mark for creativity in making the point

Top mark for creativity in making the point

The large round-fruited or semi-oblong (Giganteum Group)

These are overwhelmingly represented by the Western types of eggplants. They are the large dark purple fruits of the supermarkets, and fresh markets of Europe and America. Some attractively coloured fruits from Italy, America and Asia such as the white, green and pink examples below feature in this group. Catalogues and the trade consider those “normal eggplants” so they don’t name them in any particular way, apart from using the cultivar name itself. There is a strong tendency in horticulture to replace those names by numbers, especially when referring to hybrids and GE varieties, something that as a lexicographer I dislike very strongly because it denies any sense of culture and tradition. This is understandable since those concepts are becoming obsolete in the brave new world order. I have to admit my bias here, I have deliberately left out any cultivar identified by just a number. Sometimes catalogues use expressions like “Enorma type” based on a better known cultivar, in order to identify those eggplants with more precision within this large group.

Variations on a theme

Reproduced from flickr with permission from copyright owner Laurel F. Stewart

An off-type of Rosa Bianca “Pink Beauty”?

a “Violet Beauty”
labelled as ‘Rosa Bianca’ by Terroir Seeds and others

Apologies
we are trying to find the copyright owner of this beautiful shot. Any help appreciated.

Reproduced with permission from SicilPlants Italy
‘Black Beauty’ Selection ‘Baffa’

Reproduced from an original with permission of copyright owner Eran Finkle from flickr

A recurring form of ‘Black Beauty’

Reproduced from flickr with permission of copyright owner Michel H. Porcher
A form of something well known but still looking for an identity. ‘Violetta di Firenze’ ?

Reproduced from an original with permission of copyright owner Eran Finkle from flickr

A recurring form of ‘Black Beauty’

青茄 子

‘Black Bell’

大丸 なす

‘Tonda Romanesca’

白茄子

‘Seta’
Photo credit Piante e Passione

The short or elongated fruits (Oblongatum Group)

In this group we find cultivars from both the East and the West. Many of the most attractively coloured fruits are in this group. To describe those, catalogues and the trade use expressions like “cluster type” or “Calliope type”, based on a better known type or cultivar name within a particular trading circle. These fruits usually range in size from 3 to 8 inches in length.

‘Long Purple’ 6 to 8 inches long.
Photo credit Southern Exposure

‘Lavender Touch’ 5 to 7 inches long
Photo credit Park Seeds

‘Antigua’ 8 inches long
Photo credits Long Island Seed Project

‘Louisiana Long Green’ 6 to 9 inches long
Photo credit Reimer Seeds

‘Rosita’ 5 to 7 inches long
Photo credit Southern Exposure

‘Neon’ 6 to 8 inches long
Photo credit Seeds by Design

‘Orient Charm’ 8 to 10 inches long
Photo credit Green Earth Growers

‘Calliope’ 4 inches
Reproduced from flickr with permission from the copyright owner: Louise

Japanese Oblong 長なす

‘White Beauty’ 5 to 6 inches long
Photo credit Southern Exposure

‘Lavender Long’ 5 to 6 inches long

‘Chinese Long Purple’ 4 inches
Photo credits Long Island Seed Project

The long-fruited (Cylindricum Group)

These are mostly represented by the Asian cultivars, Chinese in particular, but also a few Thai and one or two Italian. Consequently catalogues and the trade tend to name those after their country of origin. A Thai long type of a Chinese long type. These fruits range from 10 to 18 inches in length.

大长茄子
30 to 45 cm

(12 to 18 inches)

大長なす

40 to 45 cm

(16 to 18 inches)

25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches)

American and European cultivars on the world market

The intention in displaying the following table is to demonstrate that there is more to eggplants than the dark purple monsters from the supermarkets and to show a basic array of shapes and colours by naming a few cultivars. There are thousands more so they would not fit into a single table. A proper place would be a good searchable database. When we find one that we like we will let you know. We have collected far more data than was required for these articles. We will replace the tables in these articles by better more comprehensive records for each cultivar. This requires several more months in order to get clearance from various seed companies. If you are a programmer and good at handling databases we would like to talk to you. Together we may come up with something suitable. We have listed Asian and African cultivars in separate tables in their respective articles.

We have done our best trying to identify every cultivar mentioned. If we have made mistakes please tell us. We have not discriminated between so called organic source of seeds and others in order to offer the broad spectrum of what is available in the world. Some of the companies listed are not seed companies but sources of material. They could be selling seedlings or even produce. We are happy to point them out for they are part of the lesser known “eggplant world”. Again if we missed something please tell us, we will update this table promptly.

This is not a print publication but a live interactive guide. Comments are very welcome, we thrive on them – send mail to [email protected]

Botanical identification

(proposed)

Cultivar name / Vernacular name

Descriptive info.

(various sources)

Photo of cultivar or type if available

Solanum melongena L.

Antigua

Italian cultivar. 2” x 6″ beautiful, creamy white fruits with lilac-purple streaks. Flesh is extremely mild and bitter free. 90 days.

Available: Tomato Growers, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Applegreen

Apple-green, medium-sized fruits. Tender skin doesn’t require peeling. Choice variety for cool-season areas. 62 to 70 days.

Available: Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design

Baby Bell F1

The 30 cm high plants bear lots of jet black spine free fruits. Available: Nicky’s Nursery

Baby Rosanna F1

24 inches plant suitable for tub growing.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Baby Marbled

3-4″ lavendar fruits with apple green and white striping. 80 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Bianca Oval

Italian variety with 3” white fruits. 75 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Black Beauty aka Bellezza Nera aka Belleza Negra

Plant may produce 10 to 15 fruits 6-1/2″” long by 5″” diameter. Fruits can be large but best harvested when smaller. 72 to 85 days.

Available: Semi Al Portico, Nicky’s Nursery, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Park Seeds, Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a, Anseme S.p.a. Italy, Sementi Fuscello Gianfranco, Ktima Bioma

Black Egg

An early Japanese cultivar with small, tender, egg-shaped or pear-shaped fruits about 5 inches long. The 3 foot tall plant is somewhat tolerant of flea beetles, its foliage is green with purple veins. 65 to 75 days.

Available: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Black Enorma F1

30 inches plant. 75 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Blush

Creamy-white inside and out, with a lavender blush when ripe. Fine-flavoured flesh, 85 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Calliope F1

Oval white and purple striped fruit. 75 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Casper

Shiny ivory white fruits are 6 inches by 2.5. 70 to 75 days.

Available: Seeds by Design

Clara F1

Slightly elongated egg-shaped white fruits 6 to 8 cm, 100g each.

Cloud Nine

7″ (17 cm) long pure white teardrop shaped eggplants. Eggplant has bitter-free taste and has white flesh. 65 to 75 days.

Available: Reimer Seeds, Tradewinds Fruit, Seeds of India

Crescent Moon

All white fruit.

Available: Burpee

Fairy Tale

Petite plant with decorative miniature eggplants white with violet/purple stripes. The fruit are sweet, non-bitter, with a tender skin and few seeds. 49 to 51 days

Available: Nicky’s Nursery, Park Seeds

Farmers Long F1

Long slender purple-veined fruits 30 cm long and 3 cm in diameter. White tender flesh with excellent flavour. Early producing plant tolerant of bacterial wilt.

Available: Nicky’s Nursery

Florentine Silk

Pink-lavender fruits are medium size, and grooved with white shading on the shoulders. Flesh is sweet and mild. 90 days

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Florida High Bush

Plant disease and drought resistant.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Seed Savers Exchange

Green Egg

3″ round to oval apple green fruits. Mild flesh. Great stuffer. Seedy.

80 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Green Goddess

Available:

Gretel

The small snow-white fruits grow in clusters on plants 3′ wide and 3′ tall at maturity. Best picked when the fruits are about 3 – 4 inches but the skin will remain tender if the harvest is delayed. Suitable for tub growing (container must be about 16″ deep). 55 days.

Available: Park Seeds

Hansel

Clusters of three to six small purple fruits that will remain tender and sweet if the harvest is delayed. Plant suited to tub growing. 55 days.

Available: Park Seeds

Harabegan

Elongated shape, shiny green fruits borne in bunches.

Available:

Ichiban

Purple eggplant, almost black. Very flavorful and tender.

Available:

Indian Paint

Small round fruit from India, brightly colored with neon purple and white stripes.

Available:

Italian Pink Bicolor

Large bell shaped fruits are a creamy purple lavender with pink stripes. 90 days

Available:

Japanese White Egg

Available:

Langada Origin: Greece.

Lavender Touch F1

Pretty white teardrop to cylindrical 5 to 7 inches fruits glossy ivory washed in soft lilac. with a lavender blush. Excellent flavor. 63 days.

Available: Nicky’s Nursery, Park Seeds

Lebanese Bunching

Plant is covered with bunches of slender banana-shaped fruits 3 or 4 to a single stem. 80 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Listada de Gandia

Italian eggplant with many culinary uses.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Little Fingers

A smaller version of Lebanese Bunching. 75 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Long Purple aka Lunga Violetta aka Longue Violette aka Larga Violeta

Sturdy, heavy-bearing plant with dark-purple fruits 2 -2.5 inches by 8 -10 inches long. Best picked before they are 1 inch in diameter. 4 fruits per plant. 70 to 80 days.

Available: Semi Al Portico, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Fratelli Ingegnoli. Anseme S.p.a. Italy.

Longue Blanche aka Long White

Productive oriental cultivar bearing creamy white fruits with a smooth silky sheen without bitterness. 80 days.

Available: Plants Potagers, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Louisiana Green Oval

Louisiana Long Green

Plant 3.5 feet tall with light green banana shaped 6 to 9 inches sweet fruits, sometimes with pale stripes. 85 to 100 days.

Available: Seeds of Change, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Luna Bianca

Available: Semi Al Portico

Mirabelle

Available: Semi Al Portico

Moneymaker F1

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Nicky’s Nursery

Nadia

Uniform dark purple tender early fruits.

Available: The Grower’s Exchange

Neon F1

Ripens to a deep bright neon pink color (Sometimes confused with Rosita). Vertcillium tolerant and very adaptable to many climates. 70 days.

Available: Seeds by Design, Tradewinds Fruit

Night Shadow

Jet black glossy tear drop- shaped fruits.

Orient Charm F1 *****

Pink-white Orient Express type.

8-10″ x 1 3/8″ fruits with shades of fluorescent pink, pastel pink, and white with green calyx. Strong plant with high yields..

Available: The Growers Exchange, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Orient Express

Available:

Orlando F1

Virtually spineless, dwarf plants. Finger-length ‘baby’ fruits, 5cm (2in) have dark-purple skins and are not at all bitter.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Pandora Striped Rose *****

Italian eggplant with teardrop shaped fruits that are a lovely lilac or rose pink colour with thin white stripes running lengthwise down every eggplant. 85 days.

Available: Roguelands Vegetable Seeds Company, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Pingtung

Synonym of Ping Tung Long ?

Violet-purple sweet fruits 45cm long and 5cm in diameter. Disease resistant and highly productive (20 fruits per plant).. Top Chinese cultivar on the market from Taiwan. 62 days

Available: Nicky’s Nursery

Ping Tung Long *****

Synonym of Ping Tung ?

Deep shiny lavender fruits . Keep plant upright in order to get straight fruits.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Prosperosa *****

Italian eggplant. A real standout in the garden. Quite productive. 80 days.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd, Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds, Park Seeds, Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a

Purple Comet F1

Long Chinese type, dark purple almost black fruit. Fruit are about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Almost seedless at young stage. 55 days.

Available : Seeds by Design

Rosa Bianca

Italian heirloom, medium-sized 5-8 inch oval stunning light pink fruits with occasional creamy white shading, meaty, mild flavor with no bitterness, plants are 30 inches tall. 75 to 90 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Seeds by Design

Rosita

Lavender pink teardrop-shaped fruits. The white flesh is mild and sweet. The fruit skin is tender without a trace of bitterness. from Puerto Rico. Southern Exposure favour it over Rosa Bianca (an Italian heirloom). We experience the opposite. Rosita performs very poorly for us. 70 to 85 days.

Available : Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Rotonda Bianca Sfumata di Rosa *****

Beautiful Italian large size eggplant. White fruits with light pink rose blushing. Flavor is mild and flesh is tender. 90 to 120 days

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Sais Sementi s.p.a., Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a, Anseme S.p.a. Italy.

Round Mauve

Brilliant rose-pink fruits are teardrop shaped. Bright white shadow around the calyx. 90 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Slim Jim

10 cm purple fruits on 40 cm plant.

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a

Snowy

Medium white 18cm fruits with creamy white flesh and firm white skin.

Available: Nicky’s Nursery

Striped Toga Green striped egg-shaped orange fruits 7 to 8 cm long. Strong flavour but not bitter.

Available : Seed Savers Exchange, Graines Baumaux

Tsakoniki aka Τσακώνικη

Greek cultivar. Purple white striped fruits 18 to 22 cm x 3 cm , 200 to 220 g. Plant 80 to 90 cm
Available : Ktima Bioma

Twinkle

Available: Park Seeds

Udumalapet

See Pt2 Asian Eggplants

Violetta di Firenze aka Violette de Florence

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a

Violetta Lunga Precoce aka Longue Violette Hative aka Melanzana Lunga Violetta

See ‘Long Purple’

Viserba F1

Italian cultivar.

Available: Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd

Waimanalo Long

Productive, with long black fruits up to 16 inches. Mild and sweet flesh. 80 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

White Beauty

Plant suitable for in hot, humid areas (Sydney). Fruits average 5 to 6 inches in length, are slightly oval in shape. 70 days.

Available: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

White Egg aka Bianca a Uovo

Available: Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a

White Star F1

Plant 30 – 36 inches tall with tapered teardrop-shaped, smooth creamy white fruits.

Available: Seeds by Design

Zahara

2 x 6″ dark purple fruits. Mild fleshed.

70 days.

Available: Marianna’s Heirloom Seeds

Zebra F1

Italian style fruits approx 15 to 20 cm. Maturing in approx 70 days.

Available: Nicky’s Nursery

Sources of seeds

Note on the following companies.

A number of those are part of complex corporate structures and are difficult to contact directly. The main address that we give below is a starting point. We are not sponsored by any of those companies nor do we receive any favour from them apart from the odd catalogue photo. It would be nice to be able to link directly to a gallery or a photo or a description but this is sometimes impossible and practice has taught us that these links never last long anyway because online catalogues / sites are updated too often. The seed sources likely to carry Open Pollinated / bio ag. friendly cultivars are tagged with (O.P. cvs), Others are more likely to carry some hybrids but they may have also some organic sections such as Graines Baumaux. Few are either totally “organic” or completely “non organic” ie. holding only hybrids (F1 cvs) or GM cultivars.

Agriculture Consulting Ltd. (Official Ukrainian and Moldavian Distributor of Seminis). Also known as Scientific-Consulting Center (SCC ). Russian & English versions of every page. (16 F1 cvs)

Anseme Spa. Italy. (3 O.P. cvs)

Eden Seeds Australia. (8 O.P. cvs)

Esasem Spa. (Distibutor of Sakata Vegetables Europe) Italy

eSeeds.com Ltd. Retail online seeds from Thompson & Morgan, Botanical Interest Seeds, Unwins etc. (5 O.P. cvs)

Exotic Garden Finland (7 cvs)

Fratelli Ingegnoli S.p.a Italy (7 O.P. cvs & 2 F1 cvs)

Graines Baumaux France. (17 O.P. cvs) + (12 F1 cvs).

Green Earth Growers Seedlings, USA (18cvs)

Johnny’s Selected Seeds USA. Interesting online catalogue, very cool! (17 F1 cvs) + (1 O.P. cv)

Ktima Bioma Greece. (3 cvs)

Nicky’s Nursery UK (10 F1 cvs & 9 O.P. cvs )

Park Seeds USA. (4 F1 cvs & 3 O.P. cvs)

Piante & Passione – Italy. A division of Ecofaber. (Source of Melanzana ‘Seta’) (5 cvs)

Plants Potagers France. (8 O.P. cvs)

Podington Online Garden Centre. UK. (4 cvs)

Roguelands Vegetable Seeds Company UK (United Kingdom). (4 cvs)

Sais Sementi s.p.a. Italy. (3 cvs)

Seeds of Change USA. (11 O. P. cvs)

Seeds by Design USA. (8 F1 cvs & 12 O.P. cvs)

Seemnemaailm Estonia. (4 F1 cvs & 9 O.P. cvs)

Sementi Fuscello Gianfranco Italy

Semi Al Portico Italy.

SicilPlants Italy. Hold ‘Black Beauty’ sel Baffa (25 cvs)

The Grower’s Exchange USA.

Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd World wide. (5 F1 cvs & 4 O.P. cvs)

Tomato Growers Supply Company USA (13 O.P. cvs) + (13 F1 cvs)

Trade Winds Fruit USA. Edible (18 cvs), Ornamental (4 spp.)
Debate on the import of eggplant seeds into Australia
An interesting blog with comments on the Australian Quarantine Information System administering Quarantine Laws.

< http://www.au.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg0805133710511.html >.

Further reading
Miscellaneous
Seeds / Plants sources / Useful contacts / Tips / More information
See also this section on all related pages.

Some Ukrainian cultivar names.

‘Ночная тень’ F1 = Night Shadow

Extra photos

Farmers markets seem to be the only retail sources for extra ordinary fresh eggplants. Here are some beautiful examples captured by Flickr members.

< http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeff_lockard/584850454/in/[email protected] >.

< http://www.flickr.com/photos/kawilson/2664908055/in/[email protected] >.

< http://www.flickr.com/photos/kawilson/2664963237/in/[email protected] >.

…. More to come ….

Finally for the reader who has never had the pleasure of seeing beautiful packets of seeds here are some self identified beauties (download the Powerpoint file to your desktop and view it with Internet Explorer – it will save you hassles. Reduce the size of the display so that the first seed packet photo is the size of a “standard” packet for clarity).

Acknowledgements:

I wish to acknowledge the kind cooperation of many colleagues mentioned throughout this article and mostly all my flickr contacts who have provided useful comments and many of those beautiful photos. Many thanks to all.

Compiled by Michel H. Porcher

Started: 12 / 04 / 09

Updated: 17 / 07 / 09

Completed: soon!

Disclaimer

Eggplant Varieties

Common Varieties

Classic eggplant varieties such as Black beauty, Black Bell and Black Magic eggplants are perhaps the most common and popular in North America, followed by the Italian and Sicilian varieties which tend to be more purple than black.

Black Beauty Eggplants are the most commonly grown eggplant in America. Plants produce up to 6 large fruits, occasionally more if kept well fed, watered and harvested.

Imperial Black Beauty – Classic heirloom variety produces 4-5 inch diameter, shiny purple fruits. Rich flavor suited for Classic Italian dishes.

Black Bell is a hybridized eggplant which includes many sub varieties.

Dusky hybrid eggplant is a hardy hybrid that is very similar to Black Beauty Eggplant in appearance and taste.

The Long Purple Eggplant is a Long Purple Eggplant – who’d a guessed ?

The original Long Purple eggplant is an Old World Italian Heirloom and prized in European Cuisines as Black Beauty is in American. There are several hybrid impostors that are not actually heirlooms – but their characteristics are similar and in some cases superior so far as disease resistance is concerned.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant is a Sicilian Heirloom that reaches 4 to 6 inches in diameter and 5 to 7 inches in length. Good for slicing, baking, stuffing or roasting.

Epic Eggplant – Hybrid produces good yields of 8″ long by 4″ wide teardrop shaped deep purplish black eggplants. 60 – 65 Days to maturity.

Ichiban – Oriental Hybrid with Good flavor. 7 to 10″ inches in length, about 2 inches in diameter. Dark purple shiny skin. Reaches 3 – 3.5 feet in height. Above Average Yields. 60-70 days

Slim Jim is an Open Pollinated Eggplant that produces a fruit that turns from lavender to purple once mature. Reaches 4 – 5 ” in length, plants reach about 3 feet in height. 70 – 75 days to maturity.

White Eggplants

White Eggplants – you might want to consider one of the egg shaped varieties. Some people say there is a taste difference – white eggplants being a bit milder and fruitier – personally I don’t discriminate based on color and don’t really see much of a difference in taste – so once you go black – sure you’ll go back . In the eggplant realm the whites are the minority, but a novel deviation.

The absolute best of the full sized White Eggplants in my opinion is Casper Eggplant. It’s taste is undeniably different, not just a subtle difference but a scrumptious variation. If you’ve ever read anything about these eggplants, you’ll see them being described as tasting like mushrooms, and that is perhaps the best way to describe them. They actually do taste like Mushrooms – certainly don’t taste like chicken.

Cloud 9 Eggplant is a prolific hybrid white eggplant. The fruits are between 5 and 8″ long. Cloud 9 produces more prolifically and is easier to maintain than Casper, but the taste is not as good. It’s still a good eggplant comparable in taste to most standard varieties.

Ghost Buster Eggplant is a hybrid White Eggplant very similar to Casper. They grow 6-8 inches in length and are fat and oval. It is very thick skinned and the skin should be removed before cooking. It is sweeter than purple and black varieties but can’t compare to Casper in this department.

Gretel is another popular white variety. It produces clusters of glossy white Eggplants that are harvested at 3-4″ in length.

A few other white varieties include “Blanche aubergine”, also known as Albino, “White Beauty,” and “Tango”

Easter Egg eggplants can be considered a white variety, but they also produce multi-colored egg shaped fruits and are listed further down on this page under Exotic varieties. Read More on White Eggplants at White Eggplant Varieties

Exotic Varieties

Increasing in popularity are the Asian varieties that hail from China, India, Japan, and the Pacific region. Asian cuisines use of eggplant differs substantially from western cooks and their produce reflects that.

One of my favorite Asian varieties is Ping Tung Eggplant from Taiwan. The Fruits are long and purplish, about 2 inches in diameter and up to a foot and half long. It is more tender and a tad sweeter than most eggplants.

Thai Kermit Eggplant is small green and globe shaped. It is harder than most other eggplants.

Thai Yellow Eggplant is a miniature eggplant variety, an Asian Heirloom popular in South East Asian cuisines. If you’re a fan of Oriental cuisine in particular stir fry dishes – you’ll like Thai Yellow eggplant.

Apple Green Eggplant, as the name implies, is green like a granny smith apple. It is a reliable and rapidly maturing variety. An added plus is that it is fairly easy to grow although not as disease resistant as some hybrids.

Red Ruffled Eggplant also known as Hmong Red eggplant is my favorite red eggplant. It looks like the byproduct of a Menage a trois between a tomato, pepper and eggplant – if that were at all possible.

Red Ruffled Eggplant basically looks like the byproduct of a Menage a trois between a tomato, pepper and eggplant – if that were at all possible.

Eggplants or aubergines are flowering plants that belong to the nightshade family. Botanically, the eggplant is also considered a berry fruit while culinarily they’re considered a vegetable. It originated in India and has been cultivated in both India and China for over 1500 years.

The earliest written record about the benefits of eggplants existed in the Ayurvedic texts in 100 B.C. Its name came from the 18th-century European cultivars that resembled the goose or hen’s eggs. In Italy, it’s called a “crazy apple” because of the belief that anyone who ate them will go insane.

In China, a woman’s bride price consisted of having at least 12 eggplant recipes before her wedding day. China is the world’s leading eggplant producer accounting to over 60 percent of global production.

Eggplants Nutrition Facts Chart

Now let’s jump into your eggplant options.

1. African Garden Egg Eggplant

These eggplants are very bitter and very small. More often than not, they are yellow in color and are perfect when chopped up and cooked with various sauces and dishes made of fish, meats, and vegetables. They can be grown in small gardens because of their size and they are especially popular throughout West Africa. In fact, the African Garden Egg eggplant is still grown mostly in West and Central Africa and it both stores and transports very well. They are also very nutritious with very few calories and high amounts of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and many other nutrients.

2. Bianca Eggplant

With a sweet and creamy taste and texture, these eggplants are large and round with a thin, purple-and-white skin. This is an Italian heirloom variety that is perfect for making eggplant Parmesan or for stuffing and you can find dozens of other recipes for it online.

3. Chinese Round Mauve Eggplant

A Chinese heirloom variety with fruit that is small- to medium-sized, this eggplant is lavender in color and has subtle patterns of purple throughout. Once it gets to the size of a tennis ball, it is ready to eat; since it has very soft skin, there is usually no need to peel it. Much as other types of eggplant, this one is very versatile and can be enjoyed in dozens of recipes, which you can easily find with a quick trip to the Internet.

4. Graffiti Eggplant

With delicate and attractive striped markings, these eggplants can be small or large and are perfect for eating whole. Their seeds are small and their skin is very thin so you don’t even have to peel them if you don’t want to. They are delicious when stewed, baked, and roasted and they come in varieties that include the Purple Rain, Fairytale, and Shooting Stars. The Graffiti eggplant also cooks quickly and is especially tasty when paired with grilled meats and cheeses such as mozzarella and feta.

5. Indian Eggplant

This type of eggplant is small and has a reddish-purple color. Great stuffed or roasted, it is also called the Baby eggplant and it is used frequently in Indian dishes that use curry, among other dishes.

6. Italian Eggplant

The Italian eggplant resembles a standard Globe eggplant but has certain distinguishing characteristics. It is small but still fat and it has very tender flesh. The Italian eggplant is perfect for any Italian recipe that calls for eggplant so research those recipes online and enjoy this scrumptious type of eggplant.

7. Japanese White Egg Eggplant

This is a very hardy and productive type of eggplant and it has thin skin, a nice sweet flavor, and a small egg-like shape and size. With a slender shape and colors that can include not only white but also green, lavender, pink, or purple, the Japanese White Egg eggplant has a stem that is usually dark purple in color. It is very commonly roasted and served as a side dish but it can also be added to Japanese sesame chicken or various types of soups. It is not the same thing as the regular Japanese White eggplant because the latter is closer to a common purple eggplant when it comes to its shape and size.

8. Little Green Eggplant

This eggplant is plump and round and it has a pale green color. When it is cooked, the texture is extra creamy and it has a mild flavor that is perfect for any recipe that calls for standard eggplant.

9. Ping Tung Eggplant

Long and dark purple in color, the Ping Tung eggplant has flesh that is both sweet and tender. Originating in Taiwan, this type of eggplant is popular throughout Asia and if you really want to enjoy its flavor and texture, try grilling it and serving it with a little olive oil and salt. The Ping Tung eggplant also has several unique characteristics. It does not have to be peeled, isn’t bitter in taste, does well in all zones in the United States, and turns darker in color as it matures. Perfect for stir-fry dishes, this type of eggplant grows to roughly 11 inches in length and is very thin, making it perfect for a variety of dishes.

10. Santana Eggplant

If you are into large eggplants, this is the one for you. It is an Italian variety that is teardrop-shaped and dark purple in color. One of the most popular ways to cook the Santana eggplant is to grill it because it isn’t hard or stringy as other varieties are. It also doesn’t split open as quickly as other types, making it perfect for roasting on your grill.

11. Tango Eggplant

The Tango eggplant is a type of white eggplant and can be either pear- or egg-shaped. You have to peel these eggplants because they have a thick skin but they also offer a creamier and firmer texture than the purple varieties of eggplant. When it gets close to harvest time, the Tango eggplant turns yellow and becomes stronger in flavor and firmer in texture.

12. Thai Eggplant

As its name suggests, this type of eggplant comes from Thailand and is consumed more than any other type of eggplant in that country. It is the size of a golf ball and has a slightly bitter taste. In fact, the seeds themselves are so bitter that they are always removed before cooking. Thai eggplant comes in many different colors but most of them are green with either white or yellow stripes.

Because of their unique taste, Thai eggplants are usually diced or cubed and added to hot curry dishes. Varieties include the Yellow Egg eggplant, which is a solid yellow color, and the Thai Long Green eggplant, which is light green in color and very long in size. They can also come in white and purple.

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