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General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

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Old May 27, 2016   #1
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2
Default Ichiban eggplants still white on underside..PLUS more ???? PLEASE

SORRY if I posted this in two places but trying to get the latest replyers to see it...
I planted a small plant from Kroger in a pot but then moved it to the ground, so the first eggplant that grew was laying on the soil. My mom suggested to put pine straw under it to keep it off the straight dirt...I know you harvest them at glossy purple and this one is really shiny and purple but the whole underside is still that because of no light hitting it? I picked it anyways and left it white side up on the table to get sun. Is the white underside normal? I"m sure the rest of the eggplants will be okay because they'll come from higher up and can hang down...

Also, that first eggplant was really fat and I picked it at 6 inches...but the next two are growing longer before getting fat...they are 3 inches but really skinny, whereas the first one was a big fat one almost from the first that normal too?

I'm hoping these eggplants will have more flavor because me and my Filipino wife bought some Chinese eggplants from Atlanta and she tried to make Tortang Talong, which is eggplant boiled and then smashed and fried with egg. OVer in the Philippines I loved this dish and it was so flavorful, but when my wife made it here, we both acknowledged that there was no taste to it. Will these homegrown eggplants be more authentic or would it be something about Filipino eggplants that we cant duplicate? Thanks for all the help to my many questions!! Jason Parker in Savannah, GA
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Old May 29, 2016   #2
Bodhi Peace
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Central Coast, California, USA
Posts: 81

I don't have experience with white parts on eggplant, but it is obviously not "normal". It will be interesting for you to test whether that part is ripe or not. Someone else may know here... I don't think exposing the white part to sun now will help.

Do you have any idea of the variety of eggplant? If it wasn't labeled, maybe it is one of the "Classic/Regular" varieties - fat and glossy purple/black.

The next two could be skinny because they are growing at the same time whereas the first one grew by itself? Maybe the first one was just unusually fat.

When you had the dish in the Philippines, was it from a restaurant? A brief search showed that there is a "Filipino Eggplant" which is one of the Asian varieties, like the Chinese one you bought in Atlanta. So I would think that is closer just as close in flavor than to the classic Japanese variety you are growing.

Eggplant, in my opinion, doesn't have a lot of flavor on its own so maybe you missed a spice or (more likely) you didn't properly char/smoke it on the grill. If your wife made both dishes of Tortang Talong identically except for the eggplant, well then...

Last edited by Bodhi Peace; May 29, 2016 at 12:12 AM. Reason: oops.. saw the title
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Old May 29, 2016   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Maryland
Posts: 272

Well the bitterness in eggplant is from the seeds and a tiny bit from the skin? Kinda like the seeds in tomato add flavor. More seeds gets you more bitter flavor.

BodhiPeace is right; the Asian eggplants are more mild in flavor especially the Japanese ones. That is why the slim Asian eggplants are becoming more popular; they have very few seeds, not bitter and tender skins. It very well could be that someone slipped something like a tiny bit of bitter melon into the eggplant mash. Restaurants do things like that to be unique.

AND it could very well be that the Filipino eggplants are different. Island genetics could very easily explain that. If you are unable to get authentic Filipino eggplant seeds sent to you from the Philippines ( or even better, go there yourself with your wife for a vacation!) you could try growing a bitter variety. Rareseeds has some from India and Central Asia that possibly have the flavor that you are looking for. They won't look the same, but they might have the right flavor.

But, if it were me, I would go and get a classic fat American (seedy) eggplant variety from a nursery today and plant it. Let a fruit get a bit over ripe (just as the glossy shine disappears so that there are lots of seeds) and have your wife make Tortang Talong.
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Old May 29, 2016   #4
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: 6a
Posts: 322

Any asian type eggplant is a good substitute for Filipino eggplant. Filipino eggplant is available on the market once a year, roughly around August.

In Georgia, look for Megamart. It is possible that they will carry Fillipino eggplant there. If not, look for Chinese eggplant. Chinese eggplant is almost always available. Other variations of eggplant don't really work too well with Asian dishes as it adds a strong bitterness to the dish.

With Japanese eggplants, you just want to be careful what you choose. There are some that are really seedy and may not be what you're looking for.

As far as obtaining seeds go, Scott also from Atlanta was looking for seeds not too long ago. It is possible when the season ends that he will have a seed offer.

I won't be able to get you any seeds until later in the year.
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Old May 29, 2016   #5
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2

Thanks for so many responses...
I am not sure if there are different varieties within the "Ichiban" eggplant but that's what the tag on this one said...

When I had the Tortang Talong, it was my wife who cooked it, numerous times, because I lived there from Aug 2014 to July 2015 (eggplants were like 8 for 20 pesos there..about 50 cents!)...and when she tried it here in America, it was with a Chinese eggplant from the big international market in Atlanta, but there wasn't a bitter taste, it was no taste at all pretty much..she has been told by another Filipina that they have never been able to find a eggplant with that same Filipino flavor either in the US. I just brought my wife to the US on a visa last July so it will be a while til we can go visit the Phils again but we won't really want to try to smuggle seeds out...I understand that they take that stuff even more serious than taking meats out of the country...

Has anybody tried Talong Bagoong? That is eggplant stir fried and then you put fermented shrimp or crab paste on stinks and is super powerful but I love it with rice!

To the person who said that putting the white underside of the eggplant I picked in the sun wouldn't do much,,,well, after a day it actually DID start to turn a light purple, nothing like the top but a definite change in color..but it was starting to feel a little too soft so I had my wife cut it up (taking out the little holes from a couple of beetles), and she simply stir fried it and then poured scrambled egg over it...with salt it was pretty tasty...Not super delicious but pretty good. Not much seeds and no bitterness. I figure the others will be okay since the blossoms are all up at the top of the plant now and will hang down...

Yes, you are right that the first eggplant grew by itself and was fatter at first, so you might be right that since these are two growing side by side that they are taking longer....I'll update once they get bigger...

If someone does have seeds from the Philippines already here in the US, I'd love to have might be too late to plant this year but I could definitely want them for next season...eggplant was one of the few things I ate in the Philippines that didn't make me get so fat!

Thanks for these and any future replies, Jason

Last edited by MasterJ40; May 29, 2016 at 02:30 PM.
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