Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

General information and discussion about cultivating eggplants/aubergines.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 9, 2011   #1
whistler
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: PA
Posts: 100
Default How do I know when Eggplant are ripe?

Looking for some help from you more experienced eggplant afficionados...

I'm growing more than a dozen varieties of eggplant for market, and I want to make sure I pick only the ripe ones for my customers. How do I know when they are ripe? Can I pick them anytime they are the size I want and they look healthy (not yellow, split, dull, etc.)?

Thanks for your input!
whistler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 9, 2011   #2
nctomatoman
Tomatoville® Moderator
 
nctomatoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC zone 7/8
Posts: 8,648
Default

Yes, glossy and firm is the rule - you can't really pick them too small (although if they are too small they aren't of much use) - but you can let them go too long - if they get dull looking, blemished, start to split. The real sign of hanging-on-the-vine-too-long is a color change toward yellow or gold - that is when they are ripe in terms of seed harvest, but beyond prime eating stage.
__________________
Craig
nctomatoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11, 2011   #3
cdbva
Tomatovillian™
 
cdbva's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Falls Church, VA
Posts: 538
Default

I have a question about this, too. My Black Beauties haven't been quite dark purple -- they've been paler on the bottom, which some people have said meant they weren't ready to be picked. But then a couple turned brown.

There are two now that are still pale on the bottom. They're about half the size of supermarket eggplant. So... I don't know whether to pick them or wait.

Christine
cdbva is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 11, 2011   #4
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Austin TX Metropolitan Area
Posts: 9,300
Default

I would pick them now you can never tell by size all of the time when they are as they are going to get if that makes since.

Worth
__________________
Dont feed the homeless and they will go back to their natural habitat.
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12, 2011   #5
Tracydr
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Laurinburg, North Carolina, zone 7
Posts: 2,074
Default

I just pick them when they are full sized but before the skin starts to get dull. You can't really pick too early, because they don't really " ripen" like a tomato. Just don't let them change color, like Craig said. I think they're better when skin is still shiny but we eat a lot of them after the skin turns dull and those are fine, too.
I have learned to pick them right before making dinner, they seem to taste much better very fresh. Less bitter, more crisp. We eat the skins on ours, although sometimes the large variety gets tougher of more mature and I'll peel those.
Tracydr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 31, 2012   #6
habitat_gardener
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,914
Default

Do eggplants in containers produce smaller fruit?

Rosa Bianca in a 5-gallon pot doesn't look like it's going to get larger than 2 inches. I've been waiting to see larger fruit, but I may have waited too long.

Ping Tung Long in another 5-gallon pot is only about 4 inches; they're supposed to get at least 12 inches long.
habitat_gardener is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 31, 2012   #7
RayR
Tomatovillian™
 
RayR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Cheektowaga, NY
Posts: 1,595
Default

They shouldn't be smaller in containers unless the soil volume you have or fertilization has something to do with it.
My Rosa Bianca and Ping Tung are in containers. My Rosa Bianca get about 6" and Ping Tung between 8-12" long. I have 3 containers for eggplant, I not exactly sure how many gallons but one has to be at least 16 gallons and the others about 12 gallons. I have 2 plants in each container except the largest one where I tried 2 Rosa Bianca and 1 Ping Tung.

I took this picture last week, time to harvest these now.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rosa_Blanca_and_Ping_Tung.jpg (195.9 KB, 50 views)
RayR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 12, 2012   #8
ilex
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Spain
Posts: 39
Default

One good clue is to look at the top of the fruit, if it has a white line, it's growing, and that is good. If it's not growing, it's probably too late. Also, open one from time to time and look at the seeds. They should not be hard (give it a bite if necessary). That will also tell you if they are bitter.

Size is not enough as not all fruit grow the same. It also depends on conditions.

To me, a good eggplant variety should never be bitter.
ilex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 12, 2012   #9
z_willus_d
Tomatovillian™
 
z_willus_d's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Eastern Suburb of Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,314
Default

I know this might be off topic, but I'll ask anyway. I've had a terrible season with Eggplants this year, in that I've produced loads and loads of them and most have been terribly bitter. I've found that if I saute even one "bad apple" in a mix, you end up ruining the whole batch. The "Ichiban" type purple are the worst of about four varieties I'm trying. I'm growing primarily in 3, 5 and 7 gal pots. I love them when they're good, but from the middle to end of season every fruit has been bitter beyond consumption. I have learned that you can actually smell out the bad ones, in addition to the skin dulling/yellowing/splitting/etc.

So my question is: what are the best varieties out there for maximizing the time you get before the eggplant turns bitter (is that acid building up?)? What are your favorites in that respect?

Thanks,
Naysen
z_willus_d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13, 2012   #10
greentiger87
Tomatovillian™
 
greentiger87's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston, TX - 9a
Posts: 211
Default

Varieties described as Japanese or Chinese, long, skinny and pendulous, are usually much less bitter, even when overripe. But.. Ichiban is one of those... people usually rave about it being very mild and resistant to bitterness.

"Oriental" varieties I've had luck with - Ma-Zu, Millionaire, Orient Express, Ping Tung

Others - Calliope, Green Goddess, Amethyst

With the American and Italian varieties, you just have to pick them earlier than you think you should.

The bitterness is now thought to be primarily phenolic compounds, like chlorogenic acids and free caffeic acid. Alkaloids are also possible contributors though. Extreme conditions in either direction can cause an increase in bitterness, but the tolerance for heat/dryness is much higher than the tolerance for cold and excess moisture.

In pots, one thing that seems to cause problems is overheated roots - especially in black nursery pots. Try fabric pots, name brand or diy, or find a way to shade both the outside of the container and the surface of the soil from the sun. A plywood box will work, as will any kind of opaque cloth.
greentiger87 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13, 2012   #11
z_willus_d
Tomatovillian™
 
z_willus_d's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Eastern Suburb of Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,314
Default

Hi GT87, thanks for the recommendations. I'd heard that Japanese/Chinese are milder as well, but in my case the Ichiban are doing terribly. I surround my pots with foil to reflect the heat, after I noticed the plants would all wilt mid-day and I couldn't touch the plastic for more than a split seconds. Next season, I think I'll move the eggplant over to larger half-barrel pots.
--naysen
z_willus_d is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14, 2012   #12
ilex
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Spain
Posts: 39
Default

Eggplants can grow and fruit in half shade, much more tolerant than tomatoes.
ilex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14, 2012   #13
ScottinAtlanta
Tomatovillian™
 
ScottinAtlanta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 1,715
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilex View Post
Eggplants can grow and fruit in half shade, much more tolerant than tomatoes.
That is very good to know. That will help me place my plants better next year. Thanks.
ScottinAtlanta is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:34 PM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2014 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★