[Market-farming] Eggplant Question

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Thu Jul 28 22:30:28 EDT 2005

On Jul 28, 2005, at 10:02 AM, Lynn Wigglesworth wrote:

> I don't know much about eggplant (don't like it much so I rarely grow 
> it).
> I'm growing several varieties in my market garden this year because a
> couple people asked for it. The long oriental type are soft...should 
> they
> be that way? I harvest them at about 8-10" long. The big dark purple 
> ones
> in the store are hard as rocks, and my other varieties are firm but not
> hard. Is 'soft' normal for long orientals or are they under/over ripe?

Depends on what you mean by soft. They should not be flabby with 
wrinkly skins, that's from too long storage or sometimes from drought 
in the field. But they should certainly not he "hard as rocks", and 
neither should the more standard type! If the eggplant in the store are 
like that they are almost certainly bitter and terrible tasting. (Maybe 
you had eggplant like that and that's why you don't like it; though 
eggplant is a bit of an acquired taste.) Good eggplant of any shape 
should not be bitter (except I think for some varieties grown for 
specific Asian cuisines that want bitter fruit, but even most Asian 
recipes seem to want the nonbitter ones). 8" to 10" long for Asian 
types should be fine; I harvest at 6" to 12", but then I have some 
customers who like little and some who like big ones. Some markets only 
want the little ones.
> Also, should they be refrigerated? I normal leave the veggies out in 
> the
> farm stand during the day and refridgerate everything except tomatoes 
> at
> night (I'm only open 3 days a week and harvest fresh every week...give
> away or feed any excess to the sheep after market days)

Don't refrigerate unless you have a cooler set at 55º F or above (such 
as for tomatoes). Too much cold will make them discolored and bitter. 
They should keep several days at cool room temperature and a couple of 
days even if the weather's hot, but of course not in direct sun.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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