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Best-selling author of

All New Square Foot Gardening Growing Successful Gardeners www.gardenbookstore.net


Eggplant When to harvest

You don’t have to wait until eggplant is mature to pick it. It can be only a third of its mature size and still taste good. This is its saving grace, and yours, too since you don’t have to worry too much about when to pick. When the fruits reach full size, roughly what you’d find at a farm stand or market, pick then when the skins are still shiny.

Signs that it is ready

Press your thumb into the fruit. If it springs back, it is ready. Eggplant does not have to be fully mature to harvest. It can be eaten any time after it reaches one third of its mature size – some seed packets will state this. If frost threatens and the fruits are still tiny, use them as baby eggplants in stir fries.

TIPS Storage Eggplant is perishable and becomes bitter with age. Refrigerate eggplant in a plastic bag for a day or two. If you plan to cook it the day you harvest it, leave it out at room temperature.

Eat / Don’t Eat Only the eggplant fruits are edible.

Companion Planting

kid’s corner Grow something in your garden with, or for, your grandparents, no matter where they live. An eggplant is a good subject for sharing because it is easy to manage and has a limited harvest. Eggplants are simple to draw and are also photogenic. Share pictures or drawings of planting, and descriptions of the growth progress and harvest by email, regular mail, telephone, or in person. Better still, if grandparents live nearby or visit, involve them in the garden. This creates a wonderful bond, and is a subject that can be so easily enjoyed and discussed by different generations.

Green beans can protect eggplant the from Colorado potato beetle. This beetle like eggplant even better than potatoes, but are repelled by the beans.

This ’n’ That Eggplants come in many sizes and colors and are used in numerous cuisines throughout the world. Some are as small as grapes, and others are round and white like eggs.

When is it too late?

When eggplant skin gets dull or brown it will not taste as good as when the skin is shiny.

How to harvest

Cut or snip, don’t twist, the eggplant from the stem. Twisting may work eventually work, but it can damage the plant or the fruit.

Expected yield

Four to six eggplants per square foot.

PENNY PINCHER When you go to buy a harvesting tool, you may be tempted to spend $8 or $9 for a really good pair of scissors. However, I sometimes forget and leave my scissors outdoors where they will eventually get rusty, maybe even lost. So I usually take advantage of back-to-school sales in August to buy children’s scissors for about 50 cents each. The bright colors like such as red and yellow make them easier to find, and the price is affordable, so you can buy several pair.


Eggplant When to harvest

You don’t have to wait until eggplant is mature to pick it. It can be only a third of its mature size and still taste good. This is its saving grace, and yours, too since you don’t have to worry too much about when to pick. When the fruits reach full size, roughly what you’d find at a farm stand or market, pick then when the skins are still shiny.

Signs that it is ready

Press your thumb into the fruit. If it springs back, it is ready. Eggplant does not have to be fully mature to harvest. It can be eaten any time after it reaches one third of its mature size – some seed packets will state this. If frost threatens and the fruits are still tiny, use them as baby eggplants in stir fries.

TIPS Storage Eggplant is perishable and becomes bitter with age. Refrigerate eggplant in a plastic bag for a day or two. If you plan to cook it the day you harvest it, leave it out at room temperature.

Eat / Don’t Eat Only the eggplant fruits are edible.

Companion Planting

kid’s corner Grow something in your garden with, or for, your grandparents, no matter where they live. An eggplant is a good subject for sharing because it is easy to manage and has a limited harvest. Eggplants are simple to draw and are also photogenic. Share pictures or drawings of planting, and descriptions of the growth progress and harvest by email, regular mail, telephone, or in person. Better still, if grandparents live nearby or visit, involve them in the garden. This creates a wonderful bond, and is a subject that can be so easily enjoyed and discussed by different generations.

Green beans can protect eggplant the from Colorado potato beetle. This beetle like eggplant even better than potatoes, but are repelled by the beans.

This ’n’ That Eggplants come in many sizes and colors and are used in numerous cuisines throughout the world. Some are as small as grapes, and others are round and white like eggs.

When is it too late?

When eggplant skin gets dull or brown it will not taste as good as when the skin is shiny.

How to harvest

Cut or snip, don’t twist, the eggplant from the stem. Twisting may work eventually work, but it can damage the plant or the fruit.

Expected yield

Four to six eggplants per square foot.

PENNY PINCHER When you go to buy a harvesting tool, you may be tempted to spend $8 or $9 for a really good pair of scissors. However, I sometimes forget and leave my scissors outdoors where they will eventually get rusty, maybe even lost. So I usually take advantage of back-to-school sales in August to buy children’s scissors for about 50 cents each. The bright colors like such as red and yellow make them easier to find, and the price is affordable, so you can buy several pair.


68

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING COOKBOOK

Eggplant & Tomato Pasta Sauce Four good things from your Square Foot Garden – hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and basil – become a vibrant sauce for pasta. 1 medium eggplant, diced 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 small hot pepper, minced, or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes Kosher salt 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese 8 basil leaves, torn or sliced

Stir-fry the eggplant in the olive oil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and pepper and mix well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the eggplant and tomato are very tender. Add the salt and mozzarella cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Serve the sauce over hot cooked pasta, topped with pecorino and basil. Makes 4 servings.

Mediterranean Eggplant Salad Change up the flavor and texture by adding 2 cups of cooked, drained elbow macaroni or other pasta shape.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil the eggplant skins and roast for 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until collapsed. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Combine the garlic and olive oil in a salad bowl. Add the vinegar and whisk to blend. Add salt and pepper. Peel the eggplants, discarding the skin. Add the eggplant to the dressing along with the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, bell pepper and parsley. Mix well. Makes 4 generous servings. 3 medium eggplants 1 small garlic clove, sliced ½ cup olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 medium tomatoes, chopped ½ cup chopped cucumber 2 green onions, sliced ¼ cup chopped bell pepper ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Eggplant & Tomato Pasta Sauce


68

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING COOKBOOK

Eggplant & Tomato Pasta Sauce Four good things from your Square Foot Garden – hot peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and basil – become a vibrant sauce for pasta. 1 medium eggplant, diced 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 small hot pepper, minced, or ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 cup chopped fresh or canned tomatoes Kosher salt 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup grated Pecorino cheese 8 basil leaves, torn or sliced

Stir-fry the eggplant in the olive oil over high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and pepper and mix well. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the eggplant and tomato are very tender. Add the salt and mozzarella cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Serve the sauce over hot cooked pasta, topped with pecorino and basil. Makes 4 servings.

Mediterranean Eggplant Salad Change up the flavor and texture by adding 2 cups of cooked, drained elbow macaroni or other pasta shape.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil the eggplant skins and roast for 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until collapsed. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Combine the garlic and olive oil in a salad bowl. Add the vinegar and whisk to blend. Add salt and pepper. Peel the eggplants, discarding the skin. Add the eggplant to the dressing along with the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, bell pepper and parsley. Mix well. Makes 4 generous servings. 3 medium eggplants 1 small garlic clove, sliced ½ cup olive oil 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 medium tomatoes, chopped ½ cup chopped cucumber 2 green onions, sliced ¼ cup chopped bell pepper ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Eggplant & Tomato Pasta Sauce


All New Square Foot Garden Cookbook