I am a big fan of growing eggplant in the garden. It’s easy to grow and easy to cook—and don’t forget how delicious it is.
I’ve always been infatuated with the classic globe eggplant (also known as American eggplant), but did you know that there are many other varieties of eggplant that you might consider planting?
Among them are frescoes, fairy tales, Chinese, and, of course, Italian eggplants.
Growing Italian eggplant is a must if you’re interested in branching out into your garden and trying new things. Here are some of the most popular varieties.
- 1 What is Italian Eggplant?
- 2 Best Italian Eggplant Varieties
- 3 Growing Italian Eggplant
What is Italian Eggplant?
Although globe eggplants are what you’ll see most often in the grocery store, they’re far from the only option.
Italian eggplants, although somewhat less common, can be used for a variety of popular culinary dishes. Italian eggplants come in many shapes, styles and forms. There are late, midseason and early varieties.
Not only that, they also come in many different colors. Although the flesh of these vegetables is almost always a creamy white color (and is known for its rich, nutty flavor), you can find Italian eggplants with the skin in white, purple, black, or even multicolored. Can get.
All varieties of eggplant are incredibly good for you, including Italian eggplant. They are rich in flavonoids, especially plant pigments known as anthocyanins. This antioxidant offers many health benefits, including its ability to lower your blood pressure. Of course, Italian eggplant is also rich in nutrients like fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Best Italian Eggplant Varieties
In the market for some fun new seeds to add to your garden? Consider these popular Italian eggplant varieties to shake things up a bit!
‘Galene’ is an Italian eggplant variety known for its exceptionally high yields. The plant produces shiny, uniform fruits that are black to purple and up to 7 inches long.
Even for gardeners with a short growing season, this is a high-yielding variety to consider.
Nadia is another great option. A traditional black Italian eggplant, it is slightly larger than the galleon, producing fruits up to 8 inches long. This is another great pick for northern gardeners because of its ability to set fruit even when the weather is chilly.
‘Xylo’ is one of the best Italian eggplant varieties for greenhouse growers. It is high yielding and vigorous with the ability to produce during a long growing season. Its fruits are so versatile that you can harvest them when they are small, quarter-pound fruits, or large, half-pound eggplants.
If you want to make your eggplant garden a little more diverse in terms of color, you’ll want to grow ‘Dancer’. ‘Dancer’ has semi-cylindrical fruits that are up to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. These eggplants are mild, not bitter at all, but they are dark pink in color instead of the traditional deep purple.
‘Beatrice’ eggplants are slightly smaller and smaller than other Italian eggplants. However, the taste, shape, and texture of these beauties can’t be beat. They’re about 5 inches long and 4 inches wide—and a deep, deep purple that’s sure to catch your eye.
‘Travita’ looks a lot like the traditional American eggplant variety you’ll see on supermarket shelves, but it offers a lot more. It is about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. It has an exceptional flavor and a glossy, attractive appearance.
Best yet, ‘Travita’ is a plant that is ideal for growers who want maximum yields. You will get uniform fruits on high yielding plants.
‘Clara’ is an Italian eggplant cultivar that is easy to start from seed and provides exceptional yields. Those are two reasons why growers choose to grow it – but the best reason? Instead of the classic purple eggplant color, this plant produces fruits that are ghostly white.
Each one is about 5 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. The plants mature early in the season, making it a good choice for farmers’ markets and home gardeners. The only downside of this beautiful variety is that it has a very thin skin and can be relatively easily bruised or afflicted with disease.
‘Paloma’ is another neat looking white eggplant. These fruits are known for their distinctive ribbing, creamy texture and deliciously sweet taste.
It rips easily even through thin skin, but is a bit smaller and squatter (as well as significantly more productive, believe it or not!) than ‘Clara’.
This is another white eggplant variety to consider. It is incredibly versatile and high-yielding, producing dozens of 8-inch fruits on sturdy plants. While staking is always a good idea to keep your plants from getting damaged under heavy crop loads, you can almost get away with this unique cultivar without it.
Again, as with all the other white eggplant varieties we’ve mentioned on this list, it spoils easily – this is a must-have if you plan to grow eggplant commercially and want to ship some across the country. Not a good option. However, for most people, bruising should be a minor problem.
‘Nubia’ is a late variety of eggplant, so it may not be the best for home growers in the North. However, if you are willing to wait some time (or start your own plants from seed indoors) you may consider growing ‘Nubia’.
Although it is technically an Italian eggplant variety, it is sometimes called Dominican eggplant. Whatever you call it, this plant is an attractive purple and white eggplant that produces fruits up to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.
‘Barbarella’ is a dark purple eggplant with a unique white halo around the calyx. It produces fruits that are squat — so much so that they’re almost perfectly round — and are about 6 inches in diameter.
It offers excellent flavor and excellent yield, making it a good choice for domestic and commercial growers alike.
This variety of Italian eggplant is perfect for greenhouse production. It can be picked at almost any time, but for the best flavor, you should harvest it when it is about half a pound in size.
It has short spines and exceptionally high yields. Its fruits are glossy and dark purple in color with white stripes, giving it a unique look that will set it apart from other plants in your garden. Again, like ‘Nubia’, this type of Italian eggplant is sometimes called Dominican eggplant.
13. Rosa Bianca
Last but not least is ‘Rosa Bianca’. This type of Italian eggplant is a purple and white striped plant that is plump and ribbed. Its flesh is white, tender and creamy. This is another one that may not be ideal for northern growers as it prefers warm nights and even hot days.
Growing Italian Eggplant
Growing Italian eggplant varieties is like growing any other variety of eggplant. However, if you are new to growing eggplant in general, just know that the conditions preferred by these plants are essential for peppers and tomatoes.
You can encourage your Italian eggplant to produce more fruit (sometimes more than a dozen per plant!) This will encourage all of the plant’s energy to be directed toward producing new fruit.
Plant the plants in the garden as soon as the soil warms up. You can start the plant indoors from seed about 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost date or you can start seed outside (not recommended unless you live in a long-growing area ).
Italian eggplant can be grown in a container too!
In any event, it is important to plant your Italian eggplant in full sun and do so in rich, fertile soil. Keep it consistently moist, though not soggy, and fertilize with a high-potassium fertilizer once a week after fruit sets.
It’s also a good idea to prune your plants, as they can become tippy and floppy once fruit has formed.
Most varieties of Italian eggplant are ready to harvest in just 70 days, but this can vary. Consult your seed packet for more specific information – or just look at the fruit as an indicator! Italian eggplant is cooked when you press it with your finger so it doesn’t bounce back.
Then, all that’s left is to figure out which delicious eggplant recipes you’ll follow to use up all of your delicious harvest. Bon appetit!
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Idea Source: morningchores.com