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By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Eggplantmight not be what you think of when you think “berry,” but they are actually afruit. Their sweet, soft flesh is the perfect complement to almost any flavorand they grow like weeds in warm temperatures. The purple Graffiti eggplant isan excellent example. What is a Graffiti eggplant? This hybrid is a modern takeon a traditional food with small size and superior flavor.
Graffiti Eggplant Info
There are numerous eggplantvarieties from which to choose. They run the gamut from Asian andMediterranean types with differences in size, color and shape thrown in asfurther variation. The eggplant, Graffiti, is possibly a hybrid from thosenative to India. Wherever the plant’s origin, it has been bred to bring out thesweetness and remove any bitterness associated with wild fruit.
Many types of eggplant have especially appealing skin. Theeggplant, Graffiti, is a very appealing example of the fruits. It has classicpurple skin and oblong shape, but the glossy, smooth skin is decorated withwhite scratches and marks, much like a street artist would make with chalk.
The flesh is soft and creamy white with minimal seeds.Purple Graffiti eggplant is in the nightshade family and has numerous names, amongthem are Listada de Gandia, Shooting Stars, Purple Rain and Pandora StripedRose.
Growing Purple Graffiti Eggplant
Like all members of the nightshade family, this eggplantneeds heat and sun. In most regions, start them indoors 6 weeks before the dateof the last frost. For quicker germination, soakseeds overnight and sow in seed starter mix covered with just adusting of soil.
Use bottom heat to encourage germination and keep soilmoderately moist. Expect to see sprouts in 6 to 10 days. Hardenoff seedlings before transplanting them into a prepared, well-drainingbed in full sun.
Mulch around the plants and stake as needed. A floatingrow cover can help prevent some insect pests.
Graffiti Eggplant Uses
Eggplant is a very versatile food. Quick cook methodsaccentuate the many Graffiti eggplant uses, but it can also be stewed androasted. Eggplant will discolor when cut so use a bit of lemon, salt or vinegarif you want to keep open surfaces creamy white.
These are smaller eggplants and will cook quickly. They arethe perfect size for stuffing with a variety of fillings. You may also grill,sauté, pan sear or fry the fruits. The most popular cuisines for flavorpairings with eggplant are Asian, Indian, and Mediterranean.
Eggplants grow wild in fairly inhospitable regions and pairwell with other nightshades, rich meats and young cheeses.
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Read more about Eggplants
12 Different Types of Eggplant
Learn more about the eggplant and discover its many different types. Find out how the various type looks like, where it came from, and how you can include them in your recipes
Eggplants or aubergines are flowering plants that belong to the nightshade family. Botanically, the eggplant is also considered a berry fruit while culinarily they’re considered a vegetable. It originated in India and has been cultivated in both India and China for over 1500 years.
The earliest written record about the benefits of eggplants existed in the Ayurvedic texts in 100 B.C. Its name came from the 18th-century European cultivars that resembled the goose or hen’s eggs. In Italy, it’s called a “crazy apple” because of the belief that anyone who ate them will go insane.
In China, a woman’s bride price consisted of having at least 12 eggplant recipes before her wedding day. China is the world’s leading eggplant producer accounting to over 60 percent of global production.
Eggplant is usually perceived as an oblong, dark purple vegetable with a green cap to which it is attached. Although it is the most popular type of eggplant, the world of eggplant species is much larger. They can be large, small, oblong, short, sweet, or bitter. You will find varieties with lots of stripes, while others are one-colored. Regardless of the color and shape of the eggplant you buy, always choose eggplants that have smooth and shiny skin.
Eggplants are divided into 3 basic groups:
- lat. Solanum melongena var. Esculentum - the most common species, includes white eggplant
- lat. Solanum melongena var. Depressum - dwarf eggplant species
- lat. Solanum melongena var. Serpentium - a type of snake-shaped eggplant
Small and medium-sized eggplant species have a better, sweeter taste, fewer seeds and more sensitive skin.
Black beauty, also known as Globe eggplant or American eggplant is an eggplant that we usually see in the store. This species is larger and has a shiny dark purple skin. They are often not as tasty as other types of eggplant. Their size varies from 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in).
Italian eggplant and American eggplant have two differences: Italian eggplant is smaller and sweeter than American and it is quite difficult to distinguish them.
Japanese eggplant is long, thin, and dark purple. It has a great texture and is slightly smaller than Chinese eggplant. Some types of eggplant are Hybrid Mangan, Shikou, Kurume, Hybrid Millionaire, Hybrid Shoya Long, Hybrid Mangan, and Hybrid Black King.
Chinese eggplant is as long and thin as Japanese, but its color is light purple. The two well-known types of Chinese eggplant are Oriental (Purple Charm) and Ping Tung Long, but there are other types such as Purple Excel, HK Long, Bride, Ma-Zu Purple, Purple shine, Hybrid Asia Beauty, Hybrid Long White Angle, Fengyuan Purple, and Machiaw.
Eggplant graffiti can be both larger and smaller, and they are named after their patterns. They have small seeds and very thin skin that does not need to be removed before preparation. Some types of Graffiti Eggplant are Purple Rain, Shooting Stars, Pandora Striped Rose, Listada De Gandia, and Fairytale.
Bianca eggplant is a large, round type of Italian eggplant with thin and light purple or white skin. The meat of this species is sweet and creamy.
White eggplant has several types, and some are Casper, Clara, Japanese White Egg, Snowy White, Opal, and many others. Tango eggplant is a white eggplant that can be egg-shaped or pear-shaped. It has very thick skin, which becomes even thicker when the eggplant turns yellow during harvesting.
Other, lesser-known varieties of eggplant:
- Santana eggplant - the Italian version of dark purple eggplant
- Indian eggplant - belongs to the group of dwarf eggplants. It is also called baby eggplant because it is small, and dark red, or purple in color
- Small green eggplant - full, round, and light green
- Thai eggplant - small, round, and greenish-white eggplant. It belongs to a rare species of eggplant
- Diamond - a type of eggplant from Russia that thrives in colder temperatures
- African garden eggplant - small, bitter, and usually green in color
What are the varieties of eggplant?
QUESTION: What are the varieties of eggplant? I want to try growing something new in my garden. Which eggplant varieties grow well in a home garden?
ANSWER: There are countless varieties of eggplant available to gardeners, and unfortunately, there are far too many to name and discuss all of them here. Instead, we have decided to highlight and discuss some of our favorite eggplant varieties that are commonly grown in modern vegetable gardens.
Graffiti Eggplant – Also called striped eggplants, graffiti eggplants are oblong, purple and white striped eggplants that taste similar to standard eggplants but also have a delicate sweet flavor.
Japanese Eggplant – Similar to Chinese eggplants, the Japanese variety is not quite as thin and has a slightly darker purple shade with a delicate spongy texture and a creamy, slightly sweet flavor.
Chinese Eggplant – These slender bright-colored eggplants are almost magenta on the outside with a white interior. They have less seeds than many eggplant varieties and are therefore less bitter.
Fairy Tale Eggplant – The exterior of these small eggplants are violet with mottled white stripes. The insides are light, creamy, and delicately sweet.
Italian Eggplant – Think of Italian eggplants as the smaller, rounder, slightly sweeter version of the traditional globe eggplant, but with a thick, spongy interior texture.
White Eggplant – White eggplants are practically identical to the standard globe eggplant aside from its white hue, with the same texture, flavor, and capabilities.
Thai Eggplant – The Thia eggplant is small, round, green and white on the exterior with pink flesh inside. They have a more pronounced bitter flavor than most varieties. If you want to make them less bitter, remove their seeds.
Indian Eggplant – Light purple, round and tender, Indian eggplants, also known as baby eggplants, have a velvety interior and are perfect for soups, stews, and dips.
Rosa Bianca Eggplant – Heirloom variety Rosa Bianca eggplants are quick to catch the eye, Their bright purple to pink and white exteriors are plump and round. The flavor of the Rosa Bianca is light, mild, and completely void of any bitterness.
Globe Eggplant – Also known as American eggplants, these are the traditional big purple eggplants that you find in the grocery store. They have a tougher, meatier texture than smaller varieties, and are well suited to dishes like eggplant parmesan.