Nadia Eggplant Info – Nadia Eggplant Care In The Garden

Nadia Eggplant Info – Nadia Eggplant Care In The Garden

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

If you’re looking for an eggplant variety to grow in your garden or a container on your deck, consider Nadia. Fruits have glossy, and typically blemish-free skins. They’re prolific and long-term producers and an excellent choice for those who want lots of eggplant from their efforts. Read on for more Nadia eggplant information.

What is a Nadia Eggplant?

Nadia is an Italian eggplant that looks like a smaller type of the large purple American eggplant. Italian eggplant, such as Nadia, have finer flesh and thinner skin, that may be cooked along with the meat of the fruit. In some markets, the size of the eggplant determines what it is called, but there are different types with real, though, sometimes slight differences.

Growing Nadia Eggplants

Growing Nadia eggplants is a great choice for those who have lots of recipes to try or wish to freeze the fruit. Ready in approximately 67 days from planting, each vine will produce several fruits. You may limit the number and increase their size by pinching out the growing points in some areas of the vine, according to Nadia eggplant information.

A heat-loving plant, eggplant needs growing conditions similar to those given to tomatoes and peppers. Full sun, planted in rich, well-draining soil is just what the growing vine needs. Provide support when planting the seedlings to avoid disturbing the root system and growing fruits. A cage may work best for this prolific producer. Keep the soil moist.

Plant Nadia when the soil has warmed in USDA zones 5 and higher. Those with shorter growing seasons, or who wish to stagger crops, may start seeds indoors up to two months before the soil has warmed enough to be planted. Nadia has an extended harvest time and is a good choice for shorter season gardens. This type continues to produce as temperatures cool.

Nadia and other eggplants are perennial plants that may produce more than one year if protected from frost and freeze. Learning how to grow Nadia eggplants and about Nadia eggplant care prepares you to grow other types.

Harvest the eggplants by cutting instead of trying to pull them off. Blanch eggplant before freezing or freeze it when cooked. Eggplant is often breaded and fried for use in casserole type dishes, such as Eggplant Parmesan. It also may be seasoned and grilled.

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August is an exhausting month in our garden, and on many farms – so much to harvest (successful farming!), so many weeds growing, lots of irrigation to manage, and we’re not done with planting for another month (and then there’s still garlic!). We are ready for some crops to be finished, so we have more time for other things. Annually at this time, we engage in a “how many watermelons do we need anyway?” conversation. We have passed 400. Our goal is usually 600-800. In 2012 our peak day of watermelon harvest was August 9 with 99 melons.This year our peak day was August 6 with 127.

The 30th watermelon selected for seed, marked with a grease pencil.
Photo Nina Gentle

In 2014 we decided to stop harvesting watermelons for eating on September 1, when we reached 531. We processed more for seeds for sale after that. Our Crimson Sweet Virginia Select watermelons are huge and delicious. This summer has not been so hot. We haven’t been eating 22 per day as we do in really hot summers. Maybe we can stop soon? Then we can plant a cover crop of winter rye, crimson clover and Austrian winter peas with plenty of time to grow before next year’s sweet corn crop.

Nadia eggplant.
Photo Nina Gentle

As I said, this summer has not been so hot, and ironically this is the third year of our eggplant variety trials, looking for good heat-resistant variety that compares well with Nadia, which we like a lot, but found wanting in the hot summer of 2012. In 2013 we simply counted the yield per plant and compared 4 varieties.

Epic eggplant
Photo Nina Gentle

In 2014 we weighed the fruits too, to find out if some varieties had smaller fruits. We found that all the varieties we grew have similar sized fruits. Nadia gave the best yield per plant, Epic was second, Traviata third, with Florida Highbush a poor fourth. For 2015 we added a fifth variety, Florida Market, (like Florida Highbush, this is also open-pollinated.).

Florida Highbush eggplant
Photo Nina Gentle

So far this year, Epic is winning, at 4.1 fruits and 3.4 pounds per plant, with an average of 0.84 pounds per fruit. Traviata is running second, at 3.1 fruits and 2.4 pounds per plant (average of 0.79 pounds per fruit). Nadia is third, at 2.3 fruits and 1.8 pounds per plant (average 0.75 pounds per eggplant). Florida Highbush (yes, it is a tall plant!) is beating Nadia on tonnage (2.1 pounds/plant) but losing on size (in other words, more smaller eggplant). Florida Market is trailing, with many days providing no harvest. I’ll do a full report in another month or so, when we decide to stop harvesting.

We have at last finished filling the gaps in our endless rows of cabbage and broccoli. We started the transplanting 4 weeks ago. We have been doing this work 7-8.30 pm, and it has seemed especially grueling, as we really needed more help. Lacking enough workers, the job went on and on. We also got into a spiral of shorter daylight by starting late and needing to continue later in the year. And the over-large plants were harder to plant and less likely to do well. And having so many shifts with the irrigation running led to over-watering especially at the low end of the field. And the weeds grew bigger . . . . More people and fewer weeks of transplanting would lead to greater success and more happiness.

We did a brief review of the process, in hopes of making enough changes so that next year the job will be less of an endurance test.Here’s our ideas so far:

  1. Adjust our crop rotation to avoid the need to plant the fall cabbage and broccoli after the spring potatoes (a very fast turnaround with no slack for things going wrong).
  2. Reduce the number of broccoli plants.
  3. Increase the number of crew each evening. Stay on top of scheduling people.
  4. Leave better information for the crew the next day. This might only save a small amount of time, but it would reduce stress. We use maps and various highlighters to show what’s done.
  5. Avoid over-watering.
  6. When it’s time to do gap-filling, assign each worker a row, and have them fill gaps in one row as they find them, watering in as they progress. Avoid any temptation to look and count gaps first – it wastes time!
  7. No, we really don’t want to do this work in the late afternoons. We’ll stick with evenings.
Fall broccoli
Photo Kati Falger

Eggplant could easily be described as light on the tongue and moderately sweet, but it lends itself best as a starchy supporting cast for savory, herbal or fat-infused recipes. We always tell our customers that eggplant is really all about texture.

  • Start with young plants, or grow them from seeds in cells, in a warm, well-lit environment. We usually keep potting up our eggplant seedlings until their roots fill 4” pots. These larger transplants tend to outgrow the damage caused by leaf-chewing flea beetles.
  • Due to their big size, we plant globed eggplant 18” apart, but only 12” apart for the long varieties, which tend to be less bushy. Make sure to give 3-4’ between rows for ease of harvest.
  • Don’t put young plants in the ground until your last frost date has passed. If the flea beetle is a big problem, cover young plants with a woven fabric that lets through at least 90 percent of the light. Make sure to remove covers when you see the first blooms.
  • Mulch them heavily right away. Some trellising support provides more harvestable fruit.
  • No need to pick your plants too heavily. We pick our plants once a week, allowing the fruit to grow to full-size before harvest. However, make sure to pick them before the color dulls or grays, and the fruit becomes too tough.
  • The biggest advice we can give is to not over-plant. Eggplant produces very well and over a long period.

Eggplant is the main attraction of the vegetable world: able to carry a meal on its own, say our foodie friends over at FD Dish. So instead of kicking it to the sidelines, make it the centerpiece of a healthy summertime meal. A fresher take on the classic eggplant parm, Giada De Laurentiis serves up a novel Eggplant Timbale bursting with the heady flavors of smoked mozzarella and Marsala wine. We’re also big fans of the medley of balanced ingredients in Giada’s Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad, made with Japanese eggplant and toasted pine nuts. Feeling more Asian than Italian tonight? The try Food Network Magazine‘s Stir-Fried Eggplant, with just a touch of flavoring to play up the innate silky deliciousness of the versatile veg. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the Big E. Find even more eggplant recipes on FN Dish.

In this Garden to Table feature, farmer-bloggers Judith Winfrey and Joe Reynolds offer their tips for sowing, growing and harvesting. And then we kick it over to FN Dish for some delicious recipes using this seasonal produce.


  • 1 Description
  • 2 History
  • 3 Etymology and regional names
    • 3.1 Eggplant-type names
    • 3.2 Aubergine-type names
      • 3.2.1 From Dravidian to Arabic
      • 3.2.2 From Arabic into Iberia and beyond
      • 3.2.3 From Arabic into Greek and beyond
    • 3.3 Other English names
  • 4 Cultivars
    • 4.1 Varieties
      • 4.1.1 Genetically engineered eggplant
  • 5 Cooking and preparing
    • 5.1 East Asia
    • 5.2 Southeast Asia
    • 5.3 South Asia
    • 5.4 Middle East and the Mediterranean
  • 6 Cultivation and pests
  • 7 Production
  • 8 Nutrition
  • 9 Host plant
  • 10 Chemistry
  • 11 Allergies
  • 12 Taxonomy
  • 13 See also
  • 14 References

The eggplant is a delicate, tropical perennial plant often cultivated as a tender or half-hardy annual in temperate climates. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple in color, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. Some common cultivars have fruit that is egg-shaped, glossy, and purple with white flesh and a spongy, "meaty" texture. Some other cultivars are white and longer in shape. The cut surface of the flesh rapidly turns brown when the fruit is cut open (oxidation).

Eggplant grows 40 to 150 cm (1 ft 4 in to 4 ft 11 in) tall, with large, coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) broad. Semiwild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft 5 in), with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. On wild plants, the fruit is less than 3 cm ( 1 1 ⁄4 in) in diameter in cultivated forms: 30 cm (12 in) or more in length are possible for long, narrow types or the large fat purple ones common to the West.

Botanically classified as a berry, the fruit contains numerous small, soft, edible seeds that taste bitter because they contain or are covered in nicotinoid alkaloids, like the related tobacco.

The plant species is believed to have originated in India, where it continues to grow wild, [10] or in Africa. [11] It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asia since prehistory. The first known written record of the plant is found in Qimin Yaoshu, an ancient Chinese agricultural treatise completed in 544 C.E. [12] The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of the ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate it was grown throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages, who introduced it to Spain in the 8th century. [13] A book on agriculture by Ibn Al-Awwam in 12th-century Arabic Spain described how to grow aubergines. [14] Records exist from later medieval Catalan and Spanish. [15]

The aubergine is unrecorded in England until the 16th century. An English botany book in 1597 described the madde or raging Apple:

This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere. bringing foorth fruite of the bignes of a great Cucumber. We have had the same in our London gardens, where it hath borne flowers, but the winter approching before the time of ripening, it perished: notwithstanding it came to beare fruite of the bignes of a goose egge one extraordinarie temperate yeere. but never to the full ripenesse. [16]

Because of the plant's relationship with various other nightshades, the fruit was at one time believed to be extremely poisonous. The flowers and leaves can be poisonous if consumed in large quantities due to the presence of solanine. [17]

The eggplant has a special place in folklore. In 13th-century Italian traditional folklore, the eggplant can cause insanity. [18] In 19th-century Egypt, insanity was said to be "more common and more violent" when the eggplant is in season in the summer. [19]

The plant and fruit have a profusion of English names.

Eggplant-type names

The name eggplant is usual in North American English and Australian English. First recorded in 1763, the word "eggplant" was originally applied to white cultivars, which look very much like hen's eggs (see image). [20] [21] [22] Similar names are widespread in other languages, such as the Icelandic term eggaldin or the Welsh planhigyn ŵy.

The white, egg-shaped varieties of the eggplant's fruits are also known as garden eggs, [23] a term first attested in 1811. [24] The Oxford English Dictionary records that between 1797 and 1888, the name vegetable egg was also used. [25]

Aubergine-type names

Whereas eggplant was coined in English, most of the diverse other European names for the plant derive from the Arabic word bāḏinjān (Arabic: باذنجان ‎). [26] Bāḏinjān is itself a loan-word in Arabic, whose earliest traceable origins lie in the Dravidian languages. The Hobson-Jobson dictionary comments that 'probably there is no word of the kind which has undergone such extraordinary variety of modifications, whilst retaining the same meaning, as this'. [27]

In English usage, modern names deriving from Arabic bāḏinjān include:

  • Aubergine, usual in British English, German, French and Dutch.
  • Brinjal or brinjaul, usual in South Asia and South African English. [28]
  • Solanum melongena, the Linnaean name.

From Dravidian to Arabic

All the aubergine-type names have the same origin, in the Dravidian languages. Modern descendants of this ancient Dravidian word include Malayalam vaṟutina and Tamil vaṟutuṇai.

The Dravidian word was borrowed into the Indic languages, giving ancient forms such as Sanskrit and Pali vātiṅ-gaṇa (alongside Sanskrit vātigama) and Prakrit vāiṃaṇa. According to the entry brinjal in the Oxford English Dictionary, the Sanskrit word vātin-gāna denoted 'the class (that removes) the wind-disorder (windy humour)': that is, vātin-gāna came to be the name for eggplants because they were thought to cure flatulence. The modern Hindustani words descending directly from the Sanskrit name are baingan and began.

The Indic word vātiṅ-gaṇa was then borrowed into Persian as bādingān. Persian bādingān was borrowed in turn into Arabic as bāḏinjān (or, with the definite article, al-bāḏinjān). From Arabic, the word was borrowed into European languages.

From Arabic into Iberia and beyond

In al-Andalus, the Arabic word (al-)bāḏinjān was borrowed into the Romance languages in forms beginning with b- or, with the definite article included, alb-:

  • Portuguese bringella, bringiela, earlier beringela. [dubious – discuss]
  • Spanish berenjena, alberenjena.

The Spanish word alberenjena was then borrowed into French, giving aubergine (along with French dialectal forms like albergine, albergaine, albergame, and belingèle). The French name was then borrowed into British English, appearing there first in the late eighteenth century.

Through the colonial expansion of Portugal, the Portuguese form bringella was borrowed into a variety of other languages:

  • Indian English and South African English brinjal, brinjaul (first attested in the seventeenth century).
  • Malayberinjalā.
  • West Indian Englishbrinjalle and (through folk-etymology) brown-jolly.

Thus although Indian English brinjal ultimately originates in languages of the Indian Subcontinent, it actually came into Indian English via Portuguese.

From Arabic into Greek and beyond

The Arabic word bāḏinjān was borrowed into Greek by the eleventh century CE. The Greek loans took a variety of forms, but crucially they began with m-, partly because Greek lacked the initial b- sound and partly through folk-etymological association with the Greek word μέλας (melas), 'black'. Attested Greek forms include ματιζάνιον (matizanion, eleventh-century), μελιντζάνα (melintzana, fourteenth-century), and μελιντζάνιον (melintzanion, seventeenth-century).

From Greek, the word was borrowed into Italian and medieval Latin, and onwards into French. Early forms include:

  • Melanzāna, recorded in Sicilian in the twelfth century.
  • Melongena, recorded in Latin in the thirteenth century.
  • Melongiana, recorded in Veronese in the fourteenth century.
  • Melanjan, recorded in Old French.

From these forms came the botanical Latin melongēna. This was used by Tournefort as a genus name in 1700, then by Linnaeus as a species name in 1753. It remains in scientific use.

These forms also gave rise to the Caribbean English melongene.

The Italian melanzana, through folk-etymology, was adapted to mela insana ('mad apple'): already by the thirteenth century, this name had given rise to a tradition that eggplants could cause insanity. Translated into English as 'mad-apple', 'rage-apple', or 'raging apple', this name for eggplants is attested from 1578 and the form 'mad-apple' may still be found in Southern American English. [29]

Other English names

The plant is also known as guinea squash in Southern American English. The term guinea in the name originally denoted the fact that the fruits were associated with West Africa. [29]

It has been known as 'Jew's apple', apparently in relation to a belief that the fruit was first imported to the West Indies by Jewish people. [30]

Different cultivars of the plant produce fruit of different size, shape, and color, though typically purple. The less common white varieties of eggplant are also known as Easter white eggplants, garden eggs, Casper or white eggplant. The most widely cultivated varieties—cultivars—in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 12–25 cm ( 4 1 ⁄2 –10 in) long and 6–9 cm ( 2 1 ⁄2 – 3 1 ⁄2 in) broad with a dark purple skin.

A much wider range of shapes, sizes, and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia. Larger cultivars weighing up to a kilogram (2.2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, while smaller ones are found elsewhere. [ citation needed ] Colors vary from white to yellow or green, as well as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have a color gradient—white at the stem, to bright pink, deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars with white striping also exist. Chinese cultivars are commonly shaped like a narrower, slightly pendulous cucumber. Also, Asian cultivars of Japanese breeding are grown.

  • Oval or elongated oval-shaped and black-skinned cultivars include 'Harris Special Hibush', 'Burpee Hybrid', 'Bringal Bloom', 'Black Magic', 'Classic', 'Dusky', and 'Black Beauty'.
  • Slim cultivars in purple-black skin include 'Little Fingers', 'Ichiban', 'Pingtung Long', and 'Tycoon'
    • In green skin, 'Louisiana Long Green' and 'Thai (Long) Green'
    • In white skin, 'Dourga'.
  • Traditional, white-skinned, egg-shaped cultivars include 'Casper' and 'Easter Egg'.
  • Bicolored cultivars with color gradient include 'Rosa Bianca', 'Violetta di Firenze', 'Bianca Sfumata di Rosa' (heirloom), and 'Prosperosa' (heirloom).
  • Bicolored cultivars with striping include 'Listada de Gandia' and 'Udumalapet'.
  • In some parts of India, miniature cultivars, most commonly called vengan, are popular.


  • S. m. var. esculentum – common aubergine, including white varieties, with many cultivars [31]
  • S. m. var. depressum – dwarf aubergine
  • S. m. var. serpentium – snake aubergine

Genetically engineered eggplant

Bt brinjal is a transgenic eggplant that contains a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. [32] This variety was designed to give the plant resistance to lepidopteran insects such as the brinjal fruit and shoot borer (Leucinodes orbonalis) and fruit borer (Helicoverpa armigera). [32] [33]

On 9 February 2010, the Environment Ministry of India imposed a moratorium on the cultivation of Bt brinjal after protests against regulatory approval of cultivated Bt brinjal in 2009, stating the moratorium would last "for as long as it is needed to establish public trust and confidence". [32] This decision was deemed controversial, as it deviated from previous practices with other genetically modified crops in India. [34] Bt brinjal was approved for commercial cultivation in Bangladesh in 2013. [35]

Raw eggplant can have a bitter taste, with an astringent quality, but it becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Rinsing, draining, and salting the sliced fruit before cooking may remove the bitterness. [36] The fruit is capable of absorbing cooking fats and sauces, which may enhance the flavor of eggplant dishes.

Eggplant is used in the cuisines of many countries. Due to its texture and bulk, it is sometimes used as a meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisines. [37] Eggplant flesh is smooth. Its numerous seeds are small, soft and edible, along with the rest of the fruit, and do not have to be removed. Its thin skin is also edible, and so it does not have to be peeled. However, the green part at the top, the calyx, does have to be removed when preparing an eggplant for cooking.

Eggplant can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, barbecued, roasted, stewed, curried, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are sauces made by mashing the cooked fruit. It can be stuffed. It is frequently, but not always, cooked with fat.

East Asia

Korean and Japanese eggplant varieties are typically thin-skinned. [38]

In Chinese cuisine, eggplants are known as qiézi ( 茄子 ). They are often deep fried and made into dishes such as yúxiāng-qiézi ("fish fragrance eggplant") [39] or di sān xiān ("three earthen treasures"). Elsewhere in China, such as in Yunnan cuisine (in particular the cuisine of the Dai people) they are barbecued or roasted, then split and either eaten directly with garlic, chilli, oil and coriander, or the flesh is removed and pounded to a mash (typically with a wooden pestle and mortar) before being eaten with rice or other dishes.

In Japanese cuisine, eggplants are known as nasu or nasubi and use the same characters as Chinese ( 茄子 ). An example of it use is in the dish hasamiyaki ( 挟み焼き ) in which slices of eggplant are grilled and filled with a meat stuffing. [40] Eggplants also feature in several Japanese expression and proverbs, such as "Don't feed autumn eggplant to your wife" ( 秋茄子は嫁に食わすな , akinasu ha yomi ni kuwasuna) and "Always listen to your parents" ( 親の意見と茄子の花は千に一つも無駄はない , oya no iken to nasubi no hana ha sen ni hitotsu mo muda ha nai, literally: "not even one in a thousand of a parents' opinion or an eggplant flower are in vain") . [41] [42]

In Korean cuisine, eggplants are known as gaji ( 가지 ). They are steamed, stir-fried, or pan-fried and eaten as banchan (side dishes), such as namul, bokkeum, and jeon. [43] [44]

Chinese yúxiāng-qiézi (fish-fragrance eggplants)

Korean dureup-gaji-jeon (pan-fried eggplants and angelica tree shoots)

Southeast Asia

In the Philippines, eggplants are of the long and slender purple variety. They are known as talong and is widely used in many stew and soup dishes, like pinakbet. [45] However the most popular eggplant dish is tortang talong, an omelette made from grilling an eggplant, dipping it into beaten eggs, and pan-frying the mixture. The dish is characteristically served with the stalk attached. The dish has several variants, including rellenong talong which is stuffed with meat and vegetables. [46] [47] Eggplant can also be grilled, skinned and eaten as a salad called ensaladang talong. [48] Another popular dish is adobong talong, which is diced eggplant prepared with vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic as an adobo. [49]

Philippine tortang talong, an eggplant omelette made from grilled skinned eggplants

Philippine ensaladang talong, a salad on grilled and skinned green eggplant

Philippine rellenong talong, a variant of tortang talong stuffed with ground meat and various vegetables

Philippine pinakbet, a mixed vegetable dish seasoned with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste)

South Asia

Eggplant is widely used in its native India, for example in sambar (a tamarind lentil stew), dalma (a dal preparation with vegetables, native to Odisha), chutney, curry, and achaar (a pickled dish). Owing to its versatile nature and wide use in both everyday and festive Indian food, it is often described as the "king of vegetables". Roasted, skinned, mashed, mixed with onions, tomatoes, and spices, and then slow cooked gives the South Asian dish baingan bharta or gojju, similar to salată de vinete in Romania. Another version of the dish, begun-pora (eggplant charred or burnt), is very popular in Bangladesh and the east Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal where the pulp of the vegetable is mixed with raw chopped shallot, green chilies, salt, fresh coriander, and mustard oil. Sometimes fried tomatoes and deep-fried potatoes are also added, creating a dish called begun bhorta. In a dish from Maharashtra called bharli vangi, small brinjals are stuffed with ground coconut, peanuts, onions, tamarind, jaggery and masala spices, and then cooked in oil. Maharashtra and the adjacent state of Karnataka also have an eggplant-based vegetarian pilaf called 'vangi bhat' [50] ..

Middle East and the Mediterranean

Eggplant is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille, or deep-fried as in the Italian parmigiana di melanzane, the Turkish karnıyarık, or Turkish, Greek, and Levantine musakka/moussaka, and Middle Eastern and South Asian dishes. Eggplants can also be battered before deep-frying and served with a sauce made of tahini and tamarind. In Iranian cuisine, it is blended with whey as kashk e bademjan, tomatoes as mirza ghassemi, or made into stew as khoresht-e-bademjan. It can be sliced and deep-fried, then served with plain yogurt (optionally topped with a tomato and garlic sauce), such as in the Turkish dish patlıcan kızartması (meaning fried aubergines), or without yogurt, as in patlıcan şakşuka. Perhaps the best-known Turkish eggplant dishes are imam bayıldı (vegetarian) and karnıyarık (with minced meat). It may also be roasted in its skin until charred, so the pulp can be removed and blended with other ingredients, such as lemon, tahini, and garlic, as in the Arab baba ghanoush and the similar Greek melitzanosalata. A mix of roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, chopped onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and spices is called zacuscă in Romania, and ajvar or pinjur in the Balkans.

A Spanish dish called escalivada in Catalonia calls for strips of roasted aubergine, sweet pepper, onion, and tomato. In Andalusia, eggplant is mostly cooked thinly sliced, deep-fried in olive oil and served hot with honey (berenjenas a la Cordobesa). In the La Mancha region of central Spain, a small eggplant is pickled in vinegar, paprika, olive oil, and red peppers. The result is berenjena of Almagro, Ciudad Real. A Levantine specialty is makdous, another pickling of eggplants, stuffed with red peppers and walnuts in olive oil. Eggplant can be hollowed out and stuffed with meat, rice, or other fillings, and then baked. In Georgia, for example, it is fried and stuffed with walnut paste to make nigvziani badrijani.

Penne with eggplant and basil in yogurt-tomato sauce.

In tropical and subtropical climates, eggplant can be sown in the garden. Eggplant grown in temperate climates fares better when transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Eggplant prefers hot weather, and when grown in cold climates or in areas with low humidity, the plants languish or fail to set and produce mature fruit. [51] [52] Seeds are typically started eight to 10 weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date. S. melongena is included on a list of low flammability plants, indicating that it is suitable for growing within a building protection zone. [53]

Spacing should be 45 to 60 cm (18 to 24 in) between plants, depending on cultivar, and 60 to 90 cm (24 to 35 in) between rows, depending on the type of cultivation equipment being used. Mulching helps conserve moisture and prevent weeds and fungal diseases and the plants benefit from some shade during the hottest part of the day. Hand pollination by shaking the flowers improves the set of the first blossoms. Growers typically cut fruits from the vine just above the calyx owing to the somewhat woody stems. Flowers are complete, containing both female and male structures, and may be self- or cross-pollinated. [54]

Many of the pests and diseases that afflict other solanaceous plants, such as tomato, capsicum, and potato, are also troublesome to eggplants. For this reason, it should generally not be planted in areas previously occupied by its close relatives. However, since eggplants can be particularly susceptible to pests such as whiteflies, they are sometimes grown with slightly less susceptible plants, such as chili pepper, as a sacrificial trap crop. Four years should separate successive crops of eggplants to reduce pest pressure.

Common North American pests include the potato beetles, flea beetles, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites. Good sanitation and crop rotation practices are extremely important for controlling fungal disease, the most serious of which is Verticillium.

Eggplant production – 2018
Country Production
(millions of tonnes)
China 34.1
India 12.8
Egypt 1.4
Turkey 0.8
Iran 0.7
World 54.1
Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations [55]

In 2018, world production of eggplants was 54 million tonnes, led by China with 63% of the total and India with 24% (table).

Raw eggplant is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, 1% protein, and has negligible fat (table). It provides low amounts of essential nutrients, with only manganese having a moderate percentage (11%) of the Daily Value. Minor changes in nutrient composition occur with season, environment of cultivation (open field or greenhouse), and genotype. [56]

The potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) is an oligophagous insect that prefers to feed on plants of the family Solanaceae such as eggplants. Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf. [57]

The color of purple skin cultivars is due to the anthocyanin nasunin. [58]

The browning of eggplant flesh results from the oxidation of polyphenols, such as the most abundant phenolic compound in the fruit, chlorogenic acid. [59]

Case reports of itchy skin or mouth, mild headache, and stomach upset after handling or eating eggplant have been reported anecdotally and published in medical journals (see also oral allergy syndrome).

A 2008 study of a sample of 741 people in India, where eggplant is commonly consumed, found nearly 10% reported some allergic symptoms after consuming eggplant, with 1.4% showing symptoms within two hours. [60] Contact dermatitis from eggplant leaves [61] and allergy to eggplant flower pollen [62] have also been reported.

Individuals who are atopic (genetically predisposed to developing certain allergic hypersensitivity reactions) are more likely to have a reaction to eggplant, which may be because eggplant is high in histamines. A few proteins and at least one secondary metabolite have been identified as potential allergens. [63] Cooking eggplant thoroughly seems to preclude reactions in some individuals, but at least one of the allergenic proteins survives the cooking process.

The eggplant is quite often featured in the older scientific literature under the junior synonyms S. ovigerum and S. trongum. Several other names that are now invalid have been uniquely applied to it: [64]

  • Melongena ovata Mill.
  • Solanum album Noronha
  • Solanum insanum L.
  • Solanum longum Roxb.
  • Solanum melanocarpum Dunal
  • Solanum melongenum St.-Lag.
  • Solanum oviferum Salisb.
  • Prachi Salisb.

A number of subspecies and varieties have been named, mainly by Dikii, Dunal, and (invalidly) by Sweet. Names for various eggplant types, such as agreste, album, divaricatum, esculentum, giganteum, globosi, inerme, insanum, leucoum, luteum, multifidum, oblongo-cylindricum, ovigera, racemiflorum, racemosum, ruber, rumphii, sinuatorepandum, stenoleucum, subrepandum, tongdongense, variegatum, violaceum, viride, are not considered to refer to anything more than cultivar groups at best. However, Solanum incanum and cockroach berry (S. capsicoides), other eggplant-like nightshades described by Linnaeus and Allioni, respectively, were occasionally considered eggplant varieties, but this is not correct. [64]

The eggplant has a long history of taxonomic confusion with the scarlet and Ethiopian eggplants (Solanum aethiopicum), known as gilo and nakati, respectively, and described by Linnaeus as S. aethiopicum. The eggplant was sometimes considered a variety violaceum of that species. S. violaceum of de Candolle applies to Linnaeus' S. aethiopicum. An actual S. violaceum, an unrelated plant described by Ortega, included Dunal's S. amblymerum and was often confused with the same author's S. brownii. [64]