EGGPLANT

Eggplant,

Solanum melongena
Solanaceae

Origin

Ancient orgin was probably the Indo-Burmese region or possibly China. The plant has now spread to the tropics, sub-tropics, warm temperate zones and greenhouses in cooler climates.

Uses

When the fruits are young and 2/3 full size fruits they are used as vegetable, mostly cooked. Young fruit are often eaten raw in Malaysia. In India, eggplant is sometimes used to treat diabetes, asthma, cholera and bronchitis.

Cultivation

  • Elevation: 0-2500 m (8200 ft)
  • Temperature: 28°-35° C (75°-100° F); Growth stops when temperatures drop below 10–12° C and frost kills the plants.  
  • Soil: moist, well-drained soils. Eggplant is normally grown from seed but cuttings from shoots are also used.

Soaking seeds 24 hours before planting speeds germination. Plant in rows 70 cm (30 in) apart with 50-60 cm (20 in) between plants. For weed control, cultivate shallowly to avoid root damage. Eggplants are heavy feeders and respond well to manure or a balanced fertilizer at four to six weeks of development. Eggplant develops best under conditions of high temperatures, abundant light and ample water. Eggplant is not sensitive to daylength.

Harvesting and Seed Production

Harvest fruit in 60 to 90 days after planting. Fruit should be picked 3 to 4 times per week, when about 2/3 full size. Seeds should be taken from fully developed fruit. Take seeds out with a spoon and wash in water to remove pulp. Seeds should be dried in the shade until the moisture is approximately 12% and then stored in a cool dry place. Seeds stored for more than one year, do not maintain a high percentage of germination.

Pests and Diseases

Most destructive diseases are Bacterial Wilt and Fruit Rot. Most destructive pest is the Epilachna Beetle. Other pests are green stink bugs, mites, aphids and rootknot nematodes.

Cooking and Nutrition

The fruit can be eaten fresh or after rehydration of dried slices. The flesh has a fine texture and a taste close to that of mushrooms, but sometimes stronger or even quite bitter. Most often the fruits are eaten grilled, fried, steamed, or stewed with other vegetables, meat or fish. Also, they can be roasted, braised in ashes and seasoned with garlic, onion, spices, sugar, oil, soybean sauce etc. Eggplant has nutritional values of 1.6% protein, 0.2% Fat, 4.0% carbohydrates, 1.0% fiber plus iron, calcium, Vitamins C, Bi, B2, and niacin. The fruits are sometimes eaten raw but may be prepared in many ways such as roasted, fried, stuffed, pickled or cooked as a curry.