Which Came First? The Eggplant Or KFC?

University of Illinois Extension, Eggplant Fact Sheet
Think small fruited types. Transplant after all danger of frost is past. Eggplants are slightly larger plants than peppers and are spaced slightly farther apart. Eggplant requires careful attention for a good harvest. Small-fruited varieties can be grown in containers.

Harvest Eggplant fruits while still glossy. Use a knife or pruning shears rather than breaking or twisting the stems. Many eggplant varieties have small prickly thorns on the stem and calyx, so exercise caution or wear gloves when harvesting. Leave the large (usually green) calyx attached to the fruit.

Eggplant is best started from transplants. Select plants in cell packs or individual containers. It is important to get the plants off to a proper start. Do not plant too early. Transplant after the soil has warmed and the danger of frost has passed. Eggplants are more susceptible than tomato plants to injury from low temperatures and do not grow until soil temperatures warm.

Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the row, or closer for small fruited types. Three to six plants are usually sufficient for most families unless eggplant is a favorite vegetable, eaten often. Allow 30 to 36 inches between rows or space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in all directions in raised beds.

Use a starter fertilizer for transplanting. Side-dress nitrogen fertilizer when the plants are half grown and again immediately after harvest of the first fruits. Given sufficient moisture and fertility, eggplant thrives in the heat of summer. The plants tolerate dry weather after they are well established but should be irrigated during extended dry periods for continued peak production.

Harvest eggplants when they are young. Size is not always an indication of maturity. The thumb test hold the eggplant in your palm and gently press it with your thumb. If the flesh presses in but bounces back, it is ready for harvesting. If the flesh is hard and does not give, the eggplant is immature and too young to harvest. If the thumb indentation remains, the eggplant to over mature and should be dis-guarded into your compost pile.

Eggplants bruise easily so harvest gently. Always cut the eggplant with the cap and some of the stem attached. Eggplants do not like cool temperatures and do not store well. Harvest and use them immediately for best flavor. If you must store them, wrap them in plastic and store for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator. Be careful as it will soon develop soft brown spots and become bitter. Use them while the stem and cap are still greenish and fresh looking.

Eggplants are not a storehouse of nutrients. They are naturally low in calories and unpeeled, they provide some fiber. There is also some folate and potassium.

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Basil Herbed Baby Eggplant
Good chilled as a summer appetizer or side dish.
3 pounds small Oriental-type eggplants (4-6 ounces)
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into shreds

Wash eggplant, remove caps and cut into quarters or cut in half. Sprinkle with salt and let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Spread pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet, cut sides up. Mix garlic and oil, and drizzle over eggplants. Bake 30 minutes until the eggplants are brown and tender. Cool slightly.

Rinse basil leaves. Stack leaves and roll into a scroll. Cut across into thin shreds. Set aside. Place the eggplants in a large bowl and drizzle with vinegar, add basil shreds and toss. (Option, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese) Serves 4 to 6.

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Garden Fresh – Greek Style Eggplant Salad {Dip}
6 eggplants
garlic (3 cloves)
onion 1/4 cup {white sweet}
Olive oil 1/4 cup
juice of 1-lemon
salt {to taste}
pepper {to taste} {fresh course ground pepper corns}
parsley

METHOD: Prick the eggplants with a fork and bake them in hot {350 degrees} temperature.
When they are soft enough, cool them and peel.
Chop the eggplants and put them in a blender until they become a pulp.
Gradually add olive oil, onion, garlic, parsley and lemon juice into the blender and continue
working with the mixture until the pulp becomes soft.
Garnish with whole olives and red onion slices.
Serve cold with fresh hard crust bread.

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Greek Style Fried Eggplant
1/2 cup all-purpose
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling eggplant
1 small eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/4-3/8 inch thick slices.
Olive oil or Canola oil, for frying

Place the flour, egg, and bread crumbs each in 3 small bowls.
Add the 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the egg and whisk to combine.
Season the bread crumbs with a tablespoon of dry finely cushed Oregano and stir with a fork or your hands to thoroughly combine.

Dredge each piece of eggplant in the flour, coating thoroughly and then shaking to remove any excess flour.
Coat each piece with the egg, then dredge in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to make the bread crumbs adhere.
Transfer the eggplant pieces to a rack or to paper towels to let them dry slightly before frying.

In a deep, heavy skillet heat 1/2-inch of vegetable oil to 350-375 degrees F.
Fry the eggplant pieces, in batches if necessary, for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden brown.
Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.
Salt to taste before serving.
Garnish with spoon full of eggplant dip {above recipe}.
(Option, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese)

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be shy. Leave me your comment(s)

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3 responses to “Which Came First? The Eggplant Or KFC?

  1. Thanks for the information on eggplants . I would like to try them this spring in my garden and the recipe looks yummy 😉

    Like

  2. Thanks for all the great tips on how to cultivate eggplants. I never knew that there was so much involved into getting it to grow properly:)

    Like

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