There are many varieties of Asian eggplants, with skin colors ranging from light to dark purple, white, black, pink or green. Shapes can be round or long and slender.
Of all the Asian eggplants, Ping Tung is my favorite. It is named after the town, Ping Tung, Taiwan, where it originated.
Considered the best of the Asian varieties (a heavy producer, fairly hardy and disease resistant). The skin of the Ping Tung eggplant is a beautiful amethyst color, very thin so does not need peeling. Cooked, the white flesh has a creamy texture that is never bitter.
Grows to about 9 or more inches in length, if picked when the fruit is just over 1 inch in diameter there is no seeds. (I have purchased Ping Tung eggplants that were about 12 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter but still seedless.)
Growing: For best growth and yield, plant in fertile, well-drained, slightly acid soil that is high in organic matter and in full sun. For additional information click here for Cornell University eggplant growing guide.
I am a windowsill gardener, so must start my seeds indoors in early March. If you have a greenhouse or grow light you could start about 8 weeks before your transplanting date.
Eggplants are very sensitive to cold, I wait until end of May early June to set my eggplants in the garden. The weather in my area has settled (hopefully), no more frost and the soil has warmed up to 60º+ F.
Right photo, flea beetle and the holes it made in eggplant leaf.
You see, flea beetles love eggplants, the mature plants will survive their attacks, but the seedlings will be destroyed. Adult flea beetles are most active early spring when they emerge from the soil looking for food. Delay planting in the garden gives the plants better chance of survival.
This is how I grow my seedlings:
(Photo, left to right)
∞ Start seeds in cell pack.
∞ Transplant seedlings to 3-inch pots
∞ Bump up seedlings to 4-inch pots
∞ Bump up seedlings to 6½-inch pots
The plants will continue to grow and mature in the 6½-inch pots. I water with ¼ strength fish emulsion fertilizer when soil surface is dry.
During and after hardening off and before transplanting into the garden, I protect the young plants by bringing them indoors on windy days and at night, yes, I baby them.
Ping Tung eggplant makes good container plants. My garden friend, Durga, plants hers in a beautiful container among her containers of exotic flowers. Her eggplants did not suffer flea beetles damage and she harvested many fruits. She also has the advantage, if she chooses, of bringing the container into her garage for protection if the night time temperature drops too low or frost is predicted, bring it back outdoors during the day, thus extending the season.
Harvesting: Can be harvested at any stage. Best if picked when the fruit is just over 1 inch in diameter.
Cooking: Grill, bake, broil, steam or stir-fry. Alone or combined with other vegetables and/or meat, poultry, seafood, tofu …. Use in any recipe calling for eggplant.
Miso Ping Tung Eggplant with Heirloom Sweet Peppers
2 – 3 Ping Tung eggplants, about ¾ – 1 pound, cut into wedges or ½-inch thick slices (see NOTE 1)
1 - 3 cups mixed sweet peppers cut into bite-sized pieces (see NOTE 2)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 – 2 cloves garlic minced
1 – 1½ tablespoons soy sauce, regular or gluten free
2 tablespoons ginger wine
½ teaspoon honey
1 – 1½ tablespoons miso combined with 2 tablespoons broth or water
1 – 2 tablespoons oil
Asian sesame oil
¼ – ½ cup broth or water
1. Add oil to preheated wok. Add shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until translucent.
2. Add eggplant, stir-fry 2 – 3 minutes, stir in soy sauce. Stir-fry until soy is absorbed. Stir in ginger wine and honey, stir-fry until wine is absorbed.
3. Add peppers. Stir-fry until green pepper becomes bright green. Add broth, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about 3 – 4 minutes or until reached desired doneness. Adjust taste, adding more soy sauce, if needed.
4. Remove to serving platter, drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top and serve hot or at room temperature.
NOTE 1: Substitute any kind of eggplant for the Ping Tung.
NOTE 2: The heirloom peppers used in the prepared dish were harvested from Locust Grove Heritage Garden. They are, top to bottom: Chinese Giant (turns red when matured), Doe Hill Golden Bell, Jimmy Nardello and Doe Hill Golden Bell.
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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.
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