Best Garden Surprise: Fairy Tale Eggplants

How are your gardens growing? We haven't forgotten about gardening here, even though we haven't talked much about it lately. Here's one of the best surprises from my little garden this summer: eggplant!
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When I started the garden this year, I heard some dire warnings about eggplants. They get attacked by all sorts of beetles and grubs, apparently, and they also take forever to grow. Well, those big dark globe eggplants do, anyway; getting them to the gigantic size in the supermarket takes months.

I also planted my heirloom seeds way too late, I thought — I didn't start them until nearly May.

And yet... look at this! Little Japanese eggplants — this variety is called Fairy Tale — are already emerging from their lovely blooms. And these are the second cultivar to bear; I already have had several small dark eggplants off my Mangan variety plant. (I grilled slices with olive oil and mozzarella — delicious!)

But these little Fairy Tale eggplants are especially beautiful, with their creamy color and violet stripes. I am looking forward to eating many small, tender eggplants during the rest of the summer!

Also, this variety stays small enough for containers, and it is beautiful too. It has electric purple blossoms with egg yolk colored centers, and some people even grow it as a decorative plant.

Next year, guess what I'm lining my vegetable bed with? That's right — a whole row of these little lovelies!

Are you growing eggplant? How has it been going? What are you eating out of the garden right now?

Related: Learning to Love Eggplant: How to Pick 'Em, Cook 'Em, and Eat 'Em

(Images: Faith Durand)

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