Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Enjoying Eggplant

Until a year ago, I had no idea that we could grow eggplant in Wisconsin. It seems so exotic and tropical that I was surprised when a friend mentioned that his eggplant were going crazy. It's true that eggplant love the heat. Cool summers might not produce many eggplant, but this summer has been plenty warm, and the addition of my greenhouse last fall made me want to give it a try.

If the only eggplant you've ever seen are the giant purple things grown commercially in Florida, then think again. Eggplant come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They can be white, red, green, orange and purple. They can range in size from a golf ball (ornamental) to football. Some are even striped. Almost anything that you grow at home will be more tender and tasty than the grocery store variety. The skins are softer and may not need to be peeled at all.

Since eggplant (sometimes called aubergines in cookbooks) come from all over the world, you'll find recipes for them in a wide variety of cuisines. If you haven't got many cookbooks, visit your local library to find ideas. If you love Italian food, try eggplant Parmigiana, eggplant calzones, stuffed eggplant, caponata (eggplant salad), grilled eggplant with pasta, or even eggplant on pizza. If Indian food is your thing, try eggplant with yogurt and rice, or curried eggplant puree with flatbread. Martin Yan recommends Chinese spicy fried eggplant, which is messy but delicious. Mediterranean traditions really know what to do with eggplant: spicy chickpea and eggplant stew, grilled eggplant packets, marinated eggplant, moussaka, eggplant frittata, gnocchi with eggplant, ratatouille, and bab gannouj.

I think I'd better go pick some eggplant and head to the kitchen. It all sounds good to me!

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