13 Eggplant Varieties (Common Eggplant Varieties)

Fresh eggplants on a white plate.

A nightshade vegetable is one that includes potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, in addition to eggplant. It’s native to India and Asia, where it’s still seen growing in the wild today. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Islamic caliphate sent eggplants to Europe.

Scholars think that the British used the name eggplant during their time in India. They believe it was invented by the Indians. It’s also known as aubergine or brinjal.

Most of us have seen enormous, dark purple eggplants, but the form, size, and color may vary from tiny and rectangular to long and thin and from shades of purple to white or green, which are the most common and well-known varieties.

Consumption of eggplant in the United States was estimated in 2020 at 1.03 pounds per person (ERS 2016). Eggplant has low fat, protein, and carbohydrate content, making it a healthy food choice. The vitamin and mineral content is low, especially in the B vitamins (B1, B6, folate), copper, manganese, and potassium, and one cup of the skin or meat offers about 10% of the recommended daily intake of fiber.

There are several health benefits of eating eggplants, including the capacity to help develop strong bones, lessen anemia symptoms, and improve cognitive function. Eggplant can help you lose weight, control your blood sugar, improve your heart health, and soothe your digestive system.

Chinese Eggplant

Chinese eggplant on a wooden background.

Not to be mistaken with the similarly shaped Japanese eggplant, the Chinese eggplant has a long, thin shell and white flesh that ranges from light to mid-toned purple hue. It’s less bitter than the common globe (American) type because it has fewer seeds.

The Chinese have been cultivating eggplant for a very long time, and it’s a mainstay in many traditional dishes. Its form, which resembles a zucchini rather than an eggplant, easily distinguishes it from its Western relative.

For dishes like Hot and Sour Chinese Eggplant, the Chinese eggplant is ideal for slicing into rounds and sautéing.

Indian Eggplant

Solanaceae, or the nightshade family, includes Indian eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, all of which are botanically categorized as Solanum melongena. Indian eggplants, also known as Ratna and Brinjal, are sold in commercial marketplaces as “baby eggplants” because of their little size. Even while Indian eggplants resemble their Italian counterparts in appearance, they are smaller, sweeter, and have a more complex flavor.

Indian eggplants, often referred to as baby eggplants, are purple and spherical in shape, with a mild flavor and delicate texture. Indian eggplants are great in soups, stews, and dips because of the velvety inside, but you can also cook them whole.

Indian eggplant comes in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes since Indian cuisine often incorporates eggplant.

Italian Eggplant

The botanical name for Italian eggplants is Solanum melongena, and they belong to the Solanaceae family, which includes over 3000 different kinds of plants, including tomatoes and potatoes. In spite of its vegetable status, eggplant is technically a fruit because of the seeds that are embedded within its flesh. The Romans, who at first were wary of the fruit, gave the eggplant its name, which derives from “Mela” insane and translates to “apple of madness” in English. The size, shape, and color of Italian eggplants set them apart from other varieties. Traviata, Naida, Rosa Bianca, and Nubia are just a few of the popular Italian eggplant cultivars.

When it comes to flavor and texture, Italian eggplant is a close match to the more widely available Western or globe eggplant. In contrast to the dark purple skin and green leaves of the American type, the Italian variation is smaller and lobed.

Known as “Melanzane,” Italian eggplants resemble their American counterparts but are much smaller and thinner in texture. On top of that, the flavor is a little softer and sweeter.

Japanese Eggplant

Japanese eggplant on a rustic wooden background.

Dozens of eggplant cultivars, including heritage and hybrid, are collectively referred to as Japanese eggplant in the West as a whole. Millionaire and Orient Express are now the most popular flavors on the market. When cooked, Japanese eggplants keep their color, making them a rare find among the various eggplant species.

Long, thin, and oval in shape, Japanese eggplants are 20-25 centimeters in length. According to the variety, the ink-colored fruit might be either perfectly straight or slightly crooked, with a dark purple or green stem. It has thin, purple-black skin with a glossy, silky finish. There are no seeds in the spongy cream-colored interior flesh.

They have a creamy, somewhat sweet flavor and a delicate, spongy texture that works nicely in stir-fries. When grilled, Japanese eggplant takes on a lovely smokey taste.

Make sure the purple-black fruit you choose has no squishy or brown areas; they should be firm and lustrous.

Thai Eggplant

Thai eggplants are the common term for a wide variety of eggplant cultivars that come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. The Petch Siam, Tiger hybrid, Green Doll, and Kermit hybrid types are the most prevalent ones found among Thai eggplant variations, which are noted for having some of the smallest farmed eggplant kinds on the market.

The Thai eggplant, with its green shell (which can also be white or pale yellow) and pale-pink meat, is perhaps the most unusual-looking of all the eggplants on our list. Thai eggplants, despite their charming size, have a harsh flavor because of the abundance of seeds contained in their flesh. Before cooking, make sure to remove all of the seeds. Either stuff or dice Thai eggplants and use them in curries.

Globe/American Eggplant

The biggest and least costly of all eggplant is the American or regular globe kind. They’re teardrop-shaped and may be anywhere from six inches long all the way up to almost ten inches long. They’re not as tasty as other kinds, but their high flesh-to-skin ratio makes ratatouille, stews, and dips easier to slice into bits. When making huge cutlets, their greater diameter comes in handy.

The Giganteum Group, or the huge and spherical to semi-oblong fruit group, includes American eggplants, botanically known as Solanum melongena. Purple eggplants are the only domesticated type that has been separated from their wild counterpart.

Fairy Tale Eggplant

Fairy Tale eggplant on a black background.

Fairy Tale is a little plant that produces tiny ornamental eggplants that are perfect for vases or window boxes. The look of the fruit matches the delectable flavor. Fairy Tale eggplants have white skins with violet/purple stripes down the length of them. The fruit is sweet and non-bitter, with soft skin and a little number of seeds. The window for harvesting is another outstanding feature. The flavor and suppleness of the long oval eggplants can be preserved by picking them when they are just 1 to 2 ounces in weight or by leaving them on the vine until they are double that weight.

Fairy tale eggplants are perfect for grilling, sautéing, and stir-frying because of their petite size.

Graffiti/Zebra/Sicilian Eggplant

It’s a vine-ripened berry, similar to tomatoes and potatoes, like most eggplants. It has purple-white skin and is smaller than the more popular Black Magic type, which was introduced during the Arab conquest in the Middle Ages. As a result, it’s also known as Graffiti or Zebra eggplant. It’s one of the southern Italian cuisine’s four mainstays (pasta, tomato, olive oil, and eggplant).

They may be a different hue, but these eggplants will cook up quite similarly to your childhood memories of Italian eggplants. Even though they’re smaller and shaped like a teardrop, conventional eggplants may be substituted in any recipe that asks for them. They may be grilled, sauteed, braised, fried, or stewed with ease.

When cooked, graffiti eggplants have a sweet, slightly fruity flavor.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Eggplant Rosa Bianca is a common variety produced nowadays. The Rosey lavender and white 12-16 oz. Fruits were brought to the United States by Italian immigrants in the early twentieth century. Almost no bitterness and moderate sweetness characterize the meat. The real deal when it comes to eggplant parmigiana. Only 2 to 4 fruits are produced per plant by the plant.

There are several varieties of this plant, but the Italian one enjoys warmer weather, especially overnight. It’s a chef’s favorite since it works so well in baking and jam-making. These plants are expected to grow to a height of 2 to 3 feet.

Little Green Eggplant

Green eggplants, sometimes known as Thai green eggplants, are a well-known heritage cultivar from Kyoto, Japan, and are botanically categorized as Solanum melongena. Kyo-Yasai heirlooms, referred to in Japanese as Ao Daimaru, are prized for their sweetness and tenderness. The inherent, vivid tastes of these heirlooms are often showcased in Kyoto’s cuisine by cooking them without the use of seasonings.

One of the most well-known Thai culinary components is this golf ball resemblance. They are consumed by Thais at a rate comparable to that of Americans’ consumption of potatoes. With the Thai eggplant, you may enjoy it raw and with a variety of spicy sauces. It’s also known as the “round eggplant” by certain people.

This vegetable often has a bitter flavor. When the plant is over-matured, the bitterness gets greater.

Green eggplants are a rich source of fiber, B vitamins, manganese, copper, potassium, and iron. They are also a good source of these minerals.

White Eggplant

Two things stand out as being distinctly distinct. White eggplants are both an aesthetically pleasing ornamental and a widely cultivated crop. Ornamental eggplants are grown purely for their showy appearance and to lend a pristine white hue to gardens. Casper, Easter Egg, Cloud Nine, Ghostbuster, and White Beauty are only a few cultivars of the widely cultivated eggplant that are utilized in culinary dishes across the world.

New vegetables appeared in English cuisine in the 1700s in England. This egg-shaped veggie was white, tiny, and round.

It didn’t take much creativity to come up with the name eggplant for this new vegetable. The name stuck, and it’s now used for both the red and purple types.

Albino-looking types have a sweeter flavor than the purple ones, so they’re a great way to try something new.

Slim Jim Eggplant

Slim Jim is an excellent Italian dwarf aubergine cultivar that has won several awards for its versatility as a patio vegetable. It’s great for attractive gardens because of its dark purple leaves and clusters of long, thin purple fruits. Despite the fact that the variety’s origins remain a mystery, most sources believe that it is of southern Italian descent and was initially produced by Italian seed business Fratelli Ingegnoli in the 1980s.

Slim Jim is a mildly flavored Slim Jim product. Instead of twisting, pick the fruit when it’s 4 to 5 inches long and use a sharp knife or pruning shears. Make a slit above the hat with a pair of shears. If you want to cook Southern-style or make eggplant Parmesan, Slim Jim’s fruit is great. Eggplant pizza is a tasty and interesting meal to try.

Pea Eggplant

Pea eggplants resemble green peas with slender stalks grouped together like grapes. Pea eggplants are hard to come by in the United States. Farmers’ markets now sell them, and if you live in a warm area like southern California or Florida, you can grow them in your yard. The shrub towers over me, about as high as I am. In addition, they may be found in South America.

Pea eggplants are native to Central America, but they’ve spread to tropical Africa and other areas of the world, where they’ve become major crops.

Pea eggplants look like green English sweet peas, but they taste nothing like them. As a result, sweet peas are a poor alternative for this particular variety of eggplant in recipes.

A unique flavor, color, and texture are provided by the little eggplant, which cannot be recreated by any other ingredient.

Conclusion

Even though I am not really a fan of eggplants, thanks mostly to their blandness and slight bitterness, it’s difficult not to be impressed by the range and variety this plan family offers. Did you know that just white eggplants are available in over eight different variants? Each with its own taste and shape. The fruit is adaptable (hence so many variants) and grows all over the planet. And if we delve into lab-made variants of this plant that are not yet commercially available, the article might turn into a book.

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