PHOTO: iStock/Thinkstock
July 21, 2016

Eggplants are a topic I’ve covered before, but today I’d like to introduce you to a few of my favorite unconventional eggplant varieties. While large, purple eggplants are certainly wonderful additions to the garden, if you haven’t grown white eggplants before, you may want to give them a try.

In my experience, white eggplants have a slightly different texture than their purple kin, and I also love the way they look in the garden. I’m particularly fond of elongated varieties, which have perfect, snowy white fruits that hang delicately from the plants. Everyone who comes to my garden asks about them, wondering where they came from and what they taste like. They’re also a hot seller at the farmers market. Here are some varieties to try.

1. Snowy

This beauty produces elongated eggplants that are about 8 inches long at maturity. Harvest while the skin is still shiny and blemish-free. The texture is firm, and it cooks great. The plants don’t need to be staked and are well-suited for growing in the ground or in containers.

2. Casper

Many consider Casper to be the standard of white eggplants. This 6-inch-long, Japanese-type eggplant is highly productive, often producing right until frost. The flesh is mild flavored—it almost has hints of mushroom with absolutely no bitterness.

3. Japanese White Egg

This cute little teardrop-shaped eggplant is early-maturing, and each plant makes dozens of pure white, 2- to 3-inch-long fruits. We love to slice them in half and put them on the grill. The flavor is classic eggplant. This is a great variety for households with only one or two eggplant lovers—nothing will go to waste.

4. Thai White Ribbed

A funky-shaped eggplant, the fruits of Thai White Round look more like white heirloom tomatoes than eggplants. They’re flattened spheres with deep ribs. I’ve only been able to find seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and I’ve only grown them once, but we enjoyed the mild flesh and unique fruits of this variety.

5. White Star

A hybrid variety with great disease resistance and good production, White Star is fairly sweet-flavored and makes an excellent harvest when picked as either baby eggplants or when the fruits reach maturity. The fully formed 7-inch-long, tear drop-shaped fruits are meaty and should be harvested before the skin starts to yellow.

6. White Comet

Another hybrid selection, this Japanese variety produces long, tapered fruits. There’s no bitterness at all and very few seeds. I find the plants themselves to be quite beautiful. The leaves are a dark green with purple ribbing and stems, and the purple flowers are striking, especially when white fruits are also present.

7. Gretel

The final white eggplant variety I’d like to introduce you to is certainly one worth growing, especially if you garden in containers. Gretel’s fruits are small and finger-shaped, and the plants are short-statured and highly productive. The fruits are bitter-free and tender; we love to grill them whole.

Give a few of these white eggplant varieties a try in your own garden and let us know what you think.



Next Up